A new Thai airline company, PC Air, has selected three transgender women to be flight attendants during their first round of hires. Before you start rejoicing though, the company will require the women to wear gold name badges that will designate them as "third sex" so passengers can "easily identify the gender they are faced with."
Peter Chan, the new airline's boss, is enthusiastic about his groundbreaking move because of the opportunities it would afford transsexuals.
"I think these people can have many careers - not just in the entertainment business - and many of them have a dream to be an air hostess," he said. "I just made their dream come true. Our society has changed. It's evolution. I'm a pioneer and I'm sure there will be other organisations following my idea."
Thailand has the largest number of "katoeys" - as they are called in Thai - in the world, with the country's surgeons pioneering cheaper and quicker sex change operations because of the sky-high demand from men wishing to become women.
But PC Air did not make proof of sexual reassignment a criteria for the job, merely that the applicants possessed the necessary language skills and the potential to provide good service.
If I were transgender, I think I'd like to be known as "katoey." It makes it sound more like being a member of a tribe instead of "in-between" like "trans" references. What do you think?