Thai transvestites call for hotel boycott

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A gay rights group in Thailand is calling for a boycott of the Novotel hotel chain, after door staff refused a transvestite entry to their nightclub.

Rallying under around the slogan, “Novotel – No Homosexual”, the campaign is being led by the Bangkok Rainbow Organisation who are urging gays, lesbians and katoeys, or ladyboys, to stay away from the hotel.

The incident occured after Suttirat Simsiriwong, a brand manager at a French cosmetics company, was barred from Novotel’s Concept CR2 club after staff spotted on her ID that she was officially a man.

“They told me the hotel’s policy was not to allow katoey to enter,” says Suttirat, 34.

The hotel has been quick to deny these charges.

“What happened on Saturday night was regrettable but was most definitely not part of the CM2 nightclub entry policy, nor was it supported by its management,” said a statement issued by hotel general manager Michael Thomas.

However Nikorn Arthit, president of Bangkok Rainbow Organisation, believe that it is part of covert policy to which they are not admitting.

“If the hotel wants to ban katoey, it should show a clear sign and we would not go to be treated like this.”

“It is fine if you ban gays and transvestites, but you have to pay the price. The club is not a popular place for katoey, but don’t forget that big numbers of gay tourists come to Thailand.”

Thailand is usually considered to be quite tolerant of homosexuality and transexuality.

It’s annual Miss Tiffany’s Universe competition sees around 60 katoey participants smiling, pouting and dressing up for a first prize of around $26,000, (£13,000) as well as a new car.

Last year’s winner, Ratrawee Chirapraphakun, said that she entered the competition, “to tell society to give transsexuals career opportunities and to be fair to us in all career fields.

“We don’t have to be just beauticians or beauty contestants. We are just as capable as the real men and women out there.”