Thai transgender cabaret returns after pandemic closure

The Pink Times
The Pink Times September 6, 2022
Updated 2022/09/06 at 4:52 PM
Peerapong Butakul, a transgender person also known as 'Bee', takes pictures with fans after the reopening of Tiffany's show after closing for almost three years due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Pattaya, Thailand, September 1, 2022. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

PATTAYA, Thailand (Reuters) – Transgender performers at one of Thailand’s most famous cabaret shows have returned to the spotlight for the first time in about three years after being forced to find other ways to make ends meet during the coronavirus pandemic.

One performer, Peerapong “Bee” Butakul, said she had turned to selling chicken rice during this time and was thrilled to return to the stage this week.

Alisa Phanthusak, chief executive of Tiffany’s Show Pattaya, said most bookings at the moment were from locals, which meant fewer shows had been lined up than in the past.

The cabarets are normally a popular draw among foreign visitors, but Thailand’s tourism sector is still recovering. Foreign arrivals plummeted to 428,000 last year due to the pandemic compared with nearly 40 million in 2019.

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