Burma has four classes of citizens: Monks are considered first-class citizens, men are considered second-class citizens, women and nuns are seen as third-class citizens, and finally, ladyboys are seen as fourth-class citizens. Most Myanmar ladyboys have not fully undergone a sex change operation, but in their clothing, personality, and behavior are more like a woman than a man. They are different from transsexuals, because they still have the male genitals.
Ladyboy show tickets are divided into two categories:
A- ticket, including ladyboy performances and strip dance; B- including ladyboy performances with crocodiles or “elephant show”. They also sell some souvenirs near pagodas or temples to make a living. You can also pay money to touch parts of their bodies, such as their breasts. There are also some who work in the Prostitution insdusty.
A Ladyboy’s life and artistic career is very short; only averaging a life expectancy of 35-40 years.
The life of a ladyboy can generally be divided into 3 cycles, or stages: The first is the growth stage which encompasses those who are 18 years old or younger. This stage is important for their feminine development, while their bodies are growing at the same time. During this stage they also must begin their arts training. The second stage is the peak period (18-25 years), when ladyboys will get a lot of stage performance opportunities and will also make highest salaries. The third is 26 years old or older. This stage in the life of the labyboy is equivalent to an average person over the age of 55.
Most ladyboys are from poor families. Either their parents force them to become ladyboys or sell them to a “ladyboy school”. Some are trying to make money of their family and they are willing to become a ladyboy in order to support them. Some of them live in an environment full of drugs, prostitution, and gangs. After they sign the contract, they have sold themselves and no longer have the ability to make their own decisions until the troupes think they are too old to use.