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Thai airline hires transgender flight attendants, believed to be the world’s first

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PC Air, a Thai airline with routes across Asia, has recently added four transgender flight attendants to their cabin crew. According to Reuters, the company is believed to be the world's first charter airline to employ transgender flight attendants. "I'm a pioneer, and I'm sure there will be other [organizations] following my idea," PC Air president Peter Chan said in January.

Although the airline initially intended to hire only male or female attendants, the company changed its policy after receiving over 100 applicants from transgender candidates. Chayathisma Nakmai, Dissani Chitpraphrachin, Phuntakarn Sringern, and Nathatai Sukkaset (pictured above) were eventually selected for the airline's cabin crew, based on the same qualifications required for female flight attendants (which include poise, a positive attitude, femininity, and attractiveness). The attendants will wear "third sex" nametags while on duty, Chan told Reuters.

Thai transgender women — often referred to as "ladyboys" or "katoeys" — enjoy relatively high visibility in Thai mainstream culture, particularly in comparison to transgender individuals in the Western world. However, transgender women often encounter employment discrimination, and they are not officially recognized as women by the Thai government, even after they have had gender reassignment surgery. Members of the transgender community have spearheaded legislation efforts advocating for the addition of a third sex to official Thai documents, and have urged the Thai National Assembly to incorporate transgender rights laws into the constitution.