Effeminacy and Masculinity in Thai Gay Culture: Language, Contextuality and the Enactment of Gender Plurality

Narupon Duangwises, Peter Jackson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Based on Judith Butlers account of the performative construction of gender, this study uses a qualitative research method to analyse genderings performed by Thai gay men. The key finding is that Thai gay men are especially flexible in their gender play and performances of both effeminacy and masculinity in the various social situations in their daily lives as well as in their romantic relationships and sexual encounters. In addition to gendered forms of comportment and behaviour, a further important dimension of Thai gay mens multiple performances of gender is through the use of masculine and feminine forms of language. Thai gay men use gendered language forms to communicate and express both effeminacy and masculinity within their circles of gay friends and acquaintances. This study broadens our understanding of how gay Thai men exhibit differently gendered identities from Western gay men. It also counters the stereotypical negative image by which gay men are often stigmatised and labeled as not being masculine. Thai gay male identity is not based on a firm separation of femininity from masculinity. Rather, alternation between masculine and feminine forms of behaviour and language permits Thai gay men to adapt their public social and private sexual relations according to the different kinds of people they meet and interact with in the different domains of their lives.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-23
    JournalWalailak Journal of Social Science
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2021


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