Saturday, February 5, 2011

Transsexuals hired as flight attendants

ANILA, Philippines - (UPDATE) Transsexuals are now welcome to be flight attendants in Thailand.

A new Thai airline has started recruiting transsexuals to be flight attendants for the sake of offering equal opportunities to them.

Three transsexuals were hired last month in Bangkok by P.C. Air, according to a news report published by The Nation.

One of them, Thanyarat "Film" Jiraphatpakorn, 23, is a beauty titlist, having won the Miss Tiffany 2007 tilt.

"At first I thought they would just take applications but not actually recruit us, as happened at other places before," she told The Nation.

The newspaper also said Peter Shan, a P.C. Air executive, revealed that P.C. Air saw the potential of transsexuals to work as flight attendants.

The new batch of transsexual recruits, who were hired together with 17 women and 10 men, will undergo training together with female flight attendants.

They will also sport a "third sex" gold-colored name tag on their uniforms to inform passengers and immigration officials about their gender.

'Good news'

Ang Ladlad, a group that pushes for equal rights for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals (LGBT), welcomed the news.

"Bubukas ang oportunidad sa amin para sa isang disenteng trabaho," said Bemz Benedito, president of Ang Ladlad.

The group added that this will be a big help to LGBTs. There are more than 500 transsexuals now among Filipinos, the group said, and many of them are having a hard time looking for decent jobs due to discrimination.

Local airline companies, meanwhile, see nothing wrong in having transsexuals work as flight attendants.

Philippine Airlines, however, said they have not received any application yet from a transsexual for a flight attendant job. Should there be one, it is possible, they say, for the airline to change its policy about gender, which right now only recognizes male and female.

Cebu Pacific, on the other hand, is interested in the new hiring policy of P.C. Air. "This is an interesting development and we will be watching closely," said Candice Iyog, vice president for marketing of Cebu Pacific.

Ang Ladlad is hoping that, as in Thailand, the public will warmly accept having transsexual flight attendants in the Philippines. -- With report from Apples Jalandoni, ABS-CBN News

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