#tdoc will address misconceptions about transgender culture in Thailand

TV3: Documentary to examine transgender culture in Thailand

A documentary about transgender culture in Thailand entitled #tdoc will begin filming early next year.

#tdoc is the brainchild of LA-based photographer Rae Threat, who has been wanting to return to her native Thailand to tackle the topic for some time.

The film will look at the figureheads of Thailand’s transgender community, and the influence western culture and social media has on their world.

Threat is well versed in subcultures, with her photography work in Los Angeles ranging from the adult industry to LA’s thriving party scene. She’s photographed and worked with artists including Diplo, Skrillex, Dillon Francis, A-Trak and Riff Raff.

But now her mind is focussed well away from Hollywood.

“Thailand is this place that’s sometimes shrouded in mystery, myth, and sensationalism. Most of what people know about the country is that it’s a beautiful tourist destination or that there’s an abundance of ‘ladyboys’ there,” says Threat.

“In particular, there’s a real belief in Western culture that Thai trans-culture and the sex industry go hand-in-hand. I want to find out why that belief exists and show people the reality of the situation, as well as tell a fascinating story and introduce people to a different way to view their culture”.
Things haven’t been straightforward. Filming was set to commence earlier this year, but the Thai coup in May meant filming had to be delayed until 2015. However, Threat and her team have already embarked on a research trip and lined up the talent for the documentary.

While she’s excited about returning “home”, Threat says the documentary is about breaking down stereotypes.

“There’s so little known about the trans community in Thailand, other than members of that community being subjected as sex workers or made fun of in tasteless jokes. I want to be able to strip all that away and expose the humanity underneath. I want audiences to see that the Thai trans community consists of real everyday people with real everyday lives,” says Threat.

#tdoc is being produced by Vicky Petela, who is also working on Nana Ghana’s feature LA Woman Rising, narrated by James Franco.

“For me, the most exciting part of this project is getting to tell the stories of a community about which so little is known and has been said previously. I have been an LGBTQ activist for pretty much my entire adult life, Rae likewise,” says Petela.

“The subject of this doc is so personal to both Rae and myself and we really want to expose the myths, educate the masses and just celebrate the incredible strength of the transgender community”.

The film is being privately financed, but the filmmakers may turn to Kickstarter for finishing funds.

Source: David Farrier / 3 News

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