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An application of rational choice theory to transsexual women’s political strategy to pursue recognition in Thailand

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Transsexual women, or Phuying Kham Phet, is a recently created term of a gender political movement in Thailand. Originally, Thai society groups gender and sexual minorities into “the third sex” community. This categorization does not support Thai people to differentiate each minority group and its unique conditions. A group of transgendered women decided to separate themselves from this community and establish a group of “transsexual women” to pursue their exclusive political goal; the recognition of gender as women. In this research project, I apply rational choice model of cultural cooperation and conflict, and cultural mobilization to describe political strategies of transsexual women’s movement in Thailand. I attain information about collective disposition, political incentive and political strategies from the interview with fifteen members of TransFemale Association of Thailand. I would like to argue that rational choice theory is a beneficial approach to describe political phenomenon that relates to gender identity outside western cultural settings.
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