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Gender And Sexuality As Dipicted In The Movie ‘Beautiful Boxer’

1691 words - 7 pages

Beautiful boxer is a Thai movie revolving around Toom, the protagonist and his struggles throughout life for a sex change. Toom does not want to gain glory by defeating opponents in the ring. He wants to earn enough money to support his family and to get a sec change surgery. Toom’s life goes from his teenage years as a traveling monk, to tough days in boxing camps, to explosive matches where he knocks out most of his opponents across Thailand and Japan. This movie is based on a true story of Parinya "Nong Toom" Charoenphol, a bold star, model in Thailand and “one of the most controversial figures to emerge in international sport” (Hodgkinson).
In Thailand, homosexuals are commonly known as kathoey which refers to a man who feel s he is a woman or a woman who feels she is a man. At the time when Charoenphol had her Sex Realignment Surgery in 1999 (Hodgkinson), Thailand was not that open to kathoey much and they were abused even on trying to promote homosexuality (Sinnott 8). In that environment, it was very much difficult for oneself to accept ones sexuality, but Charoenphol was brave enough to come out of the closet to reveal his identity and not be hidden behind the walls like several others on the name of societal norms.
Beautiful Boxer conveys the inner life of the Toom's struggle to assert her gender identity. We see Toom struggling through the film for a sex change. After seeing the girl, who acts in the play in the fair, putting lipstick and using it himself his life changes completely. He starts believing that he is a girl trapped in a boy’s body. Toom’s first appearance as a girl in front of his family offends his father. Toom’s mother takes it lightly as she thinks he is just a kid. His father is very concerned about his habits and worries what is written on his fate. During his life as a monk, he tries to dress up like a girl and gets caught and is bitten badly. As a kick boxer, he is mocked of being a transvestite. He faced problems in every single step towards sex change. But we also see some people related to Toom, supporting him very much. The first one is a lady called Sister Ni, who is also a transgender. She had also gone through a sex change surgery and that is why she could understand Toom very well. The Coach and Sister Bo were also kind to Toom. It is Coach Cai who led Toom into the boxing world while we could say that it is Sister Bo who led Toom into the female world. Nat was also a student in camp, and a special one to Toom. He never laughed at Toom but shown friendly to him. Toom’s mother was a great support to him. She said to Toom, “I did not blame you behaving like a girl, but how can you allow others to bully yourself? I am not able to accompany you and protect you for your whole life.” may be these were the words that impelled Toom’s courage to Thai fight and take responsibility of supporting family cost in the later years. Toom’s father, who at first did not like his son putting lipstick on and dancing like a...

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