Transvestite Toilets

In Bankok, Thailand there are seperate bathrooms for teen boys who prefer to dress as girls at one rural high school.   No more tough decisions about which toilet to take to or having to go to the teachers lounge.

The Kampang School in northeastern Thailand conducted a survey last term that showed more than 200 of the school’s 2,600 students considered themselves transgender, said school director Sitisak Sumontha.  So, when classes resumed in May, the school unveiled a unisex restroom designated by a human figure split in half – part man in blue and part woman in red. Below it are the words “Transvestite Toilet.”

Three transgender students praised the new restroom as they plucked their eyebrows and applied face powder in front of the mirror outside the stalls.   Most rural Thais are conservative in many ways, but the trailblazing toilet initiative at the school in northeastern Sisaket province reflects another aspect of Thai society: its tolerance of the country’s very visible transgender community. The term describes a wide range of identities including cross-dressers, transvestites, transsexuals and those born with the physical characteristics of both sexes.

Kampang is not Thailand’s first educational institution to set up unisex washrooms, though Sitisak said he believed it was a first for a secondary school. A 1,500-student technical college in the northern province of Chiang Mai set up a “Pink Lotus Bathroom” for its 15 transvestite students in 2003.  Deputy Education Minister Boonlue Prasertsopar recently said the ministry plans to count the number of transgender university students.

He said he was not promoting transgender interests, “but if there are a lot of them in a university and it’s a problem, we may have to consider building toilets and dormitories for them.”  Transgenders are regularly seen on TV soap operas and throughout Bangkok, working at department store cosmetics counters, popular restaurants, in office jobs and in the capital’s red-light districts. Thailand also has transgender beauty pageants. I think a lot of those saying they consider themselves transgender are just doing it to be supportive.

My Name is: “Freedom from Oppression”

More Than 5,000 Chinese Children Have Been given the birth name, ‘Olympic Games’ Or, in Chinese, “Aoyun.” A states spokesperson has been quoeted as saying, “It is not uncommon for Chinese children to be given names of common events and popular slogans—such as Defend China, Get Rich, Stay Healthy, Strong Nation and Space Travel.  I am thinking of naming my next kid, Drink Canadian Beer!!!!

Multi-Year Treasure Hunt Ends

Dan Deming had heard the rumours about the buried treasure on his central Wisconsin farm for years and at first he made some halfhearted attempts to find it, and then searched in earnest for the next 5 years after receiving a metal detector for his birthday.

“I dreamed of finding 100’s of bars of gold or silver,” he said.

The mystery ended recently while Deming was tearing down a 100-year-old shed on his property. A rusted box tumbled from the rubble and wads of currency dating back to the Depression spilled on the ground.

The bills were so deteriorated that it was hard to count the money. But the box also contained scraps of newspaper with dollar amounts written on them, a possible tally of the loot.  He briefly considered selling the bills to collectors, but the money was in poor condition. Instead, he turned it over to the U.S. Treasury’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing, which redeems mutilated currency for face value, he said. 

The legend of the buried treasure dates back more than 40 years.  “I heard from my grandfather that a man who lived here during the ’30s and ’40s was eccentric and might have stashed money,” Deming said.  When he first saw the bills, he thought they were play money. Then he saw the words “silver certificate” across the top of a $1 bill and realized it was real. He also noticed the bills were dated between 1928 and 1934.

Deming says he’ll use whatever money he gets from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing to build a replacement shed.  He also plans to tear down a rickety old barn on his land, and wondered for a fleeting moment whether there might be more money stashed there.  “I’m hoping maybe there’s something there – but I doubt it,” he said.  Personally I think he should have kept the bills and sold them on Ebay, I bet he would have made 10x what he will be recieving.