Transition: A Murder for Paradise

Gary L. Atkins

in Imagining Gay Paradise

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9789888083237
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9789882209305 | DOI:
Transition: A Murder for Paradise

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As a child in the 1950s world of Bangkok, Toc wanted to be a painter or a concert pianist, but in a post-war country on the cusp of economic change, business more than aesthetics becomes the focus of cultivation. This chapter examines economic development and gender turmoil in Thailand in the late 1950s and 1960s, focusing in particular on questions about manhood and sexual desire that arose during the extensive media coverage of a high profile murder in 1965—that of the homosexual war correspondent and Bangkok World editor Darrell Berrigan. Berrigan, who had helped Thailand in its relations with the United States, was murdered during what appeared to be a homosexual encounter gone awry. The murder led to re-evaluations in the Thai press about the cross-dressing and transsexual men who after World War II had become known as kathoeys.

Keywords: Daniel Berrigan; kathoeys; Thailand; Bangkok

Chapter.  6285 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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