Thailand has temporarily banned cosmetic castrations, as it ponders measures to ban the operation for boys. Removal of the testes leads to a loss in the production of testosterone and is considered a quick and effective transexuality measure. The irreversible procedure only takes 15 minutes and can cost as little as $50, consistent with Thailand's position as a hugely popular destination for plastic surgery tourism. Health officials there are concerned that the irreversible procedures are performed all too often on teenage boys in Thailand who
may misunderstand the situation and see transgenderism as a fad
and who may opt for the operation
as a cheap and quick alternative to a full sex-change.
In typical Thai fashion, the ban is not being universally observed and a permanent ban is simply expected to drive the practice underground. But it has been welcomed as a move which helps protect boys at an impressionable age. Jetsada Taesombat of the South-East Asian Consortium on Gender, Sexuality and Health commented:
The pressure to look beautiful is imposed equally on everyone by an adult-controlled media. Witness all the slimming and fitness centres and clinics offering nose jobs and eye-lid operations, all catering to young people.