Ladyboys by the Sea and Botticelli

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Originally posted 2017-07-22 00:16:22.

Beach beer and paddling with ladyboys in the Philippines. I wonder what the collective noun would be here? A delight of ladyboys? Pictures made in 2016.

Jelly and I  went to the beach to relax and drink beer with some ladyboy friends.  Two, Azumi and Icey, paddled around in the water and I photographed them. Icey reminded me of Botticelli’s ‘Birth of Venus’. She had amazing – dyed of course – auburn hair that fell in cascades around her face and adopted a perfect contrapposto, holding a towel over her head to keep off the sun.



Many people today might not realise that the model for Botticelli’s masterpiece was actually a male. This was normal in the Italian Renaissance; it was not until much later that the use of female models was permitted (and even when it was, they were invariably prostitutes or ‘fallen women’, that is, single mothers; no ‘decent woman’ would do such a thing.) I found it amusing that a bakla would so closely resemble the model for such an iconic painting – who was herself certainly the Renaissance equivalent to a bakla.

Icey was about five foot three, had lovely clear skin and nice legs. She favoured the bakla uniform, tee-shirt and shorts. She didn’t wear much make-up but to my eye, she didn’t need it.

When I met her first, she lived with her boyfriend, but he cheated on her with cis girls. This she appeared almost to accept. Despite it, she seemed happy. She had begun competing in pageants and I encouraged her; I hoped she would do well.

books by rod fleming

First Published 18 September 2018

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