Thang Sai Thee Sam (The Third Pathway) Novel As Archive: Inspiring a Kathoey ‘Herstorian’

  • Chanathip Suwannanon University of Victoria


This essay studies the Thai novel Thang Sai Thee Sam, or ทาง สายท่ีสาม (The Third Pathway), as an archive. This novel was written by Kiratee Chanar, the first Thai transsexual woman novelist, who drew from her own emotions and sex-change experiences in the USA in 1975. The first edition of Thang Sai Thee Sam was published in 1982. In summary, this essay elucidates how a novel can be a historical source by contextualizing its formation. Thang Sai Thee Sam reflected the broader political contexts in Thailand during the Cold War, the development of a world sex-change capital in/outside of Thailand, and the visibility of white transsexual autobiographies. By situating it within this context, I demonstrate that it is possible to examine Thang Sai Thee Sam as a “transgender archive” — or more specially a kathoey archive — and a historical source of development of trans medicine in national and global contexts.