Updated: Feb 15
With the dream of becoming a complete woman someday, Somros Polchareon takes up Muay Thai (Thai boxing) as a career, in the hope it will pave her way to complete physical transformation as a woman after her boxing career is over.
Stage name as Nong Rose, son of a rice farmer from Phimai, a small town in rural Isaan, Rose always felt like a girl and started dress like one at the age of 14. She believes in equality but sadly transgenders still have to work harder to prove they are no less than anybody else.
She is the first transgender fighter who made it to the ring at Bangkok’s famed Rajadamnern Stadium, winning two matches in a row, establishing herself as a role model to other transgender fighters in Thailand.
She loves pink, believes it empowers and boost her confidence and she is so brave as to proudly go fighting in the arena wearing red lipstick and a colorful sports bra.
First time I met her was a few months back at a training camp in Chachoengsao, where she was training with a fellow transgender fighter and a few others. Fighters need minimum of 3 weeks intensive training to get ready for a fight.
I knew she was tough and strong but it was only a few months later that I got to see her in real action at her home town Phimai, where she was received as a celebrity.
On location at local Temple Fair in Phimai, Rose prepares for the fight with the help of her trainer. Getting a massage, a short meditation and a prayer.
And it's show time!
Cruel as it may seem to foreigners, Muay Thai is the national sport of Thailand. It is famous world wide as a super Martial Arts and Thai people are proud of it.
Muay Thai fights in rural Thailand are brutal and highly dangerous. Fighters will do whatever they can to win, as this is their chance to get out of poverty.
It was a tough and brutal fight. Her opponent was equally strong and didn't seem to give up easily. Both fighters were bleeding and trainers did their best to revive the exhausted fighters between rounds. There was no knock out and at the end of the fight we all waited for decision by the judges, which finally gave victory to their own Nong Rose by just one point difference.
It takes a lot of courage to be a Muay Thai fighter. To do it when you are a 'Kathoei' (Thai word for the third gender) you have to be even stronger and braver. Nong Rose proved she's got what it takes, she is a real winner.
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