Movie: Beautiful Boxer, 2004
This movie is based on the true story of Thailand’s famed transgender kickboxer, Nong Toom (Asanee Suwan) who was born in a small community in Thailand. The family was poor and Nong Toom was the target of bullies who made fun of his delicate nature. The film is about overcoming obstacles to pursue personal truth and this makes the unique situation relevant to everyone on their path toward allowing their true self to emerge.
From his earliest of memories,Parinya Charoenphoi (affectionately known as Nong Toom), felt that he was more like a girl than a boy. Later, he used the analogy of being a ‘woman trapped in a man’s body.” During the bullying, Nong was forced one day to take on a bully in order to defend one of his friends. It became evident to Nong Toom that he was blessed with the ability to kickbox. In his teens, Nong Toom became a monk for a short period of time. This is a usual practise in many Buddhist countries. In the monastery, Noog Toom had time, and the wisdom of older monks, to make a life decision. He resolved to be true to himself and eventually become a woman.
Transgender operations are frequently performed in Thailand, but they are expensive, and Nong Toom, from an impoverished background needed substantial money. He realized that kickboxing could provide him with the money, but he had to become famous through being an expert in this sport.
Kickboxing is a popular sport in Thailand and it draws competitors world-wide. If a boxer is talented, it can offer him fame and money. Nong Toom decided to fight like a man in order to become a woman. His coach accepted Nong Toom and his desire to become a woman Together, they used his feminine nature as a gimmick in the ring. Here was a man battling opponents while wearing makeup. He was so good that he had a large and faithful following. Known as Muay Thai, it is the most masculine and lethal sport imaginable.
The movie is shot in nine provinces across Thailand and in Tokyo. An actor, Asanee Suwan, a real-life kickboxing champion, arned Thailand’s equivalent
Of the Oscar for best actor. The movie is called, “Beautiful Boxer.” There are great scenes often played by real kickboxers who were opponents of Nong Toom.
Today, Nong Toom or Lady Nong Toom lives and works in Pattaya, Thailand. She is still associated with boxing, but she does a lot of work for transgender persons. She has been an inspiration to many.