I have conducted ten months of fieldwork in two Buddhist monasteries in Mandalay. I will be writing up the fruits of that research, looking into the nature of the social relations that link monks to each other and to lay supporters. I am interested in the ways that monks exemplify a particular version of idealized masculinity, one that suppresses sexuality while emphasizing autonomy.
Complementing my research on monks is work I have done on transvestite males in Mandalay, many of whom now work as beauticians. The relationships they enter into and the commentary upon them shows that they suffer a great loss of standing by dint of giving up their masculine identity. Yet they can make up for some of that loss by promising to connect their clients to a glamorous world of the modern and prestigious.