As intermediaries of the spirits, they can bestow good or evil. In Burma, they are called nat kadaw and in Thailand maa khii. Because people both worship and fear the spirits, this requires them to pay homage (and money) to the spirit mediums for their intercession and good fortune.
As intermediaries of the spirits, and for their good deeds, mediums are respected in the community by those who believe in the spirits. is is not always true in the larger community, which sometimes views spirit mediums as people who work in an unsavory profession known for “cheating” people.
SEXUAL ORIENTATION, GENDER IDENTITY, AND GENDER EXPRESSION
There are some males who adopt the “gay” Western label and related Western customs, as both of these cultures have been heavily influenced by the Western media and the Internet. Some use the English word gay but not in the Western sense.
That is, they are aware that there are middle-class urbanized, Westernized Burmese and Thai men who adopt the gay male Western construction, but most of the spirit mediums that I met did not identify themselves that way.
They view themselves as more feminine in their heart and soul but express their femininity to various degrees.
While their gender nonconformity was universally greeted with disdain by their parents when they were children, the parents and family members often develop an appreciation and respect for their role as spirit mediums and their economic status. Family acceptance is won and not given freely.
For most, this rejection changes as they become successful as spirit mediums and do well in business, whereby they can help support family members.