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Brazil Crowned Miss International Queen In Transgender Pageant In Thailand

posted 1 Nov 2013, 17:44 by Mpelembe   [ updated 1 Nov 2013, 17:45 ]

25 beauty queens fight for the crown in the 9th annual Miss International Queen competition in Thailand.

PATTAYA, CHONBURI, THAILAND (NOVEMBER 1, 2013) (REUTERS) - 25 transgender beauty queens battled it out on stage in the 9th Miss International Queen on Friday evening (November 1) in Thailand.

The annual pageant is held in the popular beach town of Pattaya located inChonburi, a province approximately 130 kilometres (81 miles) south of Bangkok. The participants are nationals of 16 countries including the United StatesBrazil,Japan and South Korea.

This year marks the first time a contestant from Myanmar joined the competition.

Tanya Maung, 28, says when she was younger, she was shunned by her family. But as Myanmar opens up after nearly five decades under strict military rule, she says she finds people are more accepting of who she is.

"At the beginning of my changes, my family had really big problems with me. I had to fight difficulties to get my rights and it's a very hard life to face this situation, but now, more people are more acceptable and they're proud of who I am," Maung said.

Anastasia, 37, also wants to send a more positive message home to South Africa.

"Everybody has a misconception that they associate transgender people with a freak show or they are there to fulfill fantasies, but actually, I am a flight attendant, I fly for a very well-recognized airline and I feel that people should not judge," she said.

Judges say they are examining not only beauty, but intelligence as well.

"We emphasise the contestant's beauty first and then their intelligence and their different views, that's number two. And when combined, you'll end up with the prettiest and the smartest girl," said Dr. Seri Wongmonta, the head judge of the competition.

In the end, 18-year old Marcelo Ohio from Brazil took the top prize and was crowned Miss International Queen 2013.

"I'm very happy and to the people who supported me, I want to thank them," she said.

Ohio will receive 300,000 THB ($10,000 U.S. dollars), a one-year residency at a hotel resort in Pattaya, and she will serve as a goodwill ambassador to promote equal rights for the transgender community.

The first and second runner-ups were Ms. USA, Shantell D'Marco and Ms.Thailand, Nethnapada Kanrayanon respectively and will receive 70,000 THB (2,333 U.S. dollars) and 50,000 THB (1,666 U.S. dollars).

Other titles included best evening gown, best talent and best costume and went to Ohio, Ms. Malaysia Nur Sajat Fariz and Ms. South Korea Arisa.

Proceeds go to educating communities on transgender issues, the Thai Red Cross and supporting tourism in Thailand.