- Vietnam’s Nguyen Huong Giang won the coveted title in the contest that is considered to be one of the world’s most prestigious beauty pageants for transgender women.
- Miss Vietnam was crowned in the picturesque resort city of Pattaya, Thailand, the venue of the contest since 2004.
- Wong of Asia Pacific Transgender Network that beauty contests such as Miss International Queen provided a powerful medium to showcase the challenges, talents and hopes of the transgender community.
Besting 26 other remarkable candidates, Miss Vietnam brought home the bacon when she won the Miss International Queen title in Thailand on March 9.
Nguyen Huong Giang won the coveted title in the contest that is considered to be one of the world’s most prestigious beauty pageants for transgender women according to the latest transgender news by the Agence France-Presse and published by the Jakarta Post on March 10.
Miss Vietnam triumphed over candidates representing countries from Mongolia to Mexico. She was crowned in the picturesque resort city of Pattaya, Thailand, the venue of the contest since 2004.
Before the coronation, the candidates were busy preparing for the competition. Huddled in a packed dressing room, they put on their makeup and had their hair done with as an army of stylists whirred around them.
Nitasha Biswas, who represented India, said, “This is my first international experience of coming to pageant where it is really a big exposure to all my trans sisters all over the world.”
Growing LGBT community
The competition was considered fierce, but many took the opportunity for camaraderie among transgender contestants who, although coming from diverse background and culture, have commonly shared experience of discrimination back home.
This year’s winner, Vietnam, had a growing LGBT community. Recently, its communist government is pushing for a landmark legislation that would allow transgender individuals to legally change gender.
The host country, Thailand, has a thriving, visible LGBT community and is hailed for its being open-minded on issues that many LGBT members face.
It has also become a destination for many transgender people who are facing intolerance in their own country, including Myanmar.
“Myanmar is a developing country so there is still only a small amount of transgender people,” Juana Paing, this year’s Miss Myanmar. “I want to try my best for Myanmar to be more open for transgenders.”
In addition, Thailand is considered one of the top places to undergo sex reassignment surgery. However, some parts of society remained to have deeply-held conservative beliefs.
Many of its transgender citizens, despite having attained a high level of education, still couldn’t find stable full-time employment opportunities outside of the entertainment and sex industries. Up until 2012, transgender people were considered to have a medical illness.
The Thailand government has also not legalized and does not recognize same-sex marriage.
But the beauty pageant was welcomed by LGBT advocates including Joe Wong of the advocacy group Asia Pacific Transgender Network.
Wong said that beauty contests such as Miss International Queen provided a powerful medium to showcase the challenges, talents and hopes of the transgender community.
“I’ve learnt from others that contests like these create sisterhood and bonds,” he said.