Thailand’s Jiratchaya crowned transgender beauty queen

03 Mar, 2017

PATAYA, Thailand – Thai contestant Jiratchaya Sirimongkolnawin is crowned Miss International Queen at a contest billed as the world’s largest and most popular transgender pageant.

Thai contestant Jiratchaya Sirimongkolnawin was crowned Miss International Queen 2016 on Friday at a contest billed as the world’s largest and most popular transgender pageant.

The 25-year old beat 24 other contestants for the crown, with the second and third place going to contestants from Brazil and Venezuela respectively. The pageant, which brings together transgender people from around the world, was launched over a decade ago to help transgender women feel more accepted by society.

The contest, in its 12th year, was held at the Tiffany’s nightclub in Thailand’s seaside town Pattaya famous for its transvestite cabaret.

Like other beauty pageants, contestants for “Miss International Queen” paraded in their national costumes, evening gowns and swimsuits. For many, they represent a springboard for future opportunities.

Thailand remains a largely conservative society, with no laws recognizing same-sex unions. But it has a prominent lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, with many members playing leading roles in its entertainment industry. The 2016 show was postponed from November last year due to the country’s mourning period of its late King Bhumibol Adulyadej who passed away at 88 on October 13. –Reuters