She was crowned as the winner of an international transgender beauty pageant.
It may come as a surprise to many that a transgender woman was crowned as queen of a beauty pageant, but that’s actually the norm for this particular pageant. Miss International Queen is a pageant meant for transgender women and dozens of countries participate, though it’s not as well known as other worldwide pageants because of its limited contestants.
A 25-year-old model from Thailand, Jiratchaya Sirimongkolnawin, was crowned this month as Miss International Queen 2016 and it is the fourth time that a contestant from Thailand has won since the pageant first began in 2004. Miss Sirimongkolnawin is a former dental heath student at Srinakharinwirot University and now works as a model and fashion designer.
The pageant started as a way to help transgender women around the world feel more included and a part of society, and the rules are pretty relaxed for a beauty pageant. Contestants must have been born male, between the ages of 18-35, and can be at any stage of their gender reassignment. This pageant allows those who are transitioning, which can be as tough as it is liberating, to still be a part of the transgender community and display their talents.
“It’s like a new category, but the gender already existed a long time ago,” said Jiratchaya.
Miss Sirimongkolnawin was crowned after contestants waited anxiously for the competition to resume after it was postponed following the death of the King of Thailand in October of 2016. Since Thailand is the host of the pageant, they postponed the competition to allow for mourning and then resumed to crown its own contestant in March.
This is an amazing way to include transgender women in an event typically commandeered by women that were born female and to encourage them to join a community where they can feel accepted and at home.
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