Brazilian wins transgender pageant in Thailand

A Brazilian has won the 9th Miss International Queen transgender beauty pageant in Thailand, with US and Thai contestants placing second and third.

Marcelo Ohio won first prize which included 300,000 baht (9,677 dollars), a crown with real gemstones and free surgery "for anything" at a famed plastic surgery clinic in Bangkok, organizers said.

The pageant held in the beach resort of Pattaya since 2004, ended around midnight Friday.

US citizen Shantell D'Marco came second in the beauty pageant, with Thai contestant Nethnapada Kanrayanon placing third.

There were 25 contestants from 17 countries in this year's contest, organized by the Tiffany's Show Pattaya Company, including three from Brazil.

The show was launched 40 years ago to provide Pattaya beach resort, 100 kilometres south-east of Bangkok, with a novel form of entertainment while offering transgenders a legitimate career option, said Arisa Phanthusak, Tiffany's manager and organizer of the Miss International contest.

In 2004, the show went international, offering transgenders from other countries an opportunity to bask in the limelight.

"After Thailand, I think the Philippines and Brazil are the countries that are most tolerant of transgenders," Arisa said.

Transgenders are numerous in Thailand, where many have found successful careers in the entertainment, fashion and cosmetics sectors and even in government service.

"It is in our character to be tolerant," Arisa said. "We are free here, and we are service-oriented people," she said.

Source: The New Age, New Zealand, 11/2/2013

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