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Thailand hosts first worldwide transvestite beauty pageant

Thailand hosts first worldwide transvestite beauty pageant

Reshaping their bodies with tape--and in some cases, surgery--the Miss International Queen contestants looked more feminine than many women could ever dream of, even though they were all born boys. The 24 transvestites and transgenders caked on makeup, sprayed their hair into hurricane-proof bouffants, and donned glamorous gowns and skimpy bikinis for the international beauty pageant in Thailand. Transgenderism is common and widely accepted in the mostly Buddhist nation, particularly in Bangkok and towns like Pattaya. A two-hour drive south of Bangkok, this beach resort is known for its anything-goes sexuality, prostitution, and transvestite cabaret theaters like Tiffany's, where the first-ever Miss International Queen pageant carried on into the wee hours Sunday morning. The contestants, from 11 Asian countries, Germany, and France, primped backstage as they answered questions about escaping their male bodies. Jesse Rogers, a 29-year-old fashion design student from Singapore, realized she was attracted to men when she--identifying with her male gender at the time--was in the army. "I found that I liked men and that I wanted to be a woman," she said. "I suspected it before, but I didn't know for sure until then." The Miss International Queen title and $7,000 prize went to college student Treechada Petcharat, who flat-out passed the test--no one could guess she was once a boy. "I don't think that I'm more woman than the women here," said a breathless Treechada, crowned with a gemmed tiara, beaming a perfect smile for flashing cameras. "But I definitely feel like a real woman."

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