This year, the title of “Miss International Queen” was conferred upon US contestant Jazell Barbie Royale in Pattaya, Thailand. She became the first contestant of color to win the transgender beauty pageant since its first edition 15 years ago.
Pattaya is a seaside resort and a hub of tolerance and acceptance of the transgender community, like some other cities in Thailand. Royale, who is an HIV activist and community leader, beat 19 other candidates from different countries, including Peru and Brazil.
A Voice Raising Awareness
The winner declared she wanted to use her victory to educate others about how important it is to practice safe sex and get tested for HIV if you’ve had unprotected sex. In her winning speech, she highlighted the fact that many people choose to live with HIV without getting treatment. Although even asking for medical help for HIV is hard for heterosexuals, it is even more so for transgender persons because of the immense stigma they must labor under.
In 2019, the theme of the Pattaya Transgender Beauty Pageant was world equality. The Florida-born contestant’s victory comes against the background of gender-related conflict back home as the US government attempts to stop transgender recruitment in the army. The Trump administration’s decision is being contested in court.
Compared to other Asian countries, Thailand has a strong and visible transgender community. This month, the country had its first transgender candidate for prime minister. Miss Spain was the first transgender contestant in history at the 2018 Miss Universe competition, hosted by Thailand.
Miss International Queen is a chance for contestants to bond with other members of the community from around the world. It gives TS singles in Pattaya every reason to rejoice. The host country’s acceptance of the LGBT community is a nice reprieve for contestants from Malaysia, Indonesia, and other less tolerant countries. Malaysian contestant Larra Jassinta told the audience that many members of the LGBT community in Malaysia can’t get a job and live in isolation because they are not accepted. Their own families turn their back on them.
Miss International Queen 2018
Last year, the transgender beauty pageant was an even bigger event with 28 contestants from around the world taking part. Pageant rounds included swimwear, eveningwear, and national costume. The winner of 2018 was Nguyen Houng Giang from Vietnam. The Australian candidate won second place, while the host country’s representative was awarded the bronze.