Miss International Queen 2020 in Pattaya

Contestants take part in Miss International Queen 2020 in Pattaya, Thailand, on March 7.

The transgender beauty pageant was won by Valentina Fluchaire from Mexico.

Second and third place went to Ariella Moura from Brazil and Ruethaipreeya Nuanglee from Thailand. There were 21 contestants from around the world, including China.

This year’s event – the 15th since it began – saw lower crowds than usual as coronavirus fears kept many people away.

Spectators were screened for signs of COVID-19 while the transgender contestants also wore face masks on stage at some points as an example for others to follow.

Staged annually, the popular event sees people who were born male, but who have since changed their appearance and lifestyle to that of women, compete for prizes based on traditional perceptions of feminine beauty and glamour.

Many believe Thailand to have become one of the world’s most welcoming and tolerant place for transgender people. Homosexuality was decriminalized there in 1956.

However, some LGBT activists say more work is needed in order for transgender people to be fully accepted in mainstream society, in the media and in the workplace without facing discrimination.

Thailand, and in particular Bangkok and Pattaya, has many bars and clubs where transgender women – or ladyboys as they are known locally – can work in the adult industry where western men pay for their sexual services.

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