Transgender Beauty Pageant Winner's Strange Prize

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The annual transgender beauty pageant, Miss International Queen, was held Friday in Pattaya, Thailand, and the crown went to Marcelo Ohio from Brazil. Ohio placed first among 25 contestants from 17 countries, and she took home a bejeweled crown, 300,000 baht (about $9,700), and the opportunity to get free surgery "for anything" at a well-known plastic-surgery clinic in Bangkok. Shantell D'Marco, an American from Orlando, FL, placed second, and Thai contestant Nethnapada Kanrayanon came in third.

Miss International Queen is the largest transgender pageant in the world. It's been held since 2004 in the beach resort of Pattaya, though its organizer, Tiffany's Show Pattaya Company, has been in the trans-beauty-pageant business for several decades. Tiffany's manager Arisa Phanthusak told the Deutsche Presse-Agentur that the competition offers both entertainment and career options for transgender people, who work both private- and public-sector jobs in Thailand. "After Thailand, I think the Philippines and Brazil are the countries that are most tolerant of transgenders," she said. (Timeslive.co.za)