A lot of people think of ladyboy beauty pageants in a trivial way. Some even think of these as parodies to prestigious beauty pageants for cisgender women. However, what most people don’t know is that ladyboy beauty pageants paved the way for more visibility and recognition for transgender women.
Yes, there are a lot of other important movements that people need to focus on as well. However, without platforms like these which the majority can relate to, a lot of these movements wouldn’t even be able to see the light of day.
Famous Ladyboy Beauty Pageants Around the Globe
In Asia, some ladyboy beauty pageants are held with a comedic perspective. While these are what’s commonly accessible to be watched by the regular person, these do not dictate what ladyboy beauty pageants are all about.
There are many prestigious ladyboy beauty pageants around the world. The contestants are mostly elegant, intelligent, and are blessed with savoir faire. They’re the ones who usually get to obtain a new demographic of followers who may be enlightened about transgender issues that they may not have knowledge of.
The land of smiles is not only known for its rich agriculture. It’s also known for being the land that births the most beautiful ladyboys in the world. Ladyboy beauty pageants have produced a lot of ladyboy celebrities and activists who are not only fighting for their rights but are also gaining recognition.
This recognition serves as a window to more career opportunities and provides a voice for ladyboys who are often oppressed and unheard. Now that you already know why ladyboy beauty pageants are important in the fight for inclusivity, it’s time for you to know the most prestigious ladyboy beauty pageants around the world.
Miss Tiffany’s Universe
Miss Tiffany’s Universe is the most prestigious Thai ladyboy beauty pageant. It started taking place annually since 1984.
As of 2020, the ladyboys who are allowed to join should be from ages 18-25. Miss Tiffany’s Universe welcomes all kinds of ladyboys be it them being pre-op, non-op, or post-op.
This ladyboy beauty pageant owned by Tiffany’s Show Pattaya Co, Ltd. is joined by more than a hundred hopeful beauty queens annually.
Contestants get a chance to win a plethora of generous prizes. If they’re lucky enough, they may get to win jewelry, clothing, more than $10,000 in cash, a car, and more; most importantly, the coveted crown for the title of Miss Tiffany Universe.
The selected winner will be able to compete in the most prestigious beauty pageant for transgender women around the world; Miss International Queen. She will also be representing and helping Tiffany’s Show Pattaya Co, Ltd.’s causes to fight AIDS and spread awareness about discrimination against ladyboys.
Everyone can watch Miss Tiffany’s Universe given that they purchase their tickets and get reservations. Not only is it prestigious but Miss Tiffany’s Universe is also watched by 15 million viewers worldwide.
Miss International Queen
Although Miss International Queen is the most popular and prestigious international beauty pageant for transgender women, it’s still included as a ladyboy beauty pageant in Thailand.
It’s owned by Tiffany’s Show Pattaya Co, Ltd. and it’s only held in Pattaya, Thailand every year since 2004.
Unlike Miss Tiffany’s Universe, Miss International Queen allows other transgender women of different nationalities to join. The prizes and recognition are more monumental because it’s watched by millions of viewers around the world.
Miss International Queen requirements are a bit different from Miss Tiffany’s Universe’s. It does not allow individuals who’ve had nude, adult, or pornography publications in the past. The pageant, however, is more lenient when it comes to the age requirement. A ladyboy can join as long as she’s under the ages of 18-35. Furthermore, if a contestant has already been a runner-up previously in Miss International Queen, she won’t be able to join anymore.
The latest prizes for the Winner of Miss International Queen included an apartment in Woodlands Resort Pattaya (during her reign), $15,000 in cash, jewelry, beauty products, and more.
Ladyboy beauty pageants in the Philippines are more diverse. Apart from having a plethora of prestigious beauty pageants for transgender women such as Manila’s 5 Prettiest, Miss Amazing Philippines, Miss Gay Philippines, Queen of Cebu, Miss Gay Manila, Super Sireyna, and more, you’ll also be able to watch ladyboy beauty pageants every week in different clusters of the country through small-town fiestas.
Although the Philippines is not as popular as Thailand when it comes to beautiful ladyboys, it’s also a country that birthed countless well-known international trans women celebrities.
Added to that, their beauty is a bit more diverse because the Philippines is a melting pot archipelago that has been occupied by different nationalities throughout the years. The Philippines does not have an archetype standard when it comes to a beautiful ladyboy because it’s blessed with a bountiful of stunning ladyboys of different colors.
In the Philippines, the most popular beauty pageant for ladyboys is called Super Sireyna. Its rival Miss Q and A from another TV network cannot be considered as a ladyboy beauty pageant because it allows crossdressers to join.
In the Philippines, a literal meaning of “Sireyna” translated to English, means Mermaid.
In ancient myths, mermaids are beautiful water creatures whose captivating beauties would lure men to the sea and never to set foot on land again. A mermaid is also unique, rare and magical.
A Mermaid, has been labeled as a “freak of nature”, a “curse” or a myth, we are very similar just because some people look at it as something outside the norms.
Despite all those names that were tagged to a mermaid, it still does not stain its beauty. A mermaid exudes magic and mystery. Transgenders or “ladyboys” as commonly known in Asia are not female by birth and some would describe it as a female trapped in a man’s body.
Some say it’s hereditary, some say it’s scientific, some say it’s spiritual and even some would say it’s a curse. If you take a closer look, the way people look at mermaids in the olden days, were also the way people judged us, transgenders in the past and in some, up to now.
The TV Show
TAPE Inc.’s Eat Bulaga launched Super Sireyna, giving a whole new image to transgenders. With the similarities that mermaid and we transgenders have, you can never say that giving their new segment a name like this was nothing that was never thought or researched about.
The catchy and bubbly title “Super Sireyna” contains an even more substantial meaning which also best describes transwomen: happy, bubbly, funny, vain, beautiful yet smart, witty and kind hearted. Something most people would tend to overlook just because most of us love to make other people laugh.
Looking beyond the name, Super Sireyna also contributed greatly to the general image of transgenders. In the past, gay pageants were more for entertainment and novelty. Somehow, gay pageants started as another channel of stand-up comedy.Super Sireyna started with their signature “look alike” introduction.
Gay contestants would usually impersonate their favorite female celebrity. This became a milestone as gay pageants worldwide would pattern their shows the same way. But moreover, the media played a very special role on public awareness and acceptance. Over the years, Transgenders also improved their appearances and transgender pageants became more prestigious. This means that with the continuous public awareness, people now paid attention and respect to transgenders.
Eat Bulaga then made changes and allowed Super Sireyna to evolve to a full bloom prominent beauty pageant. They’re encouraging transgenders to show the world who they are. Allowing winners to also share with charity and showcase their talent in the talent competition. Furthermore, the contestants answer questions that help show their intelligence and talents.
Today, our Sireyna shines not only within the country but also in Asia and the world. All thanks to the people who believed and respected the transgenders and the people who supported us all.
Miss Gay Philippines
In the Philippines, the counterpart of Miss Tiffany’s Universe when it comes to prestige at a national level is Miss Gay Philippines.
Albeit not being as popular as Super Sireyna, it has been around since 1979.
The requirement to join Miss Gay Philippines is that the aspiring contestant must fall under the ages between 17-34.
She must also stand at least 5ft 4in., has good communication skills, high school diploma, be of good moral character, and have a “proportionate” physique.
Although it’s called “Miss Gay”, it’s a beauty pageant exclusively for ladyboys. The reason why it’s named as such is because the term transgender was not as popular back in the ’70s as it is today.
One of its most notable winners is Trixie Maristela who is also the winner of Miss International Queen 2015.
Ladyboy beauty pageants can also be watched in the USA. However, they’re not as popular and don’t have as much reach in viewership as their Asian counterparts.
In the USA, drag show competitions are more popular than beauty pageants exclusively made for transgender women. These drag shows are Miss Gay America and RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Beauty Queens Making a Change
There are a lot of ladyboy beauty queens making waves in the entertainment, politics, and corporate industries. Contrary to what most people think about beauty pageant contestants, these ladies are making fighting and making positive changes through their own ways.
This Miss International Queen 2004 winner’s beauty is quite magnetic.
So much so that she’s able to bag a lot of roles in the movie and TV industry that were only filled-in previously by cisgender women.
Nong Poy has starred in several movies and TV shows as a leading lady.
She’s also a model, ambassador, and activist.
Her career in the entertainment industry has inspired a lot of young transgender women to follow their dreams amidst the discrimination against transgender women.
Geena Rocero is a Filipino activist and a former beauty queen based in the USA.
Although her career as a beauty queen was brief, she shined through her bravery in fighting for transgender rights in the global stage.
She has also made a TED Talk and has been featured in different publications and media outlets for her fight against transgender discrimination.
A trailblazer and a beauty queen, Jenna Talackova was instrumental in making the most prestigious pageant in the world Miss Universe, accept transgender women contestants.
Her fight to compete in her country’s national pageant Miss Canada was what started the inclusion of Miss Universe of transgender women.
Who could forget the magnitude that Angela Ponce AKA Miss Spain has brought upon the Miss Universe 2018 pageant?
Angela Ponce is the first transgender woman who won a national pageant (Miss Spain) and competed in Miss Universe.
Miss Universe also made a monumental tribute for her breakthrough which has touched hundreds of millions of viewers’ hearts.
Beauty pageants are not just for fanfare and entertainment. They were not created just for superficial purposes. A lot of these platforms have changed millions of lives. These also support different causes around the globe and should not be seen in a trivial manner.
Ladyboy beauty pageants have opened a lot of doors and windows for transgender women. Don’t think too much about it. Try watching one and just enjoy the show.