American trans woman Jazell Barbie Royale was crowned Miss International Queen at the annual trans beauty pageant in Thailand.
The Miss USA was crowned winner over Kanwara Kaewijn from Thailand and Yaya from China on Friday (March 8) in Pattaya.
Her victory is historic, as she becomes the first person of colours to be crowned Miss International Queen in the competition’s 15-year history, AFP reported.
Royale, who back home in the US is a community leader and HIV activist, said she hoped her victory would inspire other trans people of colour to compete in the competition.
“I want them to see that we are beautiful, we are educated, we are talented.”
— Miss International Queen winner Jazell Barbie Royale
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“There are a lot of living with HIV but don’t go to get treatment,” she said, quoted by AFP.
She also said that if she could send a message to her President Donald Trump, whose administration has cracked down on transgender rights, it would be “please don’t run for next term.”
In an interview with Travel News Asia filmed ahead of the grand final of Miss International Queen, Royale said was struggling to grasp the full significance of a trans woman of colour winning the pageant.
“There is no one else in the pageant that has won that looks like me, there is no one in the pageant that looks like me. I would be able to inspire so many other people out there,” she said.
As for what she’d like to do if she won the pageant, she said she wanted to be a representative for trans equality, particularly to those who are not educated about trans issues.
She said: “I want them to see that we are beautiful, we are educated, we are talented and we can manoeuvre in society just like everyone else.”
Thailand crowns Miss International Queen, may vote for transgender PM
As Thailand hosts the Miss International Queen, a local transgender woman is running to become the country’s prime minister in the upcoming elections, scheduled for March 24.
Pauline Ngarmpring, who transitioned at the age of 49, said she’s aware she will likely not become prime minister on this occasion, but she hopes to pave the way for other LGBT people to run and, eventually, get elected.
“But we hope we will get some seats and represent LGBT people in the country. And perhaps next time, even a transgender woman will have a chance,” she said.