Vietnamese singer crowned international transgender beauty queen

Singer Nguyen Huong Giang from Vietnam took home the crown of Miss International Queen Pageant 2018 in Thailand on Friday night, beating 27 other contestants.

The beauty queen, 26, is the first Vietnamese to attend the competition, the world"s largest and most prestigious beauty pageant for transgender women that has been held annually in Thailand since 2004.

She also won Best Talent and Most Popular Introductory Video awards.

“I will definitely have meaningful activities for the LGBT community after returning to Vietnam with this victory,” Giang told the media after winning the crown.

For the Q&A part of the contest, when asked what social campaign she would launch to make the world a better place, the Vietnamese singer answered: “I will fight for equality for transgender people. Everyone wants to be happy and so do transgender people. We all want a good life where we are treated like everyone else and not discriminated against.”

The transgender community endures discrimination in many parts of Vietnam, a country where conservative social morals dominate.

But in a rare act of social progression, the government is writing a law that will allow people to officially change their gender amid the growing LGBT scene in recent years.

The First Runner-up went to Jacqueline from Australia while Rinrada Thurapan of Thailand was named second runner-up.

The mission of the pageant aims towards LGBT and transgender awareness and equality, while all the profits from the televised show go to the Royal Charity AIDS Foundation of Thailand.

Joe Wong, who works with the advocacy group Asia Pacific Transgender Network (APTN), applauded contests like "Miss International Queen" as a "powerful medium to showcase the challenges, talents and hopes of trans people".

"I"ve learnt from others that contests like these create sisterhood and bonds," he told AFP, adding that the pageants would however benefit from a more inclusive definition of beauty.