Thailand's Sirapassorn Atthayakorn crownded as Miss Int'l Queen 2011

Updated: 10 Nov 2011
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 Miss International Queen 2011 winners: 1st runner up Miss Nigeria Sahhara, winner Miss Thailand Sirapassorn Atthayakorn and 2nd runer up Miss Lebanon Margaret.


 A Venus rising from the floodwaters, Thailand's Sirapassorn Atthayakorn was crowned Miss International Queen 2011 on Friday night, beating 22 other contestants from 18 countries.

Now in its seventh year, the pageant at Pattaya's Tiffany Show Theatre promotes tolerance and understanding for the transgender community, and this year the participants in turn volunteered to help with the flood disaster and cheer up those who are suffering.

The pageant itself - with the theme "Beauty and Generosity" - raised Bt270,000 for the Chai Pattana Foundation.

It was a theme close to the heart of Miss Thailand, Sirapassorn - the always cheerful and smiling new Miss International Queen, who won US$10,000 and other prizes.

Surrounded by her supportive family and adoring fans, Sirapassorn shared an uplifting story.

She knew at age six or seven that she wanted to be a girl. Her parents soon abandoned any effort to raise her otherwise. Instead, they focused on raising a good person, and that authentic, built-in goodness radiated from her.

Sirapassorn said she was proud to win the competition because it represented full acceptance for the person she is. No longer does she have to "prove" herself.

Observers were struck by the same genuineness shared by all of the transgender contestants. Even in the midst of a media frenzy, Miss Sri Lanka Chamila advised the other girls, "Just make sure you're always doing the right thing." She too enjoys the full support of her family and brought along her best friend from Colombo.

Margaret was representing Lebanon despite being raised in the Philippines after her parents gave her up for adoption when they separated. That was the sort of disappointment in life that she's had to get past to become a model and make it to the international pageant.

Her adoptive father - conflicted over her sexual preference - shunned her too, but after high school she went ahead and became a transgender. "Everything seemed to blow up in front of me," Margaret said.

She saw the pageant both as a chance to show who she really is and possibly even find her real parents, who, maybe, might be ready to accept her.

"Am I pretty?" she asked. "My parents promised they'd come back and get me. I'm waiting for them. I hope nobody forgets me." 


Margaret did once briefly reunite with her real father, but he was disappointed upon seeing her. He asked her what had happened to his son.

Despite her heartbreaking tale, Margaret exuded confidence. "Just be you," she tells others. "Be kind. If you can be yourself, you can be whatever you want."

The contestants gave the refreshingly voluptuous Miss USA Mokha Montrese the vote as Miss Congeniality, and the audience was also wild about the representatives of Venezuela and the Philippines, as well as Margaret and Sirapassorn.

Miss Nigeria, Sahhara, was a standout during the Q&A segment. "Other than your parents," she was asked, "who is your idol and what have you learned from that person?"

Sahhara picked the Welsh singer Dame Shirley Bassey, calling her an amazing inspiration because she suffered a great deal to get to the top of her profession. Sahhara faced her own adversities, but can now offer guidance to others. "Girls at home," she said, "dream your dream - it will come true."

Named first runner-up, Sahhara said she wouldn't tell her mother, because "she doesn't really want to be involved with anything I do in my life as a transwoman".

Miss Nigeria emphasised that she "didn't join this competition to get confirmation that I'm accepted in society. I joined because I want to have fun ... and also to make a statement to Nigeria that, as a transwoman, you can do this, you can be here.

"I already have the confidence," Sahhara said. "All of the contestants already have the confidence. If you don't, you couldn't become the person you are."

Now living in Britain, Sahhara is determined to go back to Nigeria to persuade more people to accept the third gender. "I come from a place that is very difficult and not very understanding of what I am. I'm going back to challenge those views - with cameras, of course!"

Sahhara left the audience with another inspiring moment. She was deeply moved visiting Thailand's flood victims and seeing how they're coping. "That will be with me forever."




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