Thai transvestite beauty pageant cancelled amid political turmoil
Fri, Oct 24, 2008

BANGKOK- Thailand's international transvestite beauty pageant has been postponed indefinitely amid political turmoil in the capital, organisers told AFP Thursday.

The Miss International Queen contest - a staple of the transvestite pageant scene - was due to be held in October in the kingdom's beach resort of Pattaya, but organisers postponed it for a month due to the political unrest.

On Thursday, they said they would postpone it indefinitely because some contestants had been reluctant to travel to Thailand.

"It is with regret that Tiffany's Show Pattaya is postponing the Miss International Queen 2008 pageant until further notice," said organiser Alisa Phanthusak.

"(We) had to take this painful decision due to the political instability and unrest in Thailand... Despite the trouble free and safe environment within Thailand, several Europeans and Asian countries have advised their citizens not to travel to Thailand through travel warnings, which has jeopardized the participation of some contestants."

Two people were killed and nearly 500 injured in violent clashes between protesters and police outside parliament in the capital Bangkok earlier this month.

The annual contest draws transvestites from all over the world to compete for a cash prize of 10,000 dollars, but more importantly fame and acceptance. Known in Thailand as "kathoey," or the third gender, Thai transsexuals have slowly been leaving cabarets for mainstream success in music and other endeavours, helped in part by the popularity of beauty contests.

Last year's contest was won by Miss Thailand, with contestants from Brazil and the Philippines finishing as runners up.

Organisers of the pageant said they would reschedule the contest for as soon as possible next year.


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