The first ever transsexual beauty pageant was held on October 31 at the Teatro João Caetano in Rio de Janiero of Brazil with the participation of 19 contestants.
The 5-day event included evening-gown and swimwear competitions. The contestants also attended lectures on human rights and sexual diversity. At the end of the event, Ms. Marcela Ohio was crowned as the winner of the pageant or Miss T Brazil 2012.
Miss Rio Grande do Sul competes in the first Miss Transsexual Brazil 2012 contest, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on October, 30, 2012. Photo: Vanderlei Almeida, AFP / Getty Images
According to the head of the Association of Transsexuals and Transvestites in Rio, Barbara Aires, the association’s goal is to “gain visiablity, and to show that transsexual and transgender people should be able to choose their own profession independent of stereotypes or prejudices.”
Contestants participating in the pageant seemed to be very excited. “This contest is key for the visibility of us. We transgender woman suffer a lot from prejudice and discrimination, whether we are pretty or not, rich or poor,” a contestant said. For them, being recognized is more than just winning.
In Brazil, transgender people have been targets of violence in recent months. According to Gay Star News, a transgender woman known simply as “Madona” died after being stoned by a group of unknown assailants in Aracaju, the capital of the state of the Brazilian state of Sergipe last month.
Last May, Jenna Talackova hit the headlines when she entered top 12 of Miss Universe Canada 2012. Although she didn’t win, the bravery of Jenna Talackova made history and MUO had to withdraw their ban on transgender participating in the pageant.