Transgender beauty pageant crown awarded to Miss Philippines
The finals of the 2012 Miss International Queen competition reached a colourful and spectacular climax in Thailand on Friday.
The annual beauty pageant for transvestites and transgender males saw contestants from around the world battling for the crown.
The event in Pattaya, 130 kilometres southeast of Bangkok, is fashioned after the Miss World beauty pageant — with the exception that each of the contestants has to have been born male.
The rules state that the contestants must show proof of their biological sex through birth certificates or a doctor's verification.
Like any other beauty contest, Friday's pageant included national costume, evening wear and swimsuit categories.
At the end of an evening of lavish costumes and carefully choreographed routines, transgender Kevin Balot of the Philippines was crowned Miss International Queen 2012.
Balot burst into tears upon hearing she was the winner and was given the crown by her predecessor Panvilas Mongkol of Thailand.
Balot won $13,000 US in prize money as well as a shiny trophy and gifts.
She will now perform the role of a goodwill ambassador and use her position to call for freedom and equality for transgender people.