The Miss Tiffany Universe pageant that occurred earlier this month got me thinking about this question: Who does have the most beautiful transwomen on the planet?
When I first conceived this post it was just going to be a single one, but this has turned out to be a subject that's going to require multiple posts that I'm going to break up by regions. I'll start with Asia.
The Thais have argued for the last decade that they do and they have miles of video, the plastic surgeons, and pageants to back them up. Thai girls also start with the advantages of a culture that tolerates them and access to over-the-counter hormones that they can start in their early teens. They have the additional advantage of slight body builds that are enhanced after female hormones work their magic.
The end result is a transwoman that is so convincingly female that in some cases the only way you can tell them apart from bio Thai women is their voices if they didn't start HRT before testosterone impacted their vocal chords.
The girls from Korea, Japan and the Philippines would beg to differ with that assessment. They have the same advantages of slight body builds that morph into convincing feminine presentations as well and somewhat tolerant cultures.
Harisu is one of the more well known transwomen from Korea. She transitioned at 18 and in 2002 became the second person in South Korea to legally change her gender. She not only is a model and singer but has a few endorsements with several Asian companies as well. She recently got married to her longtime boyfriend May 19. You also have the Korean pop group Lady representing which is made up of four Korean transwomen. They were the four chosen from an audition of transwomen that numbered in the hundreds. The group's formation was inspired by Harisu's popularity.
The Chinese are also in this mix as well as their cousins in Taiwan and Hong Kong. In China transsexuality has ceased to be a taboo topic. 500 transwomen have had SRS since 2004 according to government statistics. There are also increasing numbers of Chinese transmen as well.Chen Lili is the unofficial poster girl for Chinese transwomen. She's a model who was the 2004 Miss Universe China and was set to compete in the Miss Universe Pageant being held in Quito, Ecuador. Although there was no rule at the time keeping transwomen from entering, the Miss Universe organization barred her and ruled that only biowomen can compete.
The Filipinas boast of a blend of Latin, Asian and Pacific island traits combined with a somewhat tolerant culture despite the fact it's a Roman Catholic country. Many Philippine transwomen also transition early as well.
From the 50's until the mid 80's the Asian capital for transgender women wasn't centered in Pattaya but Singapore's Bugis Street. Until it was torn down by Singaporean authorities it was world renowned as a tourist mecca and the place where beautiful transwomen hung out on a nightly basis.
It was also a popular R&R stop for British, American and Aussie military personnel. The construction of a rail station ended the carnival like culture that had built up around the area to the lament of locals and tourists. Singaporean officials tried to recreate it but the efforts failed. The 1995 movie Bugis Street captures that bygone era.
In Muslim Malaysia and Indonesia you have the warias. The term is a blend of the Indonesian words for man and woman. They too have beauty contests and back in 2005 one of them in Jakarta was interrupted by hardline fundie Muslims who crashed the party. The winners of the 2004 and 2005 Miss Waria International pagenat moved on to compete in the Miss International Queen.
The debate continues in Part 2