A transgender woman will represent Myanmar in the Miss International Queen 2013 pageant to be held on October 27 - November 1 in Pattaya, Thailand.
Tanya Maung, a 29-year-old ethnic Kayin transgender, has confirmed that she will represent Myanmar in the transgender beauty contest. She told The Myanmar Times, “Some of my colleagues thought I should apply, so I decided to try it.” Tanya Maung works for an international organisation as a program officer. She has also worked as a volunteer among Myanmar migrant workers in Thailand, helping with education, the promotion of culture, health protection and sharing health knowledge.
Tanya Maung sees participation in Miss International Queen as a good chance to address the question of human rights protection for transgender people.
“In protecting our honour as human beings, gaining more acceptance from society and sharing knowledge about opportunities, this kind of pageant will make us more confident at the international level through representing our country,” she said.
“I’ve had many difficulties in my life because my family does not accept me for my life changes. But I was confident in myself before I changed to this gender. I’ve thought clearly and analysed the need to stand up in society for the life I lead. We just do our best and show our families reasons to be proud of us,” she said.
Tanya Maung was born in Hpa-an township, Kayin State, and moved to Thailand in 2007 after graduating from Hpa-an University in order to earn money for her family and to seek new challenges and experiences abroad.
Tanya Maung plans to raise questions regarding the rights of the LGBT (Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual and Transgender) community in Myanmar after the contest, and called for more understanding and opportunities for them.
“Gender discrimination still exists in society. I would like to raise awareness about the activities of my gender,” she said.
Thirty contestants from more than 20 countries will take part in the beauty competition.