Trans flight attendant crowned Miss Tiffany’s Universe in Thailand

The pageant celebrates Thai-national trans women. (Getty)

A trans flight attendant has been crowned Miss Tiffany’s Universe 2024 in Pattaya, Thailand.

Saruda “Pimai” Panyakham won the coveted title in the beauty pageant on 4 February, which celebrates Thai-national trans women. She was announced as the winner of the 25th Miss Tiffany pageant at the Tiffany Show Theatre in the city and collapsed on stage upon hearing the news.

Panyakham had previously competed in four pageants as a Miss Tiffany contestant and finally had her victorious moment at the event this year.

The 29-year-old who is a graduate of the Faculty of Education at Rajaphat Chiang Mai University was met with thunderous applause following the judges’ final question, asking why she had entered for a fourth time.

Panyakham finally earned the title after entering the contest four times prior. (Lauren DeCicca/Getty Images)

She explained that her goal is to become a role model for other people in the LGBTQ+ community, and campaign for equal rights for all in Thailand, no matter their identity. 

Kachisara “Bruce” Sridakote achieved second place, while Jessilin “Jessy” Nakprasit came in third at the competition. 

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Panyakham will now go on to represent Thailand in Miss International Queen 2024, the world’s biggest beauty pageant for trans women.

This year, the theme at the pageant was “The Future is Yours“, which harked back to the pageant’s original aim of promoting human rights and equality for trans people in Thailand, and across the globe. 

The inaugural pageant was launched in 1998 to share the beauty, talent and diversity of trans women, and is supported by the Tourism Authority of Thailand. 

Despite Thailand notoriously being known as a destination for trans people to receive gender-affirming healthcare and be able to live safely and openly, there are still no equal rights for LGBTQ+ people in terms of the law. 

As of 2021, the Human Rights Watch reported that there is no way for trans people to obtain legal documentation which reflects their affirmed gender. They also reported that trans people face “numerous” barriers in regard to health, education, work, freedom of movement and non-discrimination.

However, there are hopes that the country will soon improve their laws for the LGBTQ+ community. In November 2023, Thailand’s cabinet approved an equality bill that would legalise same-sex marriage, which was submitted to parliament. 
If the amendment to the Civil and Commercial Code is approved by parliament and by King Maha Vajiralongkorn, Thailand will become the third Asian country – after Taiwan and Nepal – and the first Southeast Asian country to legalise same-sex marriage.

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