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03/12/2018 06:34 pm ET

Vietnamese Singer Wins International Transgender Beauty Pageant

"We all want a good life where we are treated like everyone else and not discriminated against,” the winner says.

She won the pageant, now she wants to fight a bigger battle.

A Vietnamese singer who won a transgender beauty pageant on Friday promised to use her elevated profile to fight for equality.

Nguyen Huong Giang was declared Miss International Queen Pageant 2018 Friday night in Pattaya, Thailand, surpassing 27 other finalists.

The transgender beauty contest has been around since 2004, but the 26-year-old Nguyen was the first contestant from Vietnam.

Nguyen, in the pageant’s Q&A portion, made it clear she would be an activist during her reign.

“I will fight for equality for transgender people,” she said, according to Agence France-Presse. “Everyone wants to be happy, and so do transgender people. We all want a good life where we are treated like everyone else and not discriminated against.”

Although the competition was fierce, contestants from countries that don’t prioritize transgender rights appreciated the opportunity to connect with other trans women.

“This is my first international experience of coming to a pageant where it is really a big exposure to all my trans sisters all over the world,” Nitasha Biswas, from India, told AFP.

Nguyen won $14,377 and several prizes along with her crown.

Her win comes at a time when Vietnam’s government is considering legally recognizing gender changes, according to Yahoo! New U.K. 

Nguyen’s crowning at the pageant is expected to help boost the measure.

  • Contestant Nguyen Huong Giang of Vietnam is kissed by runners-up as she is crowned winner of the Miss International Queen 201
    Soe Zeya Tun / Reuters
    Contestant Nguyen Huong Giang of Vietnam is kissed by runners-up as she is crowned winner of the Miss International Queen 2018 transgender beauty pageant in Pattaya, Thailand, on March 9.
  • Contestant Jiratchaya Sirimongkolnawin of Thailand prepares backstage for the final show.
    Soe Zeya Tun / Reuters
    Contestant Jiratchaya Sirimongkolnawin of Thailand prepares backstage for the final show.
  • Crown winner Nguyen Huong Giang of Vietnam walks in a swimsuit.
    Soe Zeya Tun / Reuters
    Crown winner Nguyen Huong Giang of Vietnam walks in a swimsuit.
  • Contestant Jiratchaya Sirimongkolnawin of Thailand prepares backstage.
    Athit Perawongmetha / Reuters
    Contestant Jiratchaya Sirimongkolnawin of Thailand prepares backstage.
  • Contestant Dinda Syarif of Indonesia gets ready for an appearance.
    Soe Zeya Tun / Reuters
    Contestant Dinda Syarif of Indonesia gets ready for an appearance.
  • Contestant Sofia Solohaga of Argentina.
    Soe Zeya Tun / Reuters
    Contestant Sofia Solohaga of Argentina.
  • Contestant Marianna Melo of Italy (center).
    Soe Zeya Tun / Reuters
    Contestant Marianna Melo of Italy (center).
  • Contestant Izabele Coimbra of Brazil gets touchups on her hair.
    Soe Zeya Tun / Reuters
    Contestant Izabele Coimbra of Brazil gets touchups on her hair.
  • Rinrada Thurapan of Thailand holds her trophy after winning second runner-up.
    Soe Zeya Tun / Reuters
    Rinrada Thurapan of Thailand holds her trophy after winning second runner-up.
  • Performers prepare before the final show.
    Soe Zeya Tun / Reuters
    Performers prepare before the final show.
  • Contestant Juana Paing of Myanmar prepares to go on stage with a traditional headdress.
    Soe Zeya Tun / Reuters
    Contestant Juana Paing of Myanmar prepares to go on stage with a traditional headdress.
  • Contestant Wanmai Thammavong of Laos prepares backstage.
    Athit Perawongmetha / Reuters
    Contestant Wanmai Thammavong of Laos prepares backstage.
  • Contestant Anahi Cristobal Altuzar of Mexico.
    Soe Zeya Tun / Reuters
    Contestant Anahi Cristobal Altuzar of Mexico.
  • Contestant Amelia Vega of Honduras.
    Soe Zeya Tun / Reuters
    Contestant Amelia Vega of Honduras.
  • Contestant Sofia Solohaga of Argentina.
    Soe Zeya Tun / Reuters
    Contestant Sofia Solohaga of Argentina.
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