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Transgender Beauty Queens Take the Stage in Thailand

She's beauty and she's grace, she's Miss International Queen 2018.

Backstage, dresses get zipped and hopes start to rise as contestants get ready to compete in the world’s biggest beauty event for transgender women, the Miss International Queen pageant. Since its founding in 2004 the pageant has taken place in Thailand, a country that has been relatively accepting of transgender people.

Contestants come from all over the world — from the United States, Mongolia, Turkey — places where transgender identity continues to be stigmatized and even criminalized. But for <a href="https://www.facebook.com/MissInternationalQueen/videos/10156067884374002/"target="_blank">one night</a>, the finalists come together for a pageant where their identities and their beauty is recognized and celebrated. LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP/Getty Images Contestants come from all over the world — from the United States, Mongolia, Turkey — places where transgender identity continues to be stigmatized and even criminalized. But for one night, the finalists come together for a pageant where their identities and their beauty is recognized and celebrated. Izabelle Coimbra of Brazil LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP/Getty Images Izabelle Coimbra of Brazil The theme for this year's competition is World Equality | True Identity. Contestants compete in displays of cultural dress, evening gowns, an interview round, and more, all punctuated with group performances. Twenty seven women compete for the crown (a prize of 450,000 Thai Baht -- about 14,364 USD), and bragging rights. LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP/Getty Images Twenty seven women compete for the crown (a prize of 450,000 Thai Baht -- about 14,364 USD), and bragging rights. Sofia Solohaga of Argentina LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP/Getty Images Sofia Solohaga of Argentina Noel Tokuhisa of Sri Lanka LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP/Getty Images Noel Tokuhisa of Sri Lanka Nguyen Huong Giang of Vietnam LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP/Getty Images Nguyen Huong Giang of Vietnam Nez Sayginer of Turkey LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP/Getty Images Nez Sayginer of Turkey Australia&#39;s Jacqueline (L) and Vietnam&#39;s Nguyen Huong Giang await the announcement of who will be the next Miss International Queen. LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP/Getty Images Australia's Jacqueline (L) and Vietnam's Nguyen Huong Giang await the announcement of who will be the next Miss International Queen. And the winner is... LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP/Getty Images And the winner is... Vietnam's Nguyen Huong Giang! Last year's winner, Thailand's Treechada Petcharat (L), crowns the new queen. In the interview round, Miss Vietnam spoke of wanting to make the world a happier place, and making her community stronger and more equal. The new Miss International Queen receives congratulations from first runner-up Australia&#39;s Jacqueline (R) and Thailand&#39;s Rinrada Thurapan. LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP/Getty Images In the interview round, Miss Vietnam spoke of wanting to make the world a happier place, and making her community stronger and more equal. The new Miss International Queen receives congratulations from first runner-up Australia's Jacqueline (R) and Thailand's Rinrada Thurapan. Congratulations Miss International Queen 2018! LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP/Getty Images Congratulations Miss International Queen 2018!