AFP: Singapore's first transsexual beauty pageant a sell-out success (Sep 26)

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Singapore's first transsexual beauty pageant a sell-out success

Posted Sun Sep 26, 2004 6:17pm AEST

Singapore's first major transsexual beauty pageant was held over the weekend to raise money for the poor, with the event's organisers hailing it as a ground-breaking, sell-out success.

An audience of 1,350 people watched 13 finalists compete for the title of Miss Tiffany Singapore, based on the famous Thai contest of the same name, at the city-state's biggest in-house restaurant.

Thirty-three Singaporean transsexuals originally entered the contest, including one national serviceman, according to the organiser, Mogan Aruban.

Mogan, who is the chairman of non-profit charity organisation Singapore Amalgamated Services Cooperative, told AFP the contest reflected an increasing tolerance in famously conservative Singapore.

"This was a ground-breaking event considering the whole family values thing (of Singaporean society)," Mogan said.

"I think it's acceptable now because the Prime Minister has said we have to liberalise and among the younger generation there are so many gays."

Former prime minister Goh Chok Tong said last year that gays would be allowed to work in the civil service as part of the Government's loosening of social controls, however homosexual acts are still illegal.

Mogan said he had been staging more traditional fund-raising events, such as dance competitions and functions featuring international celebrities, over the past 15 years but Miss Tiffany was the most successful.