Every year, excitement builds in Thailand's central province of Ratchaburi as local young women vie for the top prize in the annual Loy Krathong Festival beauty pageant. As with any contest that appraises females on the basis of their genetic appearance, there are tears of victory and tears of defeat. This month, both types of tears were shed by one contestant -- a man who entered the pageant dressed as a woman, won first runner-up and then was stripped of his award.
According to a Reuters report, controversy erupted over the 22-year-old beauty queen, a cross-dresser named Kesaraporn Duangsawan, after fellow contestants complained that Duangsawan was not a young woman but in fact a young man possessing exceptional makeup and grooming skills.
Contest judges, however, were smitten with the contestant, and had already chosen him/her as first runner-up, awarding Duangsawan the title Miss Media and 6,000 bahts ($138).
Organizers soon realized the error, remembering that the Loy Krathong pageant traditionally is open only to female competitors, not to males who tuck their penises between their legs. When confronted, the gender-bending Duangsawan admitted his ruse and abdicated his title. Local police confirmed that he handed back the prize money through an intermediary within a week of the pageant. They added that he asked to keep the runner-up sash as a memento of his hoax.