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Two Pinays bag major awards in Australian transgender tilt

Two transgender Filipinas recently emerged as winners in the Miss Gay and Miss Transsexual Australia Beauty Pageant in Melbourne, Australia. Gabrielle Louise Mendoza from Philip Islands, Victoria, clinched the Miss Gay title, besting 10 other candidates during the pageant on February 2. Now on its fourth year, the Miss Gay and Miss Transsexual Australia Beauty Pageant is an alternative beauty contest for gay men, cross-dressers, drag queens, and transsexuals. Promoting this year’s theme as “Colors of Australia,” the pageant is one of the highlights of the Midsumma Festival, a month-long celebration of Melbourne’s LGBT community. A veteran of the Miss Gay pageant, Mendoza previously placed first runner-up in the 2011 competition. A fellow Filipina, Sofiya Iya Cocaina Vergara from Perth, Western Australia, was chosen Miss Transsexual over 11 other contestants. In her Facebook page, Vergara said she was “teary eyed” when she was crowned Miss Transsexual, “capturing the most coveted national title that has been so illusive to many.” A Cebu native, Vergara has a string of titles from countless gay pageants she has joined in the Philippines, such as those in La Union, Negros Oriental, Tacloban and Baybay in Leyte, Agusan del Norte, and Mandaue, Cordova, and Carmen in Cebu. She was also a semifinalist in the Miss International Queen 2005 held in Thailand. According to the Star Community, Vergara has been married for four years to a Western Australian miner, whom she thanks for allowing her to follow her dream of being a pageant winner. - VVP, GMA News