October 20, 2014
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) - The first beauty pageant for transvestites has drawn dozens of contestants in Aceh, a semiautonomous Indonesian province that follows strict Islamic law.
The Antara news agency reported Sunday that 19-year-old Zifana Lestisia from the northern district of Lhokseumawe was chosen the region's Social and Culture Envoy 2010. He will represent Aceh at the national level.
Antara quoted the organizers as saying the pageant, held in the provincial capital, Banda Aceh, was intended to wipe out stigma and strengthen friendships among transvestites.
While Aceh, on the northern tip of Sumatra, adheres to Shariah law, the majority of Indonesia's roughly 200 million Muslims practice moderate Islam.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)