How it feels to be the first transgender winner of Drag Race

Angele Anang was named the first transgender winner of Ru Paul's Drag Race (Photo: Provided)

Angele Anang made history last week.

She became the first ever trans woman to land first place in the history of the Ru Paul’s Drag Race franchise.

The Thai contestant took home the top prize when the second season of Drag Race Thailand ended on Friday (5 April).

‘You worked hard and you showed the world you are an amazing artist and an amazing human being,’ co-host Pangina Heels said of Angele.

She is the first queen ever to win five challenges in a row and beat the record for most challenge wins in a single season. Overall, she won a total of six challenges, beating BenDeLaCreme’s former record of five.

But, Drag Race has a contentious history with transgender representation.

Last year, creator and co-host of the original US show RuPaul, came under fire for his comments about trans contestants. He initially said he wouldn’t accept a trans contestant, and though that has changed, many still criticized him for his stance.

There have only been a handful of trans contestants in the franchise’s global history.

Gay Star News spoke to Angele:

How does it feel to win Drag Race Thailand?

It is unbelievable. From the beginning of the race. I never thought I was going to win or even be in the top three. But, I did everything from my heart, gave it everything and it paid off at that moment. I am so proud of myself.

How have your family and friends reacted?

Everyone has been crazy. My friends and family are so happy. Even my father has been so proud of me. He had never seen my performances before. Never in the past eight years that I have been working in the show industry. Friday was the first time. I am so glad he was there watching and being included in my performance. There are no words to describe how I feel.

Angele Anang made history last week when she won Drag Race Thailand (Photo: Provided)

Angele Anang made history last week when she won Drag Race Thailand (Photo: Provided)

How was the competition?

I found out about the competition through social media. After I passed the auditions, it was as I expected. I prepared myself for it: the challenges, the competition, the pressure, everything. It was fun, but it was also very depressing. We have only a little time to do, make, and learn for each and every challenge. But it makes us better and better. It is like training.

There were a lot of good moments and lots of memories. I love communicating with the International queens. I loved talking to the other queens about our funny moments. The worst time was when I was so so stressed. I didn’t like myself during these times. But, when the stress turned into good work I loved it. But, if it didn’t turn out well I would be even more stressed.

Of course, the best moment was when I won!

What was your favorite outfit and why?

Green curry with beef. It was the hardest challenge in the game and I made the idea come true all by myself. I sewed the whole dress myself by hand. And the shoes, and the headpiece. I loved the makeup in that challenge.

Angele Anang crafted some of the costumes herself (Photo: Provided)

Angele Anang crafted some of the costumes herself (Photo: Provided)

Why did you enter Drag Race Thailand?

When I was young, I loved performing so much. I loved to show off my dancing. I didn’t like to study but I loved to perform at the events at school. My dream, when I was young, was to be a dancer girl. My mom was the only who supported me in my passion. But, she passed away 10 years ago. My father wanted me to run the family business. He is the owner of an engineering factory.

At the time I was doing this job I became a little gay boy. I was trying to act like a man and have a boyfriend. After I broke up with my first boyfriend everything was torn down. It was like the world had ended. My heart was broken and I went back to myself and grew my hair.

I ran away from home during the night and I became a showgirl in Bangkok. I was there for three years before I got a lead. This is very fast for a showgirl. I quickly became the Beyonce of Thailand in the showgirl industry. I was performing the same thing every day for three years. So I got used to it and wanted to do something else. That’s when I became a freelance drag queen.

What is it like to be the first transgender winner of Drag Race?

I feel it is such an honor, it was so unexpected. No one within the drag community has ever discriminated against me. We don’t have that in Thailand. Because a lot of drag queens in Thailand were inspired by transgender showgirls in the theater or in the bar or anywhere. And now the trans showgirl is inspired by the drag queen too. So, for here, it is the same community just different format. We are inspired by each other.

What would you say to people that exclude transgender people from the drag community?

I understand their point that drag queens were about gay men dressing as women to be free. But a transgender woman was a male before and they are in drag for their whole life. And I think the art of drag is for everyone. It is getting bigger and bigger now.

Angele Anang is the first transgender winner of Ru Paul's Drag Race (Photo: Provided)

Angele Anang is the first transgender winner of Ru Paul’s Drag Race (Photo: Provided)

What is the drag scene like in Thailand?

It actually first came from a beautiful thing. Drag artists were inspired by women’s vanity. And it became a show. A long time ago. They performed beautifully on the stage without breast surgery. They lived their lives as a guy and didn’t even call this ‘drag’.

Then, it went further when the person really wanted to become a woman and live their whole life with this beautiful thing. This is the drag transgender culture in Thailand. But, yes, there are some transgender women who do not perform.

To be a transgender in Thailand is totally fine. It has been like this since quite a long time ago. There might be some sexism from guys, but very little. Thai People are so lovely. They relate and understand and also admire us to be ourselves.

What is next for you?

I want to be an actress, on television or in the movies. Or, I wanna be on tour. That would be fun. I want to meet drag fans all over the world.

Author: Rik Glauert

The post How it feels to be the first transgender winner of Drag Race appeared first on Gay Star News.

Thai activists protest Brunei’s anti-gay laws

Thai protesters outside the Brunei embassy in Bangkok (Photo: Facebook)

LGBTI rights activists in Thailand protested outside the Brunei Embassy in the capital Bangkok on Tuesday (9 April).

They condemned Brunei’s brutal sharia laws ushered in last week.

The tiny Muslim-majority nation in Southeast Asia now punishes gay sex with death by stoning.

Activists on Tuesday presented a statement signed by 130 civil society groups across Southeast Asia.

About 30 activists waved rainbow flags and presented stones painted with rainbows.

‘We need to come out and speak out’ said independent activist and organizer SirisakChaited. ‘Not  not just for LGBTIQAs+ people in Brunei but for LGBTIQAs+ people all over the world.’
‘When we speak out for human rights in Brunei, we must speak out for human rights everywhere’ SirisakChaited told Gay Star News.

Prasert Wasedue Raman, the official officer of the Brunei Certification Office, met with the activists and accepted the letter, according to Voice TV.

The activists later presented the statement to the Thai representative of a regional human rights commission.

SirisakChaited also said they had hoped more Southeast Asian countries would join the protest.

Legitimizing violence

‘By adopting conservative views of morality and excessive punishments, Brunei essentially legitimizes violence’ the statement said.

The signatories, which include groups from Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia, urged Brunei to respect human rights.

Brunei has faced condemnation from international rights groups, the United Nations and western government.

But Southeast Asia, where the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has a policy of non-interference, has remained quiet.

In fact, some people in neighboring Malaysia and Singapore—which have also witnessed a backlash against LGBTI people—have called for similar laws in these countries.

Thai LGBTI activists gather outside the Brunei embassy in Bangkok (Photo: Facebook)

Thai LGBTI activists gather outside the Brunei embassy in Bangkok (Photo: Facebook)

What is happening in Brunei?

Brunei implemented its latest sharia (or Islamic) laws last week.

Home to fewer than  500,000 people, Brunei is one of the world’s richest countries due to bountiful oil and gas reserves.

The new law includes: Death by stoning for people convicted of sodomy. Public flogging for those convicted of abortions, adultery or rape. The amputation of hands and feet for convicted thieves.

The United Nations condemned them as ‘cruel and inhuman’. But, the sultan has defended his ’sovereign right’.

Celebrities have led a boycott of the Sultan’s business portfolio.

In the UK, a Labour MP also said Brunei should be chucked out of the commonwealth.

For the most part, LGBTI Bruneians are remaining very quiet.

A bisexual man living in the nation’s capital this week said he was ‘confused’.

Author: Rik Glauert

The post Thai activists protest Brunei’s anti-gay laws appeared first on Gay Star News.

Drag Race Thailand host is putting their entire family in drag

Pangina Heals' father and grandmother (Photo: Twitter)

Drag superstar and co-host Drag Race Thailand, Pangina Heals, is putting their family into drag.

Pangina Heals, also known as Pan Pan Narkprasert, shared the makeovers of both his father and his 92-year-old grandma.

For the first time, they dressed their dad (now also known as Chokaree Heals) in drag.

‘My dad said love has nothing to do with gender and he did drag with me to say to the world that art love and acceptance does not have a barrier or walls’ wrote Pangina Heals.

Next, Pangina Heals dressed their 92-year-old grandmother. ‘A family that drags together stays together’ they wrote.

Pangina Heals is a half-Thai half-Taiwanese is a drag icon in Asia and a prominent LGBTI rights activist.

She has 117,000 followers on Instagram. What’s more, she is currently co-hosting RuPaul’s Drag Race Thailand which just started its second season.

Drag Race Thailand

Thailand was the first place outside of the US to air a version of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Two of Thailand’s most eminent drag queens—Art Arya and Pangina Heals—present the show in lieu of the queen herself RuPaul.

Natalia Pliacam, who performed Whitney Houston’s Queen of the Night, won the first season.

The Thai version came nearly a decade after RuPaul launched her show on a little-known gay network in the US.

Drag Race Thailand is made by Thai TV group Kantana and airs on the streaming channel Line TV.

Last year, RuPaul announced a UK version of her show coming to BBC Three in 201


Author: Rik Glauert

The post Drag Race Thailand host is putting their entire family in drag appeared first on Gay Star News.