Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Hermaphrodite: Choi Han-bit

Is sex by birth a qualification for a beauty pageant?

It appears not, as a male-turned-female transsexual has passed the preliminary stage of the 2009 Super Model Contest.

Choi Han-bit, 23, was among 50 participants selected from a list of 1,200 candidates at the preliminary stage of the contest on July 2. She still has to pass another preliminary on July 28 to be included in the final selection, but if she does, Choi will be Korea's first transsexual super model.

A dance major at the Korea National University of Arts, Choi underwent a sex change operation in 2006, and was legally recognized as a woman by a court. She also changed her name from Han-jin to Han-bit.

After grabbing the public's attention, she said on her blog, "This is only the beginning. I have not lived in a vain hope. I just believed that I can be happy and I can do it."

But cyber world is divided on Choi's selection in the preliminary.

Some Internet users, including several unsuccessful contestants at the preliminary, say that a person who has artificially changed sex should not be allowed in the beauty contest.

They claimed it is not right for a transsexual, who has obtained a female body artificially, to take part in the contest that evaluates appearance.

But many others supported Choi, saying she is just the same as other "real female" contestants who underwent plastic surgery. They left messages on her blog, saying, "You made a courageous choice," and "I saw a picture of you before having the sex change operation, and you were beautiful then as well."

Story Continues...

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