Transsexual Contest Signs 2-Year Deal

Ed Palomar
LAS VEGAS — Here he/she comes again — Miss Transsexual America is returning to the Strip. The July pageant for transgendered competitors proved to be so successful that the Riviera Hotel and Casino has agreed to present the beauty contest in 2005 and 2006.

“It’ll be bigger and better,” pageant publicist and judge Wayne Bernath told XBiz. “There will be more interest and we’ll build on its success. The first time out is always roughest.”

The "World’s Most Beautiful Transsexual Contest" took place at the Riviera from July 22-24 and was modeled on the "Miss America" pageant. Bernath said that in order to be eligible to enter, “all competitors had to prove that they were either pre-op or post-op transsexuals.”

Contestants participated in the talent, bathing suit and evening gown competitions that are traditional parts of beauty contests. Up to $25,000 in prizes was reportedly awarded to winners in different categories.

According to Bernath, who co-produced the event, would-be contestants “now have a whole year to prepare in order to attend and participate in the pageant. We’re open to international entries, and if there’s enough of them, we may change the title of the winner to Miss Transsexual World.”

The winner of the first beauty contest was Chicago showgirl Mimi Marks. Bernath said that competitors and winners in the 2004 pageant — including Marks — can re-enter the competition in 2005 and 2006.

“It looks like a revue with 10 acts can grow out of the pageant,” Bernath told XBiz. “Lots of show people are transsexuals and appear in alternative lifestyle nightclubs. This could be a chance for them to go mainstream.

“As in the Riviera, you don’t need a huge stage for a spectacular," Bernath said. "It could be similar to the 'Crazy Girls' [revue] – a theater-in-the-round that’s up close and personal.”

Bernath promotes the "Crazy Girls" act, as well as the Riviera’s transvestite show, "La Cage," which features celebrity impersonators of stars such as Liza Minnelli and Jennifer Lopez.

Bernath is also promoting a stage adaptation of John Stagliano’s 2002 erotic film “The Fashionistas,” which starred adult performers such as Belladonna.

“It will be a musical production show presented in the Krave Nightclub at the Aladdin. It’s a sexy, fetish-oriented musical debuting in September,” Bernath said.

In recent years, the so-called Sin City that has long been known for grownup activities such as gambling and drinking has become more children-oriented. However, the publicist told XBiz that the opening of “The Fashionistas,” plus the possible premier of a transsexual revue in January, could mean “adult shows are making a comeback in Vegas.”