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The pageantry of the "Third Gender"

Video: Man, woman, or something else? Take a walk on Thailand's wild side.

Contestants at the Miss Tiffany Unlimited Sexy Star Contest 2009 for transgender people in the resort city of Pattaya, about 93 miles southeast of Bangkok. (Patrick Winn/GlobalPost)

PATTAYA, Thailand — They're known as the "katoey," or transgender people, and they are an important part of Thai culture.

Katoeys are found across Thailand — in urban areas, in rural villages, in cabarets and restaurants, in films, newspapers and, yes, on the stages of beauty pageants.

Here's a look at the "Miss Tiffiny Unlimited Sexy Star Contest," in the beach resort of Pattaya, which drew an television audience of some 15 million people.

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