Nguyen Huong Giang made headlines in her native Vietnam when she admitted to being transgender on reality show Vietnam Idol in 2012. The first openly transgender contestant on the show, her confession took the country by storm, spurring debate about the topic and shedding light on the challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community in the country. When Nguyen advanced, becoming one of the final four contestants, she not only found a platform for her talent but her identity, as members of the public acknowledged – and even empathised with – her journey so far. 6 LGBT athletes who made history at the Olympic Games Nguyen made waves again in 2018 when she was crowned the first Vietnamese winner of the prestigious Miss International Queen, the world’s biggest annual beauty pageant for transgender women held in Pattaya, Thailand. She radiated pride and joy in her fiery red fishtail gown, and humbly shared her wishes to empower other Vietnamese trans people to come out, pursue their dreams and be happy. Shantay, you stay! Why Hong Kong’s drag queens are finally in the spotlight View this post on Instagram A post shared by 𝐍𝐆𝐔𝐘𝐄̂̃𝐍 𝐇𝐔̛𝐎̛𝐍𝐆 𝐆𝐈𝐀𝐍𝐆 (@huoggiangggg) Thriving on her success, today Nguyen continues to cultivate her blooming career as a singer and entertainer, appearing as a guest on TV shows and being named an ambassador for several brands. She has become a celebrity in her own right with an impressive 4 million followers on Instagram, as well as a lavish lifestyle with plenty of fancy clothes, holidays, cars and properties. Pride in Asia: 6 LGBTQ+ films to watch from Happy Together to The Handmaiden However, despite her fame and fortune, Nguyen’s life is otherwise not so different from many other transgender people in Vietnam: full of tearful moments and personal struggle spurred by deep-rooted societal prejudices. View this post on Instagram A post shared by 𝐍𝐆𝐔𝐘𝐄̂̃𝐍 𝐇𝐔̛𝐎̛𝐍𝐆 𝐆𝐈𝐀𝐍𝐆 (@huoggiangggg) When Nguyen went to Thailand to have sex reassignment surgery almost 10 years ago, she set foot in a foreign country for the first time, alone and with her entire life’s savings. After enduring the pain and dealing with the aftermath of the surgery, she avoided interacting with her father for some time after returning home, as her family had initially not been supportive of her plan to transition, according to Kenh 14. However, her family eventually grew to better understand her situation, and even expressed their pride at her accomplishments to various Vietnamese media outlets. 6 famous trans men to know, from Elliot Page to RuPaul’s Gottmik Even now, at the height of her career, she still suffers from cyberbullying, boycotts and hate speech due to her visibility as a transgender woman in the world of showbiz. Most recently, she faced threats and humiliation from a group of more than 125,000 “anti-fans” on Facebook, according to Saostar . Meet Jack Dylan Grazer, the Luca star who just came out on Instagram Appearing on the TV talk show series Miss Vietnam 2020, according to Bao Thanh Nien , Nguyen admitted to having difficulty in finding love and having children of her own. She explained how her love life is always the subject of close public scrutiny and scepticism, and that she is under constant pressure to prove herself worthy of love, as if her identity makes her inferior to other women. Regardless, she is committed to fighting for the LGBTQ+ community in Vietnam, she stated after her Miss International Queen Vietnam win, according to VN Express . To help realise this promise, she founded Miss International Queen Vietnam after winning the original international competition, reported Kenh 14 . Want more stories like this? Sign up here. Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .