CHARITY Steals and J.O Rojas were crowned as the winners of the 2015 Miss Gay and Miss Transsexual Australia pageant over the weekend.

Regarded as Australia’s most prestigious beauty pageant for trans women and drag queens, the pageant was held at Melbourne’s Yarravile Club on Saturday night as part of the 2015 Midsumma Festival.

Charity Steals, a 32-year-old drag queen performer from West Melbourne and winner of Miss Gay Australia, said that drag helped her combat mental health issues such as social anxiety and depression.

“Drag gave me a purpose to leave the house and be somewhere different and have more fun in a new environment,” she said.

J.O Rojas, a 29-year-old registered nurse from Deer Park and the newly-appointed Miss Transexual Australia, said winning the pageant was a dream come true.

“I am delighted with winning the pageant as I can now use my position to promote Ygender, a peer-led social support and advocacy group for gender diverse young people that is close to my heart,” she said.

Contestants competed in a costume and evening wear competition, as well as a talent competition for the drag queen entrants and a swim wear section for the trans* contestants.

The top three finalists also underwent an interview.

The two winners surpassed 14 contestants from around Australia to take home cash and sponsor prizes worth up to $10,000.

Contestants also nominated an advocacy cause, which included charities such as Ausgender, beyondblue, Transkids Purple Rainbow Foundation and Ygender.

RELATED: Miss Gay and Miss Transexual Australia photo gallery

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