"We are in the 21st century and there is just more tolerance in the air.

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wears a creation by Blue Man during the Fashion Rio Summer 2012 collection in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. more Rio De Janeiro -- Walking the catwalk in a Brazilian bikini is a nerve-racking experience for even the most seasoned of models, but for Felipa Tavares it's nothing short of terrifying.

The 6-foot-tall Tavares is among Brazil's small but growing ranks of transgender models - leggy, high-cheekbone sirens who were born men and are causing a splash here as well as in Paris and other international fashion capitals.

Félix da Silva Guarariba, Brazil 4-Apr-17 Shot to death Bianka Gonçalves Primavera do Leste, Brazil 7-Apr-17 Shot to death Camila Sao Jose do Campos, Brazil 10-Apr-17 Beaten Vitoria Castro Araguaina, Brazil 10-Apr-17 Beaten Hérica Izidório Fortaleza, Brazil 12-Apr-17 Beaten Name unknown Curitiba, Brazil 12-Apr-17 Beaten Gaby Feira de Santana, Brazil 12-Apr-17 Shot to death Name unknown Itabuna, Brazil 16-Apr-17 Shot to death Samilly Guimarães Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 20-Apr-17 Shot to death Marooni Belem, Brazil 22-Apr-17 Stabbed to death A.

Ribeiro Marcossone Curitiba, Brazil 23-Apr-17 Shot over 25 times Eloá Silva Joao Pessoa, Brazil 27-Apr-17 Shot multiple times Name unknown Barcarena, Brazil 29-Apr-17 Stabbed Uilca Vitoria de Santo Antao, Brazil 29-Apr-17 Shot to death Layza Mello Vilha Velha, Brazil 30-Apr-17 Shot Name unknown Belem, Brazil 30-Apr-17 Shot to death Samaielly Lauro de Freitas, Brazil 30-Apr-17 Shot to death Sophia Castro Contagem, Brazil 3-May-17 Cause unclear C. Lima da Silva Monhangape, Brazil 6-May-17 Shot to death R. Silva Pereira Barretos, Brazil 7-May-17 Deliberately struck by a vehicle Thadeu Nascimento Grande do Retiro, Brazil 7-May-17 Shot and beaten Jennifer Itaitinga, Brazil 9-May-17 Shot multiple times Fernanda Ponta Grossa, Brazil 10-May-17 Shot Chaiane Cachoeira do Sul, Brazil 13-May-17 Stabbed Ketlin Juazeiro do Norte, Brazil 13-May-17 Stabbed Name unknown Fortaleza, Brazil 13-May-17 Stabbed Name unknown Morro Agudo, Brazil 15-May-17 Beaten to death Pâmela Belo Horizonte, Brazil 21-May-17 Stabbed to death Lalá Feira de Santana, Brazil 25-May-17 Shot to death Grace Kelly Lauro de Freitas, Brazil 25-May-17 Suffocated Joyce Jane Padilha Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 26-May-17 dismembered Sheila Medeiros Tres Pontas, Brazil 29-May-17 Cause not reported Laryrssa Moura Governador Valadares, Brazil 31-May-17 Shot in the back Natasha Castanhal, Brazil 5-Jun-17 Multiple gunshot wounds A.

FILE - In this June 1, 2011 file photo, Brazilian model Lea T.

wears a creation by Blue Man during the Fashion Rio Summer 2012 collection in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Brazil and Thailand are reputed to have among the world's largest transgender populations.

Nonetheless, the gay rights movement has made major headway in Brazil, the world's largest Catholic country.

Alves Nascimento Criciúma, Brazil 5-Jun-17 Shot to death Natasha Varginha, Brazil 6-Jun-17 Shot multiple times Name unknown Salvador, Brazil 10-Jun-17 Shot in the neck, belly, shoulder, and back.

Renata Vieira Uberlândia, Brazil 14-Jun-17 Beaten to death E.

I never played football and I just wanted to hang around with the girls, playing dolls or dress-up," said Tavares, who goes by the feminized version of her birth name, Felipe.