Last week in Gurgaon, India, as Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” played across loudspeakers, a woman named Nitasha Biswas made history. The 26-year-old fashion student has just become the inaugural winner of Miss Transqueen India, the country’s first transgender beauty pageant.
For the most part of it, the event went on like any other beauty pageant (because it was one!), but its social significance has a new energy and strength to India’s active yet a complicated LGBTQ community.
The hijras, or trans citizens of India, have played an important role in the history of our country. During the 16th century, hijras served as respected government advisers, but the group has also been met with widespread discrimination. However, in 2014 the Indian government voted to give hijras the legal right to identify as a third gender.
That’s why business owner Reena Rai decided to start Miss Transqueen India. A leading daily suggests that she almost went broke funding the pageant. They widdled down 1500 candidates to 16 finalists.
Ultimately, Biswas took home the crown and later told a leading daily that, “My journey was not easy. I feel very privileged to be where I am today and knowing so much of struggles and hardships that I’ve gone through.” In March 2018, Biswas will go on to represent India at Miss International Transqueen in Thailand.
Here is a picture of the finalist posing pretty clad in a red saree.
For the final event, all the contestants did their own hair and makeup and looked nothing less than regal.
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