A new avenue is opening up for transgender people to showcase their talents. Kerala is hosting the first ever beauty pageant for transgender people.
Over 40 transgender women appeared for the audition in Kochi on April 25. Of them, only nine were selected.
Organised by an association of transgender people of Kerala — the Dhwayah Arts and Cultural society — the event aims to empower the third gender in the country and shatter the stigma around the community.
Celebrity makeup artist and one of the organisers of the beauty pageant, Renju Renjimar, told TOI, “The idea is to give transpeople more confidence, to be active in the mainstream. Though Kerala has become more trans-friendly on paper, we are still discriminated against. We hope this pageant will help transpeople come out of their shells. I’m happy to say that more than 40 transpeople turned up just for the first audition.”
The next audition will be held in Kollam. Those wanting to participate from the Malabar area could go to Kozhikode for further selection. However, after all the auditions, only 15 will head for the final round and the winner will be crowned as ‘Queen of Dhwayah 2017’.
“The auditions will be judged by former Miss Kerala Elizabeth Thadikaran, fashion choreographer Sunil Menon and I. We have tried to stick to the rules and regulations followed in the Miss India contest, especially that of the 1994 pageants, which had Sushmita Sen, Aishwarya Rai and Shweta Menon winning the finals,” Ranju says.
Parvathy Omanakuttan and Ranjini Haridas will judge the final round while Shweta Menon will crown the winner.
“As the trans-community has been fighting to forge their own identity in society and within themselves, the biggest quality they should achieve is confidence to face the world. We will also be looking at their overall persona, communication skills and passion for success. I am excited about the pageant, and am sure it will open up new paths for them in society. Many Malayalis still find it tough to accept them. More of such events would make them more visible and give them a more dignified space in society,” Elizabeth Thadikaran says.
Kerala is very transgender people-friendly. It was the first state to introduce The Transgender [People] Policy to ensure that the community does not face any discrimination. Then the government had planned a statewide education program for transgender people and launched a 10-day survey to estimate the amount of transgender people in the state.
A sports meet for transgender persons was recently held at the Central Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram. At the event, more than 130 participants from different parts of the state showed up and took part in four events, including sprint, relay, long jump and shot putt. An education program for Transgender Community is also on the anvil.
Feature Image Credit: Facebook/ElizabethThadikaranOfficial
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