On Sunday, sixteen transgender women competed in Gurgaon (a city close to New Delhi) to become the first-ever “Miss Transqueen India,” a competition that celebrated gender fluidity and India’s underrepresent trans community. While the Indian Supreme Court allowed transgender people to identify as “third gender” in 2014, the community still faces severe discrimination. To recognize this struggle for acceptance, the organizers declared every participant a “winner,” although a jury eventually decided that 26-year-old Kolkata-based Nitasha Biswas would become India’s very first “Trans Queen.” Biswas will represent her country at the International Queen pageant in Thailand in March 2018. The pageant was started by former businesswoman Reena Rai, who had the idea after hearing hijra (a traditional Indian community of male-to-female transgendered people) discuss their struggles. “I realized that … change was not coming,” Rai said. “When straight people like me … actually stand up for the cause and fight for them, only then the change will come.” For more on the story, watch the video below.
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