For women and men alike, self-image and self-esteem are often intimately linked. For transgender people, positive self-image and high self-esteem can be elusive at best. In India, the combined efforts of activists and businesses attempt to alter this reality via the country’s first-ever transgender beauty pageant. The force behind the search for the Indian Super Queen is Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, a popular transgender activist and the CEO of Twelve Noon Entertainment. She states:
It is not about who is the best and most aesthetically beautiful, it’s about who is willing to proudly display their character, take pride in who they are and to prove that they are just as human as all of us.
Transgender people in India, known as hijras or kinnars, find themselves targets of discrimination, ostracism, and hate crimes. Until recently they have not been afforded basic human rights. It wasn’t until late 2009 that Indian law recognized transgendered people as a third gender. Prior to the legislation, they could not obtain a passport or even vote. The beauty pageant, scheduled for February 21st in Delhi, takes a step closer toward their full inclusion in Indian society. Bollywood actress Celina Jaitley agrees:
It’s time for the much oppressed kinnar community to come up on the stage and show the world that beauty exists in all human beings.
Yes, it most certainly does.
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