The state of Kerala has been leading the way towards greater inclusivity for the transgender community in society. It is almost every day now that we see new initiatives taking shape in the state that focus on the welfare of the community.
From the first ever transgender athletic meet in the country to the recent recruitment of 23 transgender employees in its ambitious Kochi metro project, Kerala is emerging as a haven for the transgender community.
Raising the bar a notch higher, Kochi will now host a transgender beauty pageant on June 15. It will be be the first of its kind in the state.
Auditions for the Kochi and Malabar (North Kerala) regions have already concluded, with 15 and 11 contestants from the two zones finalised respectively. Keeping in line with rules and regulations that are followed in the Miss India contest, the contestants underwent a grooming session conducted by renowned make-up artist, Renju Renjimar, and choreographer, Vishwalatha Sudarshan.
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The event is organised by Dhwayah Arts and Cultural society, a transgender association in Kerala. “Our attempt is to bring more transgenders to the mainstream of society and help them find jobs and means of livelihood,” Sheetal Shyam, a transgender activist told The Hindu.
According to Sheetal, all the contestants will participate in a two-day final grooming session in Kochi, starting from May 23, of which 15 will be chosen for the finale and the winner will be crowned ‘Queen of Dhwayah 2017’.
A commendable initiative taken towards offering a better and dignified living for the transgender community in Kerala, the Kochi pageant is not the first beauty pageant organised in India for the community. The Indian Super Queen pageant in Mumbai, organised in 2010 by transgender activist Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, holds the distinction of being the country’s first transgender beauty contest.