Trans Queen India 2017: A pageant where transgenders can aspire to get crowned
Reena Rai, a homemaker living in Patel Nagar, found her best friend about a year back when she met Vippy, a transgender, in her neighbourhood parlour. The friendship was unusual as per the societal norms, but Rai, who had lost a close friend around that time, could only feel happy when the emotional vacuum in her life was filled-up by Vippy’s presence.
“We became really good friends and started hanging out together. People used to stare at me whenever I went out with Vippy, but I never cared about it. Vippy used to frequent my home, and my 10-year-old daughter refers to her as massi (mother-like). Gradually, I got to know about her share of problems. Especially when I visited Hijra Habba in Delhi last year, I found that the transgenders have an enormous amount of talent and beauty, which is usually always sidelined,” says Rai.
As Rai grew closer to the transgenders, she decided to do something that provides a platform to their talent. And today, she’s all set with the 16 finalists, selected from 1500 transgenders, for the contest Trans Queen India 2017. “This is the first beauty pageant for transgenders in India, and has been created keeping in mind the need of the transgenders to be able to show what they have got. The highlight for the event is that the winner will represent India at the most prestigious platforms for the community, Miss International Trans Queen in Thailand.”
Vippy, Rai’s friend, today feels proud of having a close mate who saved her life, and is also working for the society. “I thought of committing suicide when my parents disowned me at the age of 22. I was shattered and lost. It was Reena di who became my friend and thought of doing something for our community, which is otherwise usually neglected. The beauty context that she has come up with, I have high hopes from it,” says Vippy.
“This contest will provide opportunity to transgenders from across the country. We have participants from more than 10 states. All of them applied online,” adds Rai, who had a tough time shortlisting them. “We had planned to hold auditions in seven cities but could only manage three — Mumbai, Delhi and Imphal — due to financial constraints. My husband put in all his savings when I told him that I want to initiate such a project, and work for the benefit of the transgenders. It was his support that made me sail though tough times, even when we were unable to pay our child’s school fee and felt so bad that despite all the appreciation, there was no support from anyone who I know,” recalls Rai with tears welled up in her eyes.
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