Yes, yes, yes! The third Trans-Queen India Pageantry has finally brought home a winner and we are definitely in the mood for a celebration. Pageantry is not simply about models on a ramp. Pageantry is a parade of talents, fashion, confidence and strength. Everything that can help empowering the transgender women community in India.
Transgender women in India rarely receive support and are often dismissed. They are not just far from receiving job opportunities, they struggle to find places to live and the access to education or skill-training. So when there is a pageantry third time in a row, we know there’s something done right. We recently spoke to the first runner up of Alina Miss Transqueen India. Named Silk, she has turned out to become an icon for transgender women everywhere.
She’s not just fashionable, but she is also humble, extremely friendly and a transgender activist.
Here’s a small story of a part of her life to remind you why Transqueen Pageantry is important to the community.
In a conversation, Silk mentioned how she struggled to find a house to rent. As an educated woman, who was aware of the world, she knew her confidence would get her through anything. So when she finally found a house, she determined to stay put. Her neighbours begin to complain, create chaos, break alcohol bottles at the front of her house, and even had it delivered to her door. But she knew what was up.
She slowly began to befriend her neighbours, invite them over, and offer food now and then. But the kicker was when she became the runner up of Miss Alina Transqueen India 2019. Media channels hovered over and interviewed her. And most importantly, her neighbours. This made the neighbours extremely accepting of her and broadened their ideas of Transgender women.
Tattoo Artist Wins The Title
This third year of the pageantry, a tattoo artist, Neetu RS from Bangalore won the crown. The prize includes a beauty treatment voucher and an offer of a free surgery from a clinic in Gujarat. This pageantry held to create awareness about the community, their exceptional skills, and their abilities that are equal to everyone else’s.
The final round of the pageant was held in New Delhi and witnessed higher response and encouragement than years before. Competing against 11 other participants, Neetu also won the Title “Best Evening Gown”. Indian Express even reported her saying that it was her dream come true.
I now want to represent my country at the international level and win the crown for India. My life story must inspire people. And I need to help my community break barriers.
Titles and crowns, however shallow it might seem, hold the power to make you believe in yourself. As a marginalized sector, the transgender women community needs more platforms where they get to shine and truly be themselves.
In Neetu’s case, she knew she was transgender when she was in middle school. And her life, which one can presume to be a bumpy ride since. She strongly believed that if she became successful transqueen, who identified as a trans woman in middle school, she felt that being successful would make it easier for her parents to accept her. She even began her own salon, opened up a restaurant, and educated herself! What an inspiration! And as she hoped, her whole family finally stand by her.
But this clearly could not have been easy!
The constant need for acceptance that makes you push yourself to your extreme is mentally and physically exhausting. It takes an immense amount of patience to keep up with yourself and the people around you. Especially when they don’t accept you.
Neetu’s struggles add value to her success. She told Metro ‘As a son, I completed my responsibilities,’. After which she decided to come out for her own sake and step into the next phase of her life.
‘I came out to my sister in 2016 who was shocked and in tears. I told her about successful LGBTQ+ people, showed her videos and how many people are part of the community.
Her mother who was depressed for quite some time finally came around when Neetu’s words sparked the need for her mother’s acceptance. She told her mother that her strength lies in her mother, and eventually, her entire family accepted her.
The Founder of Miss Trans Queen India, Reena Rai rightly said that the pageant is more than just a beauty contest. It brings out the most powerful stories and gives a deserving victory. Neetu’s statement at the pageant highlighted the element of sisterhood that Transgender women live by.
‘When I started this, I was all alone. My victory lies in the fact that all my queens are standing with me.