It was only a couple of days ago that the news that Kochi Metro was hiring 23 transgender employees, becoming the first government-owned company to do so, was hailed as an enlightened and progressive move. Now, it appears that there is more reason to rejoice as Kochi is going to host its first transgender beauty pageant on 15 June.
The Kochi and Malabar region auditions for the pageant were held in Kozhikode and, 15 and 11 contestants have been chosen from the two zones respectively.
According to the Times Of India, more than 40 transgender persons participated in the Kochi contest, while the Hindu reported that 20 people participated in the Kozhikode event. The pageant is being organised by Dhwayah Arts and Cultural Society, an association of transgenders in Kerala. The pageant aims to empower transgender people and make society more inclusive for them.
According to the Hindu, 15 people will be chosen for the final grooming session and the winner will be crowned 'Queen of Dhwayah 2017'.
The contestants went through a grooming session conducted by the make-up artist, Renju Renjimar, and choreographer, Vishwalatha Sudarshan. Renjimar told TOI that the pageant is following the same rules and regulations that are followed in the Miss India contest.
The Kochi transgender beauty pageant will not be the first of its kind to be held in India. That distinction goes to the 2010 Indian Super Queen pageant that was organised in Mumbai by the transgender activist, Laxmi Narayan Tripathi.
Here are some shots from Indian Super Queen pageant.