On December 19, India crowned new Miss Transqueen who is now headed for the global stages and voice her opinions for the marginalized trangender community in India.
Fashion designer Shaine Soni was crowned Miss Transqueen India, the country’s beauty pageant for transgender women, on Saturday. She will represent India at next year’s Miss International Queen, the world’s biggest pageant for transgender women.
What is Miss Transqueen pageant?
First established in 2017, by Reena Rai, who identifies as cisgender, the Miss Transqueen pageant involves all the trappings of a traditional beauty pageant — photoshoots, talent rounds, elaborate costumes, judges and hundreds of audience members.
The beauty pageant focuses celebrates the spirit of the LGBTQ+ community.
Talking about the journey Soni said, ”When Reena approached me for Miss Transqueen India for the first season in 2017, I was always there to support her but I wasn’t comfortable coming out at that time because of family pressure,”
”My pageant isn’t just about beauty, it is about empowerment and inclusion,” Rai told CNN in a phone interview. “If I am going to send someone without holding a competition, then I have to make sure that they are a very strong candidate, the best of the best, someone who knows the value of (becoming Miss) Transqueen India.”
Born biologically male, Soni went through a phase where her mother thought that she was gay. In an interview with Mint Lounge, Soni shared how mental transformations came before the physical transformation.
“A trans child always goes through this phase in life where they’re confused to be gay because you’re feminine and you act a certain way,” she told the news agency. Having graduated from the National Institute of Fashion Technology, Soni won a reality show in her final year and got an internship with WGSN which is a trend forecasting company in Hong Kong.
A lot of my friends gave up on me, they could not understand,” she said. “But I was very determined, so I went ahead and did everything on my own.”