Indian Super Queen, India’s first beauty pageant for the transgender community was launched in Hyderabad yesterday with the support of Bollywood actresses Celina Jaitley and Seema Biswas. Celina said, “It’s time for the much oppressed kinnar community to come up on the stage and show the world that beauty exists in all human beings. Gender has nothing to do with it.”
The first round of auditions will commence in Delhi on January 23rd. The show will then tour to Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Kolkata. Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, CEO of organisers Twelve Noon Entertainment and a UN worker said, “I wanted to organise an event that would provide a platform for the transgender community to take pride in their identity. A beauty pageant is not the only way to celebrate it but it’s a beginning.”
Indian President Pratibha Patil has leant his support to the event by accepting an invitation to be honorary chair. Hijras have a long-standing tradition in Indian culture but were stigmatised under British rule through the Criminal Tribes Act. Generally still living on the fringes of Indian society, often in groups, they have a long way to go before achieving equality only recently gaining the right to vote. In Bollywood, they are normally portrayed as comic characters, although a more sympathetic portrayal was shown in Welcome to Sajjanpur.