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India’s transgender beauty contest, supported by Bollywood stars Celina Jaitley and Seema Biswas, hit the road in Mumbai this week and will travel to Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and other cities before reaching the grand final on February 21st. The contest is intended to raise the profile of the Hijra transgender community in India. It is hoped that it will provoke further discussion about equality, discrimination and stereotyping. It follows the highly successful Miss India Transgender contest held in Chennai in December, organised by the Indian Community Welfare Organisation and won by model Karina Shalini

About 20 contestants took part in the Mumbai leg of the contest, including international artist Nishi Sheikh, who admitted she was not typical of the community. “I consider myself to be gay and I do not really live a life which most of my community members live,” she explained to the BBC, “I go for international performances. For me making good money and taking care of my family is most important. I am here to support the cause.”

Meanwhile, the Ahmedabad round of the contest was won by Sonia De. “Parents should not abandon their transgender children,” she said, “They need to be brought up just like other normal children. Getting education for the transgender community is important and government authorities should ensure same equality and opportunities for us.”

Source: Bollyspice

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