Local NPO Social, Health & Empowerment (SHE) will be hosting their seventh annual Miss Trans Diva beauty pageant at the Billy Francis Hall in Buffalo Flats on Friday September 27.
According to SHE programme director Wandile Dyoba, the event is a beauty pageant for trans women aimed at providing LGBTQI people a space to safely be themselves.
“This is us showing our identity in a crowd without being combative or being vocal but rather using our bodies and our appearance so that people can see what being transgender is,” she said.
Miss Trans Diva started as a once-off event in 2011 with only seven participants. After requests from community members, it was reorganized it as an annual event. This year, 24 people have entered.
For Dyoba, the event is an important step in advocating for the human rights for of LGBTQI people while also providing them with a crucial safe space.
“This is one of the only safe spaces for us as LGBTQI people where we can come together without being violated, discriminated against or stigmatised,” she said.
In addition to the pageant, the event will include free HIV/Aids and TB screenings.
SHE is a non-profit organisation that advocates for LGBTQI rights while also providing certain health services and educating local communities on LGBTQI issues.
“Some people don’t expect men to wear have weaves and makeup,” eye shadow or lipstick because of their gender identity,” Dyoba said.
“When we want to access healthcare, it’s often not easy for us transgender people persons because of our identity.”
It was this focus on community outreach that encouraged organisers to host the pageant in Buffalo Flats.
She added that it was hoped that hosting an event like Miss Trans Diva in areas like Buffalo Flats would encourage community members to engage with the LGBTQI community.
“In the suburbs, at least people know have the information about what LGBTQI means, but in the townships, it’s where we face the most challenges,” Dyoba said.
“TFor us in the LGBTQI community, the pageant gives us that freedom to express ourselves and be who we are,” said SHE media officer Andre Jacquire.
The free HIV/Aids and TB screenings will be available from 4pm with the pageant starting at 6pm.
Tickets are R50 per person with VIP tickets going for R80.
For more information, call 043-722-0750, or e-mail email@example.com.