Beauty pageant for trans women wants to bust all barriers

Mela Habijan, the reigning Miss Trans Global (
Mela Habijan, the reigning Miss Trans Global (

In a country where beauty pageantry is what the World Cup is to most of the world, it’s rare to see something completely new.

Billed as the first international — and purely digital — pageant for transgender and non-gender conforming people in the world, Miss Trans Global is a beauty pageant with a purpose. Conceptualized by activists working alongside beauty queens, Miss Trans Global aims to raise awareness about the plight of transgender people around the world.

“We hope to use this opportunity to raise awareness for transgender women suffering worldwide who are struggling to survive at these difficult times of Covid-19 due to family rejections, homelessness, lack of jobs and earning opportunities,” reads the pageant website. Though the pageant has been held before, this is the first time it will be purely online.

Applications for Miss Trans Global Philippines — the winner of which will go on to represent the country in the Miss Trans Global pageant — is open till May 29. Because of the pageant’s mission to spread awareness and to “inspire transgender people globally”, candidates are required to “be ready to advocate for transgender rights”. Entry also requires aspiring pageant contestants to submit a two-minute video where the entrant explains, among other things, who their transgender role models are and how they intend to advocate for trans rights.

The list of qualifications also specifies that the pageant is “open to all body sizes, races, spiritualities, and sexualities.”

The current Miss Trans Global is from the Philippines: Mela Franco Habijan, a writer and actress working in the local entertainment industry, and who is herself a vocal and visible advocate for LGBTQ+ rights.


Other stories you may want to read:

Days after two brutal murders, LGBTQ rights groups hold rally for the SOGIE Equality Bill

Commission on Human Rights slams alleged ‘profiling’ of trans woman by Makati cops

Trans woman’s praise for military service opens front in Thai draft debate



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