India's first trans beauty pageant winner's journey from hunger and abandonment to a symbol of empowerment

Nitasha Biswas
  • Nitasha Biswas, who won the first-ever transgender beauty pageant in India, shares her story with Business Insider India.
  • Biswas was born as a boy but later realised she was a woman trapped inside a man's body.
  • When she took the bold step to come out to her father, he did not support her.
In a couple of days from now, India will celebrate a year of aboloshing the draconian Section 377 which criminalized homosexuality.

The LGBTQIA+ community (an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, queer, intersex and asexual) are expected to march down in many rallies across India on September 6.

Amongst such is Nitasha Biswas, who won the first-ever transgender beauty pageant in India. She shares her story with Business Insider India.

From stylist to make artist to a model and a TV star


Parmesh Shahani, author and LGBT rights activitis and Nitasha Biswas the first transgender beauty queen of India along with students of ISB walking for support to LGBT inside the ISB on 30th June 2018.

Nitasha Biswas, who hails from Kolkata, was born as a boy. "As a child, I used to feel that I am a woman trapped in a man's body. I used to hang out with girls. I loved wearing my mother's makeup and sarees," Nitasha told Business Insider India.

However, when I took the bold step to come out to my father, he intially didn't support me and all my relatives abandoned me. I was so passionate about my dreams that I left my home and pursued a modeling course," she added.

Nitasha had to go under a rigorous Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) to convert her body to that of a female. "During my therapy, I was all alone. The worst part was that I didn't have my family with me. All my friends left me," she said.

Before becoming a professional model, she also worked as a stylist and a makeup artist.

Moving to India's first transgender beauty pageant

Kolkata’s Nitasha Biswas, who was crowned Miss TransQueen India 2017, with Manipur’s Loiloi, first runner-up (left); and Chennai’s Ragasya, second runner-up at pan-India transgender pageant – Miss TransQueen India 2017 – was organised in Gurgaon.

India recently introduced the first transgender beauty pageant in 2017, which Nitasha won.

"The journey wasn't easy; however, I always followed my dreams."

The 26-year-old Biswas says she has been the victim to social discrimination and harassment throughout her life. Her father and her relatives completely abandoned her. As a result, she had to live without food and money for days.

However, the society and law is coming close to inclusivity. In 2014, The Supreme Court of India passed a historical judgment of adding a third gender saying, "It is the right of every human being to choose their gender,"

India is a fantastic country, said Nitasha, who has traveled to Thailand and Australia to represent India with pride in Miss International Queen and Miss Trans Australia 2019. However, she believes a lot is to be done to make society more inclusive.

"I believe the government should provide more security to the transgender community in India. We bear the maximum suffering from all sort of insecurity is it social discrimination or gender pay gap."

Nitasha is still struggling for equality along with social and financial rights. "The pay is still not accurate. The industry didn't pay me much. The companies need to understand that we also need to earn a living." she said.

The mention of transgender in the history of India can be dated back to the time before Jesus Christ. Some of the Hindu mythology also refers to them as a demigod.

However, today, two million transgenders living in India are living in poverty. Just like Nitasha, most of them are hoping to get a recognition in society by the change in government policies.

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