A massive congratulations to Lehlogonolo Machaba who has become the very first trans woman to make it to the top 30 in the Miss South Africa beauty pageant.
Beauty pageants are often though of as somewhat archaic or misogynistic but they are still common practise all over the world and competitors still gain plaudits for taking part. It comes with an extra hurdle if you are a trans woman and represents so much more than just a nice dress and a sash.
Lehlogonolo spoke to Times Live about her achievement, saying “I will continue to push for change and acceptance of everyone in the LGBTQI+ community and being the first EVER TransWoman in the competition I can declare that by the grace of God TOP 15 here we come.”
She went on to speak extremely candidly about the dangers she faced on a daily basis and how bringing this attention on to herself may even have dire consequences of its own “My mere existence in society is threatening,” she said, “And there’s a lot of closet transgender women who are afraid to come out in fear of receiving hate and even worse, being killed. By doing this I am helping all those women to know that there’s still hope and the world is changing for good, slowly but surely.”
Despite it ‘just’ being a beauty pageant, Machaba’s bravery speaks of a higher calling to live her truth and stand up and be counted as a proud trans woman of colour.