Israeli Pageant for Transgender Women Signals Desire for Normalcy

The first Israeli pageant for transgender women will be held in Tel Aviv this Friday, organizers are looking for natural femininity.


The 12 women posing for their photos in Eitan Tal’s Tel Aviv studio have quite diverse looks. Some have soft facial features while others show signs of the cosmetic and surgical interventions they have gone through. Yet not one of them looks like they have made an exaggerated effort to emphasize their feminine appearance.

Natural femininity is what the organizers of the Miss Trans Israel 2016 beauty pageant are looking for. The first contest of its kind in Israel, it will be held on May 27 at the Meskin Auditorium at the Habima Theater in Tel Aviv. For Stephanie Israela Lev, the moving spirit behind the pageant, the focus is on normalcy.

There are several beauty contests for transgender women around the world – Miss Trans Star is an international contest held in Barcelona, Miss Trans Europe is held in Naples, Italy, and Miss International Queen, the oldest one, has been held in Thailand since 2004.

The inspiration for holding a beauty contest for transgender women came to Lev from the Miss Universe contest. It happened after the official rules for that well-established pageant changed, allowing women who were not biologically born as such to participate. This happened after the media uproar that accompanied the removal in 2012 of the Canadian contender Jenna Talackova, after she was found to be transgender.

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