Israel's first Trans Pageant: Miss Trans Israel 2016

10:27:00 AM

Miss Trans Israel contestants

Tel Aviv was proclaimed as the most gay friendly destination in 2011, in a world-wide survey hosted by and American Airlines, standing in sharp contrast to most of the rest of the Middle East, where gays can face persecution.

Last 12th of May, transgender women strutted the runway at a Tel Aviv club vying for a chance to be a candidate of the first ever "Miss Trans Israel" pageant.

According to the pageant organizer, in the past living as a transgender woman in Israel was terrible but today people learn to accept it.

The applicants of Miss Trans Israel pageants

"Definitely we are achieving, enlightening the people to accept and empower transsexuals," Israela Stephanie Lev the head organizer said.

Among the applicants was Talleen Abu Hanna, a 21-year-old from a Catholic-Arab family in the northern city of Nazareth. "I have this something, I am a dancer, and I am a singer, I play the trumpet. I have something to give the people," she said. She decided to join the pageant because she wants to do something with her life.

Tallinn Abu Hana having her measures for the judges.

Abu Hanna said her family accepts and supports her. "We are normal people. This is normal," she said.

A 20-year-old applicant Elian Nesiel, said she believes that being transgender is "gradually accepted more and more."

"Yes, it's a process, like everything," she said. Israel is generally tolerant toward gays and transgender people. Gays openly serve in Israel's military, as does at least one openly transgender soldier.

Elian Nesiel poses in front of the judges during the screening.

Finalists will compete at a pageant in May, and the winner will represent Israel at the Miss Trans Star International pageant to be held in Spain in August.

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