By Hannah Stevens @Hannahshewans
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Videographer / director: Jonathan Pow
Producer: Hannah Stevens, Ellie Winstanley
Editor: Jack Stevens
The pageant, now in its second year, was held at a glitzy ceremony at the Marriott hotel in Leeds on August 6, with participants competing in two main categories - Miss Transsexual UK and Miss T-Girl UK.
The contest was split into three rounds - the casual walk and questions round, the talent section and the evening wear walk - and competitors were asked about their journey as a transgender person and the reactions to their transition.
Rachael Bailey, who founded the pageant, wanted to use the competition to give transgender women the voice that society so frequently denies them.
She said: “I didn’t want to put the girls up on stage, with it being such a delicate situation, with them putting bikinis on or making it a sexualised pageant, what I wanted to do was create a spokesperson for people who don’t, at the moment, have a voice.
“What we’ve done is create a pageant for everyone to come together of all ages, of all sizes, of all genders to be able to come and compete.''
Bailey set up the competition to celebrate her own journey and the uniqueness and individual beauty of every transgender person.
Rachael added: “I’d been alone for such a long time, in my own mind, from my family, from my friends.
“I’d lived as a woman most of my life, but I’d never admitted that there were deeper problems within myself.
“This was me celebrating the fact that you know what it’s ok to be and it’s alright to be the way I am and I’m happy with myself.”
The crowned winner was Suzumiya Puspadewi Gharali (Miya), who won a promotional contract with premier gender reassignment clinic, Olmec in Delhi, India.
While promoting the clinic’s services, Miya can elect to have gender reassignment surgery or other feminisation procedures with Dr Narendra Kaushik.
Co-founder Sue Pascoe got involved with Miss Transgender UK when she returned from having her gender reassignment surgery in India with Dr Kaushik.
Pascoe said: “We all have a journey in our life to find self and it takes every ounce of courage that a transgender person has to come out as we have. I celebrate that and I applaud it.
“I think society needs to see what brave people we are and actually allow us, as everybody else has the right, to just express ourselves.''
Contestants come from an array of backgrounds and Sue stresses that the competition is not about who makes the best beauty queen.
Instead Miss Transgender UK looks for the individual who can be the strongest ambassador for the transgender community.
Judges picked their winner based on her openness, honesty, the impact of her story and their general presentation.
Lucky winner Miya, who grew up in a conservative muslim family in Malaysia, was ecstatic to win but is taking some time to consider her prize.
She said: “I feel very, very happy, I feel elated. I feel very proud. It’s been a long journey for me, like 28 years I’ve been almost trapped, not being myself.
“I’ve very excited for the feminisation surgery, absolutely, I’ve been dreaming of having boob jobs and body sculpting.
“For the total sex reassignment surgery I think I would want to have more time to think about it, because it’s going to be very life-changing.
“I’m a doctor, I know it could be very difficult, there could be complications so it’s going to be a big thing for me to think about.''
If Miya decides not to undergo gender reassignment surgery, she can choose to consult with Dr Kaushik on other feminisation surgery, including body sculpting.
She continued: “My family is a very conservative Muslim family and by winning this I hope it will actually open their hearts to accept me for who I am, but principally being Muslim they can’t really accept me.
“I have to live that for my whole life and I totally accept it. The moment I chose to come to the UK and become a woman, I knew that I had to accept whatever happens.”
In an inspirational speech at the ceremony, contestant Natasha Scott identified the heart of what the pageant is all about.
She said: “This competition isn't about any one person winning but finding someone who can represent our community, because gaining acceptance and finding understanding within society is what is going to see our whole community win.
“It's not who we are or how we look that matters but it's what we do in life.
“Let’s use this message to find unity within our community and maybe our message can help heal the fractured society we live in today.”