1st Manipuri transgender to exhibit INDIA in Miss International Queen contest , She is a well known celebrity and a household name in Manipur, with her beauty she is accomplished and She is also a transgender
What is it that a strong willpower cannot endure? Bishesh Huirem, the first ever Indian transgender to take part in an international beauty pageant asks all the transgenders in Assam to have each other’s backs and come out without fear to ensure equal rights.
The 27-year-old trans-model is all set to represent India at the Miss International Queen contest to be held on November 11 in Pattaya, Thailand this year.
Bishesh, who will leave for Chonburi, Thailand on October 27th, said, “Unity gives strength. Some parts of Northeast have conservative societies but inspite of that, the transgender community should hold hands together and the collective force will help a lot in securing equal rights for them.”
She added, “I have faced a lot of discrimination, but I never let my willpower falter for a moment. I broke all fears and came out openly to live as a equal member. My struggle has shown results. I hope all transgenders find the courage to keep fighting.”
Bishesh hails from Manipur had is a well-known mobile theatre artist and an actor in the State. She has a degree in Fashion and Apparel Design.
The trans-model will be pitted against 30 contestants from 155 countries all over the world. She said, “Even though I am very interested in acting and modeling, I primarily want to go around sharing my knowledge among my community in Northeast. I would like to give them hope.”
The pageant is hailed as the world’s largest and most coveted transgender beauty pageant. Bishesh said, “I am hitting the gym and on a strict diet regime. I have also revamped my skin care routine. I have been taking a lot of expert opinion on personality development.” She also has a full-fledged bridal beauty salon to her credit.
Meet Bishesh Huirem, 27, who is now all set to take her fame far beyond Manipur and the Manipuri-speaking areas of neighbouring Assam, Bangladesh and Myanmar when she sashays down the ramp at the Miss International Queen beauty contest in Thailand on November 9.
Huirem is one of the 30 shortlisted candidates from among the thousands who applied for the global contest to be held at Chonburi, Thailand.
The beauty pageant is exclusively for transgender women and has been held annually since 2004. It aims to create awareness about transgenders and encourage equal treatment for them.
A graduate in Fashion and Apparel Designing from Bangalore University and one of the highest-paid artistes in Manipuri films and its active mobile theatre fraternity, Bishesh clearly has it in her to make an impression on the judges.
Apart from standout looks and an outgoing personality, she has what the pageant seeks as a required qualification: talent in any chosen field, in her case cinema and mobile theatre, one of the oldest forms of entertainment and more popular than films in Manipur.
Not to speak of the absolute confidence that she has developed coming to terms with her sexuality in a society that was not willing to accept her on her own terms. A sexuality that even tested the patience and understanding of her parents — father Manglem Huirem and mother Khomdonbi.
“Please understand that my son is more of a girl and takes hours to get ready to meet the press. From the very beginning I have been against my son’s personality. But I could not reorient him,” Manglem said as he waited for Bishesh to make an appearance for an interview at their Imphal house recently.
Manglem, who recently retired from a government job, is also well known in Manipur’s film and mobile theatre circles. And he specialises in the role of a “woman comedian” — a fact that he brushes aside as insignificant, saying his role-playing was “merely acting”.
Bishesh’s mother Khomdonbi admitted to caning her effeminate son when he first showed signs of a special attraction for girl’s dresses and girlish mannerisms. But in retrospect, Khomdonbi said that she should have just accepted her son’s sexuality.
Ever since her school days, Bishesh has been a much sought-after artiste in the mobile theatres, her parents recalled. But being a transgender, she had critics galore, who said she would never be able to do films. Bishesh, however, took that as a challenge and eventually ended up dominating the world of Manipuri cinema.
As she finally materialised, wearing Bermuda shorts and a Madras jacket, Bishesh, who also runs a beauty parlour for women, specialising in bridal make-up, said she is looking forward to the pageant — especially as she missed out last year as “her passport was not ready and visa process incomplete”.
Bishesh said she has not been able to find a sponsor, so will have to fund the contest fee, travel and other expenses all by herself. She also spoke about the experience of undergoing hormone therapy, in order to change into a woman, and the personality development courses she has taken with experts.
As a prominent transgender, Bishesh is often caught up in unnecessary controversies, though not of her making. But she has the support of other transgenders in the state who are confident that, come November, she will bring laurels to India — and be crowned by Trixie Maristela, the current Miss International Queen of the Philippines.