Miss Koovagam - transgender beauty pageant

I had the opportunity to attend Miss Koovagam, a transgender beauty pageant held every year in May as a part of the Koovagam festivities. As I settled myself comfortably on one of the seats, I faced a moderate sized stage. Unlike other beauty pageants where the judges sit in a panel facing the stage, the judges of the Koovagam beauty pageants were sitting in neatly arranged chairs on the stage. The stage background comprised a huge billboard which had lines written on it in a language unknown to me (presumably, it was in Tamil). Soon, dusky young (and not so young) transgender ladies dressed in an assortment of clothing—both eastern and western—strutted on stage with confidence and panache. Each contestant received roaring applause from the spectators and encouragement in the form of smiles from the judges. ‘Miss Koovagam’ was crowned at the end of the pageant and the two runners up were honored with sashes and bouquets. The event concluded amidst a lot of cheer, bonhomie and PDA, with judges and winners exchanging congenial hugs and bold lip-to-lip kisses.

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