With Talleen Abu Hanna, a 21 yr-old Catholic Arab from Nazareth winning the Jewish State’s first ‘Miss Trans Israel’ transgender beauty pageant, she will now go to Spain where she’ll represent Israel at the ‘Miss Trans Star International’ pageant in August.
By News Agencies & Israel Hayom Staff
An Israeli from a Catholic Arab family has been crowned the winner of the country’s first transgender pageant.
Talleen Abu Hanna, 21, from the northern city of Nazareth wore a white bridal dress as she was declared the first “Miss Trans Israel” on Friday at Habima, Israel’s national theater, in Tel Aviv.
Abu Hanna described her victory as “historic” and said it promotes equality. She will represent Israel at the Miss Trans Star International pageant in Spain in August.
Israel is generally tolerant of gay people, and Tel Aviv has emerged as one of the world’s most gay-friendly destinations. The Israeli city stands in sharp contrast to many parts of the Middle East, where gay people are often persecuted. But homosexuality is commonly shunned in religiously observant Jewish and Muslim communities.
“Our country deserves to come out on top,” Abu Hanna told journalists. “Our country allowed me, a Christian Arab from Nazareth, to end the war between my soul and my body. So if it made peace for me, our country is only a country of peace.”
Pageant judge Efrat Tilma said, “Israeli people like transgenders but they don’t have enough information about transgenders. Among us there are judges, there are doctors, there are lawyers, there are people who are working in high-tech positions and, as well, people who would like to go to the Israeli parliament and to represent us in our parliament.”
Carolin Khoury, a Muslim contestant, said she hoped the pageant would “send a message to the Arab communities in Israel or abroad, to accept the other.”
Khoury described overcoming sometimes violent opposition to her gender choice from her family.
“The Israeli police helped me to move out of my home, and despite all of the bad situations, I came through, I kept moving toward my dream, and here I am now,” she told Reuters. “This competition will open the door for some people.”
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