JOHANNESBURG, Aug 2 (Reuters) – The primary transgender contestant in South Africa’s nationwide magnificence pageant, 24-year-old Lehlogonolo Machaba hopes she’s going to encourage better acceptance of the LGBTQI group.
Machaba, a vogue mannequin, is competing for the Miss South Africa title, which opened to transgender contestants in 2019.
“Being the primary is a bit overwhelming and I am additionally anxious that individuals do know now that I am a trans lady,” Machaba stated.
South Africa is the one African nation the place same-sex marriage is authorized and which enshrines LGBTQI rights in its structure. Individuals can change their id within the nationwide beginning register.
Nevertheless, violence in opposition to lesbian, homosexual, bisexual, trans, queer and intersex folks in South Africa has escalated, with greater than 10 folks killed in assaults this yr, and social stigma and discrimination stays robust.
Machaba stated she anticipated to be stigmatised for placing a highlight on points transgender folks face, however that the killing of an in depth good friend in a hate crime had given her power to struggle.
“I am right here to struggle for my group, not essentially in a bodily method, however via phrases,” she stated.
“It might imply lots for me as a trans lady to win Miss South Africa but additionally I consider it will imply lots for the queer group in South Africa. It might present that South Africa is breaking boundaries,” she stated.
Writing by Nqobile Dludla; Modifying by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo