Jakarta wraps up secret beauty pageant for transgenders amid threat from hardliners

Audiences were asked not to share images of the event on social media.

Picture for representation
Picture for representation Reuters

In midst of stern opposition from hardliners, the Miss Transgender Indonesia pageant was secretly completed in Jakarta on 11 November.

Information about the beauty pageant was kept under the wraps fearing strong criticism from conservatives in the Muslim-majority nation. Organisers invited only a few media representatives and the audiences were asked not to share images of the event on social media.

The beauty pageant was held under threat as hardliners had earlier halted festivals focusing on women's' issues and the Christian minority. They have also threatened to close down churches and other minority worship centres.

The programme was organised just a week after several Muslim people protested against the city's Christian governor over alleged profanities he committed. During the protest gangs of jihadists torched police cars and attacked officers. Police retaliated with firing tear gas, water cannon and truncheons into thousands of rioting protesters to bring the situation under control. An elderly man also died possibly from the effects of tear gas.

Critics argue that the unwillingness to curtail the hardliners' dominance by authorities in the fear of being termed anti-Islam have increased intolerance against minority committees, including that of transgender in the country, the AFp said.

However, organisers are relieved after the event ended peacefully. Crowds cheered as Indonesian transgender women walked the ramp showing off their glittering gowns. At the end of the programme Pie Nabh Tappii (28) won the crown after giving tough competition to the other 18 competitors.

"I am happy, but I want to cry as well... I didn't expect this," said Tappii, as reported by the news agency. The winner was also awarded 10 million rupiah (S$1,000) along with a trophy.