A model has become the first openly trans woman to enter the Miss South Africa beauty pageant.
Lehlogonolo Machaba, from Letlhabile, is one of 30 contestants who will be competing for the title, alongside an attorney, two doctors, an environmental specialist, a commercial pilot and several graduates.
In an interview with Times Live, the 24-year-old said she wants to prove the ‘world is changing for good’.
She explained: “Everything I do as a dark-skinned transgender woman is a statement.
“My mere existence in society is threatening, and there’s a lot of closet transgender women who are afraid to come out in fear of receiving hate and even worse, being killed.
“By doing this, I am helping all those women to know that there’s still hope and the world is changing for good, slowly but surely.”
Since 2019, the Miss South Africa competition has allowed transgender women to compete, but it isn’t required that contestants disclose their status.
During a chat with News24, Machaba said: “Transgender women are almost always ostracised from such opportunities, which is why I never thought I’d see anyone like myself on such a platform.
“I believe that being chosen would raise hope in a lot of little girls like myself.”
As well as taking part in the pageant, Machaba spends her time volunteering at a local LGBT+ centre, Access Chapter Two. She helps people with their applications when it comes to universities and jobs.
Like Machaba, Kataluna Enriquez was also the first openly trans woman to compete for the title of Miss Nevada in the Miss USA pageant.
On June 27, the 27-year-old managed to snatch the title while wearing a shimmering rainbow dress to celebrate Pride Month.
Celebrating the history-making win, Enriquez took to Instagram and penned: “My community, you are always in my heart.
“My win is our win. We just made history. Happy Pride.”
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