Tag Archives: Audre Lorde

Miss TransGlobal: A Pageant of Beauty and Activism

We support a ceasefire in Gaza

nine transwomen in their pageantry fare: six standing, one kneeling in front, and two half-lying down, facing the center. All kinds of costumes and colors.

Debbie says: 

Sometimes you find a story that just makes you happy. I had never heard of Miss Trans Global until I read Nick Schönfeld and Julia Gunther’s story about Chedino Martin, written for Wisconsin Public Radio.  Chedino Martin won Miss Trans Africa in 2022, and came in 5th in Miss Trans Global last year. Her story, as told by Schönfeld and Gunther, is heartbreaking in places and heartwarming in others, and well worth reading. For me, though, it was a stepping stone into knowing that this pageant exists, and learning something about it.

Although there have been other international trans beauty pageants, Miss Trans Global is likely unique in that it centers activism along with beauty. It was founded by Nigerian trans activist Miss SahHara.

Miss SaHHara in an off-the-shoulder low-cut black dress, shown from the chest up.

The first winner was Mela Habjan, from the Philippines (winning in a virtual pageant in 2020), followed by Sruthy Sithara from India, and in 2022 (again in a digital ceremony), Natasha Cardozo from Brazil. This year’s winner was Miss Thailand, Piano Sarocha Akaros.

No doubt, it’s exciting to see trans women compete in a beauty pageant, but for me, as a lifelong body image activist, it’s even more exciting to see activism paired with pageantry, to see an organization which uses the mechanisms of the mainstream to overturn assumptions.

Unlike more traditional pageants, which are primarily focused on physical appearance and talents, Miss Trans Global blended beauty with activism. Contestants were encouraged to share personal stories of discrimination, violence, societal exclusion and their journeys of self-acceptance.

Miss Trans Global has no age restrictions; and, to make sure there was enough time for the judges to really get to know each contestant, only 10 women competed in the final. Perhaps most unorthodox was Miss saHHara’s wish that each finalist would win something, and to experience being crowned queen.

Wikipedia (link at the top of the post) provides some more context on the activism aspects:

The top 5 winners of Miss Trans Global work as spokespersons on transgender and LGBT issues worldwide. They claim to work closely with activist organisations … to educate cisgender people and inspire transgender people globally. The organisation started an initiative called ‘For Trans Women by Trans Women’, where a group of transgender women from different countries come together to raise awareness about issues that affect their local communities.

The organizers said that Miss Trans Global “is not about a beautiful face and perfect body” but rather “about activism, charity, and intelligence”.

For me, the combination of trans joy, a deeply supported experience, and an activist mission is the trifecta. As Audre Lorde famously said, “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.” Nonetheless, I see Miss SaHHara and her visionary project planting little landmines around the foundations of the pageant industry, and I firmly believe that projects like this one can participate in the dismantling we so desperately need.


Thanks to Mona Eltahawy’s invaluable newsletter, Feminist Giant, which hosts Samiha Hossain’s global roundup of feminist news.

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A Day to Celebrate Women’s Anger


Women say:

Audre Lorde:  “… while we scrutinize the often painful face of each other’s anger, please remember that it is not our anger which makes me caution you to lock your doors at night and not to wander the streets of Hartford alone. It is the hatred which lurks in those streets, that urge to destroy us all if we truly work for change rather than merely indulge in academic rhetoric.

“This hatred and our anger are very different. Hatred is the fury of those who do not share our goals, and its object is death and destruction. Anger is a grief of distortions between peers, and its object is change. But our time is getting shorter. We have been raised to view any difference other than sex as a reason for destruction, and for Black women and white women to face each other’s angers without denial or immobility or silence or guilt is in itself a heretical and generative idea. It implies peers meeting upon a common basis to examine difference, and to alter those distortions which history has created around our difference. For it is those distortions which separate us. And we must ask ourselves: Who profits from all this?”  — Audre Lorde, “The Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism.”

Margaret Cho: “Anger has been a tremendously healing tool for me. Obviously, there’s a lot of language around not being angry and accepting and forgiving your abuser, but — I don’t want to forgive. [Laughs.] I don’t care! I’m not taking the high road. I’m not here to be the better person. That, to me, is another way to excuse rape. Why are you trying to forgive your abuser? You need to forgive yourself … My rage is really keeping me alive, my rage is my art. We’re always told by therapists and clergy and mentors that you need to forgive and heal, and I’m not there, and I don’t plan on going there.” — Washington Post, November 2015

Roxane Gay: “When women are angry, we are wanting too much or complaining or wasting time or focusing on the wrong things or we are petty or shrill or strident or unbalanced or crazy or overly emotional. Race complicates anger. Black women are often characterized as angry simply for existing, as if anger is woven into our breath and our skin … Feminists are regularly characterized as angry. At many events where I am speaking about feminism, young women ask how they can comport themselves so they aren’t perceived as angry while they practice their feminism. They ask this question as if anger is an unreasonable emotion when considering the inequalities, challenges, violence and oppression women the world over face. I want to tell these young women to embrace their anger, sharpen themselves against it.” — New York Times, June 2016

Elizabeth Gilbert: “Anger is OK, actually. Anger, we can work with. At least anger (unlike boredom and fear) has fire in it. At least anger is alive with a kind of passion. The ancients said that there are three different kinds of prayer: You can pray in gratitude, you can pray in beseechment or you can pray in anger. You are allowed, in other words, to vent your rage to God. You are allowed to say, ‘I am furious at you for what you have allowed to occur!’ Do it. Get it off your chest. (God can take it.) But make a commitment that you will not remain in that state of rage for your entire life, or else it will burn a hole right through your soul.” — The Huffington Post, October 2014

Fran Lebowitz: “I’m pretty angry, but the problem with me is that I’m always in an extreme state of rage. I have all this other rage in me from 1950.” — The Huffington Post, October 2012

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