India’s ‘third sex’ win a measure of public acceptance – By Rachel Shields

Miss Mumbai has big brown eyes, long lustrous hair, and an unusually strong jaw. Her lips are stained with a dark red lipstick, her gaze frequently drifts to her reflection, captured in a grubby mirror above the cracked sink. Like most beauty queens on the eve of a big competition, she is worrying about her weight, her outfit and that all-important runway walk. Today she will compete for the title of “Super Queen” in India’s first transgender beauty pageant; an event seen by some as a sign that the marginalised “third gender” group – eunuchs, transsexuals and transvestites – is finally being welcomed into mainstream society.