US/World News

Israel’s first transgender beauty pageant slated for May          

(JTA) — Israel will be holding its first beauty pageant for transgender women. Nearly 30 transgender Jews and Arabs auditioned last week at a Tel Aviv club for a place in the Miss Trans Israel pageant. “Definitely we are achieving, enlightening the people to accept and empower transsexuals,” Israela Stephanie Lev, the pageant’s organizer, told the AP. Finalists will compete at a pageant in May, and the winner will represent Israel at the Miss Trans Star International pageant to be held in Spain in August. Israel is widely considered the most gay-friendly country in the Middle East, and gays openly serve in its military. However, in the halls of government, gay Israelis have long faced a firewall of religious parties that have blocked pro-LGBT legislation. Gay couples cannot marry, adopt children or have surrogate pregnancies in Israel, though the government does recognize adoptions and gay marriages performed abroad.

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