Tel Aviv, Sep 13 (IANS) Arab, Israeli, Christian and transgender: Taalin Abu Hana, who to some may be a Middle Eastern contradiction in terms, travels to Barcelona on Tuesday to take part in the biggest trans beauty pageant in Europe.
On top of this, the Miss Trans Star 2016 contestant, walking effortlessly in her high heels, has the final alterations made to the dress she plans to wear at the pageant, a delicate piece of almost-transparent fabric, embroidered with dozens of Stars of David, Efe news reported.
Identity crisis is not an issue for this 22-year-old Arab Christian from Nazareth who is set to represent Israel in the competition this weekend, having won the national Miss Trans title in May.
“I love living in Israel because it accepts change. It’s a privilege for me,” Abu Hana told Efe hours before her departure for Barcelona.
“I have friends from the Arab world who cannot change, who have to move to other places in order to live the life of a woman. I am fortunate,” she added.
For her, the freedom to be who you want, to dress how you want, to choose your gender and not face discrimination is a bigger preoccupation than the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Few Arab-Israelis would be willing to represent Israel at any level, let alone wear the Star of David — the symbol of Judaism — but Abu Hana said she would do so with pride, for it is the country where she achieved her greatest desire: to be a woman.
For the 2,000 to 2,500 trans women in Israel, Tel Aviv is widely recognised as offering the most LGBT-friendly environment in an otherwise largely conservative nation.
“My Mother” is tattooed in Arabic on her right wrist, representing the only one of Abu Hana’s family members to support her way of life ever since she started showing “a very feminine side” from an early age.
Her father does not accept her gender, and her sisters maintain a distant relationship.
Not discouraged, however, Abu Hana’s fighting spirit won over the judges of the Miss Trans Israel with a heartfelt speech about the beauty of human beings.