Kolkata’s Nitasha Biswas became India’s first Miss Transqueen on Sunday, winning the title at a beauty pageant held in Gurugram. The 26-year-old is currently pursuing a Masters in Business Management.

Sixteen transwomen walked the ramp at Sunday’s event. Manipur’s Loiloi Haorongbam was the first runner-up, and Ragasiya from Tamil Nadu bagged the second runner-up’s position. The oldest contestant at the pageant was in her early 50s.

“I feel very privileged to be where I am today, knowing the struggles and hardship I have gone through,” Biswas told The Indian Express. “I always wanted to empower our system and our community because that is what is needed.”

Biswas pitched for education of transwomen and sought support from the society for the betterment of the transgender community. “Many transgender women are going through a lot of molestation, pain, lack of family support,” she said. “They are getting into sex work.”

She will now represent India at the Miss International TransQueen in Thailand in March 2018.

Miss Transsexual International Australia 2017, Laetitia Phylliscia Raveena, was also present at the event. The jury comprised Mr Gay World India 2014 Sushant Divgikar, transgender social activist Gaur Sawant, grooming expert Avleen Khokhar and fashion stylist Shaine Sonia, among others.