Dipanjali Chhetri, who is the first trans woman participant at the LIVA Miss Diva 2021, on Tuesday said her inclusion in the Top 50 of the beauty pageant has opened doors for more women from her community to achieve their dreams. The 24-year-old hails from Jaldhaka village in Kalimpong district, West Bengal and said she is "proud" to be a part of the competition.
"It's not just a stage for me to showcase my beauty and talent, but this opening has enabled me an opportunity to prove who I really am - A woman. It's a great moment of pride for all those trans women who aspire to be beauty queens, models and showcase their true selves.
"It was possible only because of this historic decision of inclusivity by Miss Diva, counting trans women like any other women. So now that the door is open, I wish many more women from my community will participate without hesitation each year," said Dipanjali, who was earlier called Sarwan Chhetri, in a statement.
Raised by her parents alongside five sisters, Dipanjali had a difficult time coming out to her family, who later accepted her post-surgery.
"I would like to thank everyone who supported me and loved me the way I am -- also thanking those who failed to accept me and thus inspired me to work hard and recognize my dreams. I believe in caring and supporting each other no matter what. So, love everyone, and expect the same in return."
Dipanjali said she wants to give her best performance and make the country proud.
"The pageant accepting me for who I am is the best gift I could ask for... As society keeps giving me a new name every single day, I want to make sure that they remember my name - Dipanjali Chhetri, even after my participation at LIVA Miss Diva 2021," she added.
The ninth edition of Miss Diva 2021 will have its finale on September 30.