Pakistan’s first trans woman who was crowned Miss Trans Pakistan in 2021, Shyraa Roy, said her life was changed overnight after getting the crown.
In an interview with Dawn, she revealed that she had been criminalized and harangued by her community for years, and even had the chance to flee the country, but that she stayed because of her ‘inner faith’.
An aspiring musician, she trained under a student of the legendary Mohammad Rafi, and released a song with ARY films in February 2021, shortly after which she was crowned Miss Trans Pakistan in May.
Shyraa told Dawn that prior to becoming Miss Trans Pakistan, she always had to chase after the media to take notice of her. Now, the media is interested in her organically.
She is also more aware of her newfound role as a representative of the trans community in Pakistan, and says she now is more conscious about the scripts and songs she selects.
However, Shyraa lamented over the lack of governmental support there is for the trans community. She says, “There was a time when I was boycotted by my family — I did not even have enough money to drink water. I was homeless and looking for shelter. I went to tonnes of NGOS and so-called trans organisations and they straight away told me ‘Sorry we cannot help you’.”
She is a big advocate of education, and encourages all aspiring transgender models to try and get educated. She says the best thing for the community would be to leave the mafias, unite and get educated. She even approached universities asking them to initiate some sort of scholarship scheme for trans people, but never got any concrete response.
Roy expressed disappointment over the last minute cancellation of her plan to participate in Thailand’s Miss International Queen contest, due to a sponsor dropping out at the last minute. She wishes there was some governmental support for Pakistani pageants.