Israel holds auditions for its first transgender beauty pageant

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Israel has emerged as one of the most progressive Middle Eastern countries concerning LGBT rights, letting openly gay people serve in the military and recognizing gay marriages from other countries.

Thirty contestants strutted their stuff on Thursday to get the chance to compete in Israel's first Miss Trans pageant taking place in May.

Talleen Abu Hanna, 21, told the Associated Press she auditioned for the pageant because she wanted to do something with her life.

"I have this something, I am a dancer, and I am a singer, I play the trumpet. I have something to give the people," Abu Hanna said.

Although Israel and other Middle Eastern countries still have a long way to go to catch up to other countries, the inaugural show increases trans visibility and gives trans women new opportunities in an otherwise restrictive region.

Here's How To Advance LGBT Rights Worldwide

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