From Marginalization to Empowerment: Sarosy Neupane’s Fight for Transgender Rights and Recognition

Sarosy Neupane, a trailblazing model and choreographer, was the first transgender woman to secure the first runner-up title in the prestigious national-level beauty pageant, Miss Supranational Nepal 2023. Hailing from a marginalized community with regards to sexual orientation, gender identity, and sexual characteristics in Nepal, Neupane has shattered barriers and is set to compete in the forthcoming Miss Universe Nepal 2023. In an interview with Khasokhas, she discusses her personal struggles, aspirations, and the importance of transgender inclusion in mainstream fields.

Neupane, a passionate advocate for human and animal rights, has made significant contributions to advancing the cause of marginalized communities. She emphasizes that transgender individuals should not only fight for their human rights, health, and mental well-being, but should also strive for representation in mainstream work, politics, and media. Her advocacy extends to animal welfare, as she believes that animals, too, deserve love and care.

When asked about finding time to serve both humans and animals, Neupane explains that her online college classes and flexible work schedule allow her the freedom to volunteer. With physical presence not required for classes or office work, she dedicates her available time to helping those in need, whether within the transgender community or for the welfare of animals.

Sarosy Neupane wore the crown as Miss Diamond Nepal 2021.

Reflecting on her own journey, Neupane shares the challenges she faced in coming to terms with her identity. From an early age, societal expectations burdened her with predefined roles and responsibilities that didn’t align with her true self. The lack of awareness and understanding within her family compounded her struggles. Neupane recollects poignant moments during her adolescence when she would cry alone in a room while her peers played outside. The question of “Who am I? Why do I feel different?” plagued her, and the sense of loneliness and sadness became overwhelming. Neupane believes that many individuals from sexual and gender minority communities have experienced similar difficulties, feeling different from their peers without the support and understanding they desperately need.

In the realm of modeling and choreography, Neupane acknowledges that excelling as a transgender person comes with its share of challenges. She emphasizes that nothing in life is easy without courage and hard work. Her journey began in 2018, inspired by a transgender woman representing her country in a beauty pageant. Neupane participated in regional beauty contests and achieved her first victory in 2021, which fueled her confidence. Her groundbreaking achievement as the first transgender woman to secure the first runner-up title in Miss Supranational Nepal 2023 marked a significant milestone. While Neupane aspires to continue her modeling career, her ultimate passion lies in becoming a choreographer and teaching others internationally.

Neupane addresses the misconceptions surrounding menstruation within transgender communities, highlighting that it is a natural phenomenon and a vital process for human existence. She emphasizes that gender and sexuality are distinct from biological identity, and individuals should be allowed to identify themselves as they feel comfortable. Neupane brings attention to the fact that transgender men can still menstruate, as their biological sex may not align with their gender identity. Conversely, transgender women may not experience menstruation, even though they identify as women. By advocating for understanding and acceptance, Neupane aims to dispel the ignorance and discrimination surrounding menstruation.

Sarosy Neupane on stage during Miss Supranational Nepal 2023, where she secured the first runner-up position.

Regarding the issue of touch during menstruation, Neupane firmly asserts that discrimination based on a natural bodily process is unjust. She stresses that menstruation is a fundamental aspect of human life and should not be a subject of discrimination or untouchability. Neupane emphasizes the importance of education, awareness, and policy changes to address this issue. She commends the various organizations working towards breaking the taboos surrounding menstruation and believes that transforming societal attitudes begins with changing individual mindsets and practices. Neupane urges society to recognize menstruation as a natural process and to abandon discriminatory practices.

When asked about the duration of her fight to change societal thinking, Neupane acknowledges that the battle for social change is an ongoing endeavor. She highlights that the struggle for gender equality and inclusion has evolved from fighting for women’s rights to advocating for various gender and sexual minority communities. Neupane believes that the key lies in embracing change, adapting to the needs of the current society, and promoting acceptance. While acknowledging that progress has been made, she stresses the importance of continually challenging and evolving societal norms to create a more inclusive and equitable future.

Sarosy Neupane’s remarkable journey and her dedication to advocating for the rights of marginalized communities serve as an inspiration to many. As the first transgender woman to achieve such a significant milestone in a national beauty pageant, she continues to break barriers and pave the way for greater transgender visibility and acceptance in Nepal.

As she prepares to participate in the upcoming Miss Universe Nepal 2023, Sarosy Neupane is determined to make a lasting impact in the field of modeling and choreography. With aspirations to teach and choreograph models on an international stage, Neupane aims to use her platform to drive change, promote inclusivity, and empower others to embrace their true selves.