Meet South Africa’s Miss Trans Diva

S.H.E Director Lee Anne (left) with  Miss Trans Diva , Cowan Tracey Lee Douglas 

photo credit: Nangamso Bethunana


When i  told my parents about my decision  to transition they immediately disowned  me. I was  kicked  out and we never spoke for 3 years. Fortunately i  moved in  with my grandmother, besides her support and  my friends’, everyone else abandoned me especially relatives. This was the most  difficult period  of my life, but it did not break me, life had to go on  and so in March 2016, I began my medical  transition.

It took  this pain for my family to realise that i was not going to change. I underwent surgery without  my family’s support  when they heard about this, they felt so bad about it , they cried and asked for my forgiveness and that is how  we reconciled.

My name is Cowan Tracey lee Douglas(21), i  hail from East London, South Africa.  I am a transwoman and i  work for the Eastern Cape Department of  Health.  I was recently crowned  Miss Trans Diva at a beauty pageant  celebrating transwomen. For me the pageant is much more than  just  a place to flaunt our beauty, it is about celebrating ourselves and promoting our  autonomy  and rights as  human beings. The world needs to know that  Trans* people are human and should be treated  equally. Our ideals in life are to be happy and  live with dignity and respect.

I am  an Ambassador for  a trans organisation in  Eastern Cape called  SHE (Social Health Empowerment) S.H.E , better known as Impilo Yethu is a feminist collective of Transgender African women based  in the Eastern Cape. S.H.E has three programs: The Impilo Yethu Health and HIV services for the LGBTIQ community. The feminist program and their Cultural program.

My goal as an activist is to contribute to the empowerment of transgender women to alleviate poverty in our communities. I want to be a role model who  restores faith and hope in others. To give back  to the trans community  i voluntarily participate  in  outreach events, network and support other trans* people. Through unity I find the strength to inspire others and to fight against abuse towards Transgender women. I also facilitate workshops  aimed at educating  communities  about trans issues. I am religious and can only thank God for providing me with the opportunity to do what i  love.

Although i  recently suffered a transphobic attack in which i  sustained  injuries and lost valuable personal belongings,  i am thankful that i am  still alive.



Trans is beautiful..

Interview:  Eva Wilhelmina