A UNIVERSITY student has been crowned the first ever Miss Transgender Brighton.

Natasha Scott, 44, from Hastings battled it out against eight others on Tuesday night at the Old Ship Hotel, King's Road, to reach the final of Miss Transgender UK.

Ms Scott, born in Shoreham, started her transition to become a woman three years ago and she is now studying Applied Social Science at the University of Brighton.

Through her participation in the competition she hopes to help others facing transphobia in society.

She said: “I’ve drifted through life and I was living society’s expectations. For the first time in my life I’m not trying to hide who I am.”

Rachael Bailey, 34, from Cardiff, founded the competition to empower transgender women, raise awareness and raise money for LGBT charities.

Ms Bailey said: “This isn’t just a beauty pageant, this is about who we are, about our struggle. We want to share the pains of being a transgender woman and the difficulties we face every day.”

Pauline Brown, of Shoreham, was in the audience supporting her daughter Ms Scott on the evening. She said she is happy that her daughter is no longer isolated and is part of a community.

Ms Brown said: “She’ll always be my child, my love is unconditional. She’ll always be the most beautiful in my eyes and I’m very proud.”

Contestants competed in three rounds. Casual catwalk, questions and talent and a gala catwalk to reach the final being held in London on Sunday, September 27.

Ms Scott will represent Brighton at the final for the grand prize of £5,000 and thousands of pounds worth of surgery.

An overwhelmed Ms Scott said: "The big winner of the night is the community. That’s what matters most.”

People travelled from all over the UK to come to Brighton to take part and support the event.

One of the judges, Lorraine Bryan, from Blackpool, said: “Brighton is a great place to hold a competition like this because of its large community of gay and transgender people.”

Blueprint 22, a Brighton and Bognor based charity is one of the many organisations benefitting from Miss Transgender UK, with 60 per cent of profits going to help LGBT communities.

Tickets for the final are £10 and available on the door at Egg London, York Way. Visit misstransgenderuk.com for more information.