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This Beautiful Image Of A Transgender Woman Shows Strength And Resilience

"She is a strong, confident woman."

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A striking photograph of a transgender woman has won first prize in the portrait section of one of the world's largest photography festivals.

Molly Harris / Supplied

Taken by Australian photographer Molly Harris, the photograph shows Sandra, a former air force member, preparing to attend Anzac Day commemorations.

Harris told BuzzFeed News that when Sandra began her gender transition, she left behind a 37-year-long career in the air force.

Although Anzac Day is highly significant to Sandra, she worries about her personal safety when attending.

"She chooses not to march but prefers to stand on the sidelines and quietly observe," Harris said.

"She is scared that a day so meaningful to her may be ruined by someone verbally or physically attacking her."

The photograph, titled Becoming Sandra, won the portrait prize at the Head On Photo Festival in Sydney. Head On is the largest photo festival in Australia and the second largest in the world.

Facebook: HeadOnPhotoFest

Harris said she had been eager to do a project featuring transgender people for some time, and found the perfect subject in Sandra.

"Her resilience and strength astounded me," Harris said.

"She is honest, forthcoming, and impressively unapologetic about living her life exactly as she wants to live it, and rightfully so I might add. Why should she succumb to the pressure that society puts on her?"

"She is a strong confident woman and I wanted to capture these qualities in my images."

Harris hopes the success of her photograph will raise awareness of transgender issues and challenge existing prejudices.

"The image of a transgender person winning first prize can only help further educate the public about what is and what it means to be transgender," she said.

"I want to use my photography as a platform to give those who have no voice an opportunity to tell their story, to personally experience and understand the things I know nothing about and to give my viewers the opportunity to gain insight into a world not many would get the chance to see."

Winners in other sections included Alfonso Perez in the landscape category, Dan Gray for moving image, Laki Sideris for mobile and Paul Philpott for the student prize.