This year, the Miss Universe competition will have at least two transgender women competing for the crown. Here’s the whole story.
Crowned Miss Portugal
Marina Machete was recently crowned Miss Portugal, becoming the first transgender contestant to win that title.
Proud Trans Woman
Before she won the Miss Portugal competition, Machete posted on her Instagram account that she was “proud to be the first trans woman to compete for the Miss Universe Portugal title.”
She Wasn’t Previously Eligible
Machete also acknowledged in her post that “for many years,” she “wasn’t eligible” to compete in the Miss Portugal competition.
Machete said it was “an honor” to be among the other “incredible” contestants competing.
After being crowned Miss Portugal, Machete thanked her supporters for the “positive and empowering” messages they sent her.
In a video posted to Instagram, Machete told her followers not to limit their dreams because their “possibilities in life are limitless.”
In response to Machete’s winning, one person wrote on the social media platform X, saying, “Marina Machete’s historic win as the first transgender woman to capture the Miss Portugal title is a powerful testament to progress and inclusivity.”
Second Transgender Woman Competing
The second transgender contestant who will compete for the Miss Universe title in El Salvador is Rikkie Valerie Kollé.
Kollé made history in the Netherlands by becoming the first biological male to win the title of Miss Netherlands.
Shortly after being crowned Miss Netherlands, Kollé posted on Instagram, saying, “Yes, I’m trans, and I want to share my story, but I’m also Rikkie, and that’s what matters to me.”
Enjoying Every Moment
Kollé said she participated in the beauty pageant “on [her] own strength and enjoyed every moment.”
Target of Hate Speech
Kollé received support from some, but she said she also became the “target of hate speech” on social media even though she thought the Netherlands would be more “accepting.”
Ignoring the Hate
Kollé said the hate comments she received “showed the other side of our society.” Rather than focus on the hate, Kollé said she “fully ignores it” and focuses on “the good things coming [her] way.”
90 Women Will Compete
The Miss Universe will take place in El Salvador, where 90 women will compete for the crown.
Not All Pageants Are Accepting
The Miss Universe pageant began allowing trans women to compete in 2012. However, not all pageants allow trans women to enter and compete.
Miss Italy Doesn’t Allow Trans Women to Compete
Earlier this year, the organizer of the Miss Italy pageant said that transgender women wouldn’t be allowed to compete. Over 100 transgender men entered the pageant in response.
Women Can’t Have Their Own Space?
One person commented on X, asking, “Can’t real women have any space to call their own?” A reply to this comment said, “They do. Trans women are women.”
Losing to a Biological Male
Someone else commented on X and said they “felt bad for the other candidates.” This person also said, “Imagine losing to a biological man in a competition designed for women.”
Another comment called the situation “utter insanity.” It claimed that the Miss Universe pageant had turned into a “popularity contest” rather than a “beauty pageant celebrating femininity.”
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Jade ThaiCatwalk. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.