Kataluna Enriquez becomes first transgender woman to compete in Miss USA pageant
- Kataluna Enriquez won the Miss Nevada pageant last week, in an aptly rainbow coloured gown, becoming the first transgender woman to be able to compete in the formerly Donald Trump owned Miss USA.
It was the perfect end to Pride Month when Kataluna Enriquez became the first openly transgender woman to compete in the Miss USA pageant this year after the 27-year-old was crowned Miss Nevada last Sunday in Las Vegas. Kataluna bowed down to the LGBTQ+ community as she celebrated her ground breaking win, writing on Instagram, "My community, you are always in my heart. My win is our win. We just made history."
The Filipino American began competing in transgender beauty pageants in 2016, and only entered cisgender competitions since last year. Taking to her Instagram feed, Kataluna shared her victory, wearing an aptly rainbow coloured sequinned gown which she had designed herself, sharing in the caption, "I didn’t realize we won on the 52nd anniversary of stonewall. I wouldn’t be able to stand without the voices of those who fought for my rights and against police brutality. Thankful to end pride month with you all." Referring to the Stonewall Riots that happened between police and gay activists in New York on June 28, 1969.
Kataluna designed and sewed all the ensembles she wore throughout the pageant. Kataluna posted pictures of herself in her stunning winning ensemble to her Instagram sharing that it not only honoured Pride Month but also "all of those who don't get a chance to spread their colours".
In an interview with the Las Vegas Review Journal, Kataluna shared, "I told the judges that as a transgender woman of color and a survivor of physical and sexual abuse, I am everything that is underrepresented in this country. Our voices matter. Those whose voices aren't always heard deserve the chance to be heard."
The winner of Miss USA (formerly owned by Donald Trump) goes on to partiipate in the Miss Universe pageant. It was only in 2012 that the Miss Universe pageant changed its ruled to allow transgender beauty queens to enter. Previously a rule only allowed "naturally born" women to compete. If Kataluna qualifies for Miss Universe, she will be second transgender competitor in the global pageant after Spain's Angela Ponce in 2018.
Anthony Allen Ramos, head of talent for GLAAD a national organization that advocates for LGBTQ acceptance released a statement on Tuesday praising her. He said,“Kataluna Enriquez being crowned Miss Nevada is a huge win for trans visibility and sends a powerful, but simple message to the world: trans women are women. Enriquez’s presence on the Miss USA stage later this year will not only help to accelerate acceptance of the trans community, but also inspire so many other trans women who feel like they have not seen themselves represented in that space before.”
Geena Rocero, a transgender model, producer and advocate, shared her pride at Kataluna's win sharing in a statement, “I’m so proud of Kataluna’s trailblazing win, especially as a fellow trans Filipina sister. This win will open doors for all pageant systems to continuously advocate for the inclusion of trans women in all pageants, not just in America, but all over the world.”