Miss Universe pageant will have two trans women contestants this year | Fashion Trends - Hindustan Times
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Miss Universe pageant will have two trans women contestants this year for the first time in history

Oct 16, 2023 07:53 AM IST

Miss Universe competition will see two transgender women - Miss Portugal Marina Machete and Miss Netherlands Rikkie Koll - compete for first time in history.

The Miss Universe competition this year will feature at least two transgender contestants for the first time in history. The news comes after 23-year-old flight attendant Marina Machete won the Miss Portugal crown last week ahead of the 72nd Miss Universe competition this November. She is the second transgender person to win their country's Miss Universe competition. Earlier, Rikkie Kolle, a Dutch model, earned the Miss Netherlands title in July. Kollé became the first transgender woman to win the pageant. Scroll through to learn more.

Miss Portugal Marina Machete and Miss Netherlands Rikkie Koll. (Instagram)
Miss Portugal Marina Machete and Miss Netherlands Rikkie Koll. (Instagram)

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Two transgender women to compete in 72nd Miss Universe competition

The 72nd Miss Universe competition will take place in El Salvador this year in November. The event will feature 90 women from around the globe vying for the Miss Universe crown, with the 71st Miss Universe, R'Bonney Gabriel, crowning her successor. If either Marina Machete or Rikkie Kolle win the competition, they will become the first trans woman to wear the Miss Universe crown. Meanwhile, in 2018, Spain's Ángela Ponce became the first trans contestant in the pageant but did not advance to the finals.

Meanwhile, Marina and Rikkie have always used their voice to promote inclusivity in beauty pageants. In a video posted to the Portuguese pageant's YouTube channel ahead of the Miss Portugal competition, Marina Machete said, “As a trans woman, I've been through many obstacles along the way, but fortunately, and especially with my family, love proved to be stronger than ignorance.”

Rikki had also posted a video before her pageant and said, "Miss Universe asked us to describe ourselves in one word. The word I'm choosing is 'victory,' because as a little boy I conquered all the things that came through my path - and look at me now, standing here as a strong, empowering and confident trans woman."

Meanwhile, Thai media tycoon and transgender rights advocate Anne Jakkaphong Jakrajutatip bought the Miss Universe Organisation in 2022. Anne has been outspoken about her experiences as a trans woman. Apart from including trans women in the beauty pageant, the Miss Universe Organisation has allowed married and divorced women, pregnant women and women with children to join. In 2024, organisers will also remove the age limit that currently restricts entry to those 28 and under.

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