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Transgender woman wins Miss Nevada USA


By Maria Palma

The crown for Miss Nevada USA on June 27 was awarded to Kataluna Enriquez, the first transgender woman ever to win the state’s competition. 

The 27-year-old Filipino-American, who is also a fashion designer and model, beat out 21 other pageant contestants and will compete for the title of Miss USA in November. She’ll be the first openly transgender woman to compete in that pageant as well.

“One thing that is important for me is inclusivity, diversity and representation,” Enriquez told the Las Vegas-Review Journal. “It’s something I did not have growing up and is still lacking in today’s world.”

“Today I am a proud transgender woman of color. Personally, I’ve learned that my differences do not make me less than, it makes me more than,” she expressed.

If crowned Miss USA, Enriquez will be the second transgender woman to participate in a Miss Universe pageant, after Spain’s Angela Ponce in 2018. The pageant system that includes Miss USA and Miss Universe opened entry to transgender competitors in 2012.

“Huge thank you to everyone who supported me from day one. My community, you are always in my heart. My win is our win. We just made history. Happy Pride,” wrote Enriquez on her Instagram account

Making history

Enriquez’s history-making win came just days before the end of Pride Month. 

“This is a seminal moment in Nevada in the acceptance and the recognition that trans women are indeed women and should be granted the equal opportunity, as with any other woman, to be able to participate, and even with the possibility of winning in these contests,” said Reno-based transgender activist and president of Transgender Allies Group, Brooke Maylath. 

Despite progress to protect the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community in Nevada and the country, Maylath said that “we are still lacking true equality. There are many trans women that are doubly impacted by marginalization, racial oppression, misogyny and transphobia.”

For Maylath, this is not just about winning a crown, but also a message of acceptance and inspiration for future generations.

What existed between one’s legs at birth does not define a life and the potential for success,” she said.“When we’re looking at our children, we want them to thrive, no matter who they are, no matter what the issues are that they may have to face, we want them to thrive and be the best person they can be.” 


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