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Kataluna Enriquez is the First Trans Miss USA Contestant

Kataluna Enriquez attends the 2nd Annual TransNation Festival Closing Gala
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Kataluna Enriquez is making history. The pageant winner, 27, is the first openly transgender competitor to be crowned Miss Nevada USA. This means she will become the first openly trans woman to compete for the crown in the overall Miss USA pageant.

The beauty queen took to Instagram to celebrate her win. “Huge thank you to everyone who supported me from day one,” she wrote. “My community, you are always in my heart. My win is our win. We just made history. Happy pride.”


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A post shared by Kataluna Enriquez (@mskataluna)

Anthony Allen Ramos, head of talent for GLAAD, an organization that advocates for LGBTQ+ people, released a statement on Tuesday supporting Enriquez’s trailblazing win. “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,” he said in a statement.

“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,” he added.

Related: Meet WNBA’s first openly non-binary transgender athlete Layshia Clarendon


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A post shared by Kataluna Enriquez (@missnvusa)

Enriquez has been competing in trans pageants since 2016, and began competing in cis pageants in 2020. Miss USA began accepting trans contestants in 2012 and, if Enriquez wins, she will then go on to compete in the Miss Universe pageant. This would make her the second trans contestant in a Miss Universe pageant ever, after Spain’s Angela Ponce who competed in 2018.

Although beauty pageants can sometimes get a bad rap — some consider them sexist and lacking in body diversity — Enriquez’s win is breaking boundaries and showing the world that trans people deserve to be in traditionally cis spaces. Plus, for those who don’t see themselves represented in mainstream media, having someone like Enriquez to look up to can be empowering.

All eyes will be on Enriquez come November when she takes the stage at Miss USA.


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