Kataluna Enriquez, who was crowned Miss Nevada USA on Sunday, will become the first openly transgender woman to enter the Miss USA pageant.
With a platform focused on transgender awareness and mental health, Enriquez, 27, beat 21 other contestants at the South Point Hotel Casino in Las Vegas.
“I haven’t had the easiest trip in life,” she said, according to KVVU-TV. “I have fought against physical and sexual abuse. I have had mental health issues. I haven’t grown much. I had no support. But I’m still able to thrive, and I’m still able to survive and be a trailblazer for many.
After his victory, Enriquez thanked the LGBTQ community on Instagram, writing: “My victory is our victory. We just made history. Good pride.
The Miss Nevada USA organization congratulated Enriquez for his historic victory on social media and shared the hashtag #bevisible.
In March, Enriquez, who had previously entered trans-specific contests, became the first transgender woman to be crowned Miss Silver State USA, the main preliminary for Miss Nevada USA.
During the question-and-answer segment of the contest, Enriquez said that being true to herself is a hurdle she faces on a daily basis.
“Today, I am a proud transgender woman of color. Personally, I have learned that my differences don’t make me less than, it makes me more than, ”she said. Las Vegas Review reported. “I know my uniqueness will take me to all of my destinations and all that I have to go through in life.”
Enriquez, who is Filipino American, designs her own outfits, including a rainbow sequin dress she wore Sunday night in honor of “Pride Month” and anyone unlucky to ‘flaunt their colors, “she posted. on Instagram.
“The pageantry is so expensive, and I wanted to compete and be able to grow and develop skills and create dresses for myself and for others,” Enriquez said, according to the Journal.
She will represent Nevada at the 2021 Miss USA Pageant, which will be held on November 29 at the Paradise Cove Theater at the River Spirit Casino Resort in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The Miss Universe pageant system, of which Los Angeles-based Miss USA is a part, began allowing transgender participants in 2012. If she is crowned Miss USA, Enriquez will be the second trans contestant in a Miss Universe pageant, after the Spanish Angela Ponce in 2018..
Miss America, a separate organization headquartered in New Jersey, did not immediately respond to a survey on whether transgender women or non-binary people are allowed to enter its annual competition. In 2018, the competition was only open to “women born naturally”, according to the lawyer.
In February, a federal judge defended the right another organization, Nevada-based Miss United States of America, to ban transgender applicants from its pageant.