Metro Weekly

Federal judge rules beauty pageant can bar trans women from competing

A conservative judge determined the beauty pageant was within its rights to bar transgender women from participating

Anita Noelle Green, trans, transgender, beauty, pageant, miss united states of america
Anita Noelle Green — Photo: @anitanoellegreen / Instagram

Anita Noelle Green’s hopes of overturning the Miss United States of America pageant’s ban on transgender contestants have been crushed by a conservative federal judge in Oregon.

Green competed twice in the Miss Montana contest and won the the Miss Elite Earth Oregon crown in 2019. However, after applying to compete in the Miss United States of America pageant — and being encouraged to do so by the organization — she was deemed ineligible due to a policy banning women who are not “natural born women” from competing, them reports.

In response, Green sued the organization, alleging it was “discriminating against me simply because I am transgender.”

While Oregon law prohibits gender identity-based discrimination, Judge Michael W. Mosman of the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon last month ruled in favor of Miss United States of America.

Appointed to the federal bench by President George W. Bush, Mosman found the First Amendment’s protection of free speech to be sufficient basis for Miss United States of America to ban trans contestants. 

In court documents obtained by them, Miss United States of America’s attorneys repeatedly misgendered Green, referring to her as a man.

Attorneys for the organization also alleged that any trans contestant would taint their message of “biological female empowerment” and argued trans contestants should compete in their own pageant.

“My client is not anti-transgender but it just wants to be able to hold a pageant that is only for biological females,” Miss United States of America attorney John T. Kaempf said after the ruling.

“Contrary to what people might think, my client, the pageant, is a supporter of diversity,” he continued. “It believes there can be a Miss Black USA pageant, a Miss Native American pageant or a transgender pageant.”

Mosman ultimately ruled that the pageant is an “expressive” organization and not a commercial entity, and is thus not restricted by the same antidiscrimination laws. His ruling was issued the same day as the passage of the Equality Act by the House of Representatives, a landmark piece of civil rights legislation which would ban anti-LGBTQ discrimination nationwide.

Greene told The Oregonian that she is proud of her lawsuit, despite the outcome, noting it highlighted that “discrimination against transgender people is still actively happening in the private and public sector even within the pageant circuit.”

“Transgender women are women,” she added. “My message has always been consistent and my message is this: Every person has beauty.”

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