- The Magazine
The Miss USA pageant will welcome its first openly transgender contestant after Kataluna Enriquez won Miss USA Nevada last week.
Enriquez also became the first transgender woman to win the Miss Nevada USA title, after previously winning Miss Silver State USA in March, ABC affiliate KABC reports.
The 27-year-old celebrated her momentous victory on Instagram, writing, “My community, you are always in my heart. My win is our win. We just made history. Happy Pride.”
Speaking to KABC, Enriquez, who is Filipina American, said she is, “the first trans woman and trans woman of color and it’s time that our voices are heard.”
“It’s amazing because it’s Pride month and it’s the 52nd anniversary of Stonewall so it’s a special moment for my community,” she added.
That her win came during Pride Month was a “huge honor” for Enriquez, the model told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
“I wasn’t nervous,” she said. “I knew that I had worked really hard and I had my one shot at making history.”
She added: “It wasn’t even in my head that the day I won was the anniversary of Stonewall. I felt like everything lined up. I’m thankful. We won. We made history.”
Enriquez noted that she had a difficult childhood, and is a survivor of physical and sexual abuse.
“When I was young, I said that one day I hope to see someone like me on stage at Miss USA, and it just happened to be, I was the person I needed,” she said. “That’s something I felt growing up and that’s the last thing that I would want anyone to feel, so if I could have and give that to someone, I think it’s an amazing time of my life.”
Enriquez will compete for the Miss USA title on Nov. 29, making her the first openly transgender woman to compete in the annual competition in its 69-year history.
Miss USA has allowed openly trans competitors since 2012, when parent organization Miss Universe dropped its longstanding ban.
In 2018, Angela Ponce became the first openly transgender woman to compete in the Miss Universe pageant, after becoming the first trans winner of Miss Spain.
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