5 Trans Beauty Queens Who Have Won Titles And Made History

Women Who Made #HERStory! Trans Beauty Queens Gracing The Stage

Bailey Ann Kennedy makes history as one of the few trans beauty queens
Credit: Instagram/Missmdusa

Trans women are making history in the beauty pageant space, challenging norms and breaking barriers. Their presence and victories symbolize progress and acceptance, reshaping what beauty and success look like. Each win is a step toward greater visibility and recognition, reflecting the resilience and strength of the transgender community. These achievements also emphasize the need for inclusivity in spaces traditionally dominated by cisgender individuals.

Breaking Barriers: The Significance of Trans Beauty Queens

Transgender beauty queens’ participation and success in pageants challenge outdated standards and promote diversity. These women show the world that beauty is not limited by gender. They embody courage, perseverance, and authenticity, inspiring countless others to embrace their true selves.

Bailey Anne Kennedy made #herstory as the first transgender woman to win Miss Maryland, joining the small list of other trans beauty queens. According to PEOPLE, she won the coveted title on June 1, kicking off Pride Month in the best way possible and adding an extra layer of importance. Her victory during Pride Month is a powerful reminder of the progress made in the fight for LGBTQIA+ rights and the work that’s still needed. 

Transgender beauty queens like Kennedy bring visibility to the trans community and help combat stereotypes and prejudice. Their successes can, in turn, lead to broader societal acceptance and understanding. By winning titles and taking the stage, they inspire others to follow in their footsteps and pursue their dreams without fear.

Here are five trans beauty queens who have graced the stage and made history.

Angela Ponce

Angela Ponce attends the 'Pantene' photocall to celebrate the diversity of beauty with the campaign 'Hair has no gender'
Credit: Getty Images/David Benito

Angela Ponce made history as the first transgender woman to compete in the Miss Universe pageant in 2018. Representing Spain, Ponce used her platform to advocate for trans rights and visibility. But the history making doesn’t stop there. Ponce was also the first transgender woman to model for Agatha Ruiz de la Prada and Carolina Herrera. She also works with the Daniela Foundation to help support transgender youth

Arielle Keil

Filipina-Kiwi transgender woman ARIELLE KEIL
Credit: Instagram/tiaraholics

Filipina-Kiwi Arielle Keil won the title of Miss Intercontinental New Zealand in 2020. She is the first transgender woman to win a major beauty pageant in New Zealand. Arielle is Filipina German and was born in Davao City but grew up in Auckland, New Zealand. Keil’s success highlights the growing acceptance and recognition of transgender individuals in the pageant industry.

Rikkie Valerie Kollé

Rikkie Valerie Kollé becomes another trans beauty queen
Credit: Instagram/rikkievaleriekolle

Rikkie Valerie Kollé made history when she was crowned Miss Nederland 2023. Kollé became the first transgender woman to win the Miss Netherlands title. After she won, she posted this message on Instagram:

“It’s unreal, but I can call myself @missnederland 2023. It was an educational and wonderful process; my year couldn’t go wrong. I am so proud and happy I can’t describe it. I made my community proud and showed that it is possible.????? And yes, I am a trans woman, and I would like to share my story, but I am also Rikkie, and that is what matters to me. I did this on my own strength and enjoyed every moment. ?? and her achievement underscores the growing acceptance and recognition of transgender individuals globally.”

Kataluna Enriquez

Miss Nevada USA 2021 Kataluna Enriquez, Miss USA's first transgender pageant winner
Credit: Getty Images/Bryan Steffy

Kataluna Enriquez made headlines when she won Miss Nevada USA in 2021. As the first transgender woman to hold this title, Enriquez used her platform to raise awareness about issues facing the trans community. She’s been competing in pageants since 2015 and has her own line of gowns called the Kataluna Kouture.

After her achievement, she posted a message on Instagram to the LGBTQIA+ community: “My win is our win. We just made history. Happy Pride.”

Her victory is a landmark moment for transgender representation in American beauty pageants.

Monroe Lace

Miss San Francisco Monroe Lace handling public service duties
Credit: Instagram/Monroelace

Monroe Lace made history by becoming the first transgender woman to win Miss San Francisco. Her victory is especially significant as it challenges nearly a century of tradition and opens doors for greater inclusivity.

“There are some people who believe that trans women shouldn’t be able to compete in sports or in pageantry because they believe that trans women aren’t women,” she told The San Francisco Standard. Obviously, the majority of hate comments look like they come from men. But there’s also been comments from other trans women, who feel like I’m perpetuating what a woman ‘should’ be, and that’s toxic.”

Her crown and sash symbolize a powerful breakthrough for the transgender community, highlighting the ongoing push for equality and representation in beauty pageants.

These trailblazing women have reshaped the beauty pageant landscape. They have shown that beauty, grace, and talent know no gender boundaries. Their successes are milestones in the journey toward a more inclusive and accepting world. Bailey Anne Kennedy’s recent win as Miss Maryland continues this legacy, inspiring others and creating a ripple effect of acceptance and change.

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