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Fil-Am trans woman Kataluna Enriquez fails bid to win Miss USA 2021

By PhilSTAR L!fe Published Nov 30, 2021 2:42 pm

Filipina-American transgender woman Kataluna Enriquez failed to enter the top 16 of the Miss USA 2021 pageant, held in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Tuesday, Nov 20 (Monday evening in the US).

Enriquez, who represented the state of Nevada in the pageant, did not make it to the contest’s semifinals.

Miss Kentucky Elie Smith won the crown and is heading to Israel to represent the US in the 70th Miss Universe on Dec 13 (Philippine time).

The 27-year-old Filipina-American beauty queen is the first transgender woman to compete in the Miss USA pageant. In 2018, she also competed in the Miss International Queen pageant in Thailand.

Despite the loss, Enriquez said she is thankful for her experience in the Miss USA pageant. “I love everyone. Thank you for all the support. I’m so grateful for this experience and everyone who shared love,” she said.

Had she won, Enriquez would have been the second transgender woman to join the Miss Universe pageant.

The Miss Universe Organization (MUO), the company behind the pageant, officially allowed transgender women to join the pageant in 2012. Since then, the only transgender woman to compete in the pageant is Spain’s Angela Ponce in 2018.

The Miss Universe Philippines, according to a report, accepts transgender women to join the competition as long as they could present “legal documents to prove they are now female and they already underwent gender reassignment surgery.”

But an article published earlier this month by Vice reported that an applicant for the 2021 edition of the Miss Universe Philippines pageant was told she’s being disqualified because “(transgender people) couldn’t change our passport to reflect ‘reflect’ on that document.” When the applicant was later given a slot to audition to be a contestant, she was “lectured” about “submitting fake documents.” - (Chuck Smith)