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Fil-Am trans woman Kataluna Enriquez wins Miss Nevada 2021, to compete in Miss USA pageant later this year

By CHUCK SMITH Published Jun 28, 2021 4:05 pm

A Filipino-American transgender woman will be representing Nevada in the upcoming Miss USA pageant.

Katuluna Enriquez, a 27-year-old model, won the Miss Nevada 2021 pageant on Monday, June 28 (June 27, US time). She bested 21 other candidates, making her the state’s representative to the national Miss USA pageant.

The winner of the Miss USA pageant, which will be held in November this year, will represent the country in the Miss Universe pageant.

Enriquez is the first openly transgender woman to compete in the Miss USA pageant.

In March, Enriquez won the Miss Silver State USA pageant, which is said to be the biggest and most prestigious preliminary competition for the state’s Miss Nevada USA competition. Her win as Miss Silver State made her the first transgender woman to win a local beauty pageant title in the US.

“Growing up, I was often told that I was not allowed to be myself, or to be in spaces that I was not welcome,” Enriquez said in response to a question during the Miss Silver State USA pageant, as quoted by Out Magazine. “One of the obstacles I encounter every day is just being true to myself. Today I am a proud transgender woman of color.”

She added, “Personally, I’ve learned that my differences do not make me less than, it makes me more than. And my differences is what makes me unique, and I know that my uniqueness will take me to all my destinations, and whatever I need to go through in life.”

If Enriquez wins the Miss USA pageant later this year, she will be the second transgender woman to compete in the Miss Universe. In 2018, Angela Ponce of Spain became the first trans woman to join the international pageant.

Days before the Miss Nevada pageant, Enriquez addressed hate comments she has received as a transgender woman contestant in a beauty pageant. “Because of hate, people would rather die than be who they are. I was one of them. But I am no longer a victim, I am a warrior,” she said.

Banner photo from Facebook/Kataluna Enriquez