Kataluna Enriquez, America’s First Openly Trans Pageant Winner, Is Competing to Become Miss USA

·2 min read
Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned

Kataluna Enriquez became the first-ever transgender woman to win a pageant on Sunday when she was crowned Miss Nevada USA. Kataluna was chosen by the judges while wearing a Pride-themed dress that she designed and made herself. That her historic win occurred during Pride Month made it all the sweeter, she wrote on Instagram.

“Huge thank you to everyone who supported me from day one,” she said. “My community, you are always in my heart. My win is our win. We just made history. Happy Pride.”

As the reigning Miss Nevada, Kataluna will now progress to an even bigger stage, representing her state in the national Miss USA pageant in November—the first time a trans woman will ever have done so.

All forms of representation are vital, and seeing a trans woman celebrated and elevated in her field may well give hope to others. At a time when the rights and freedoms of trans people are still being threatened at a policy level, with access to health care for trans youth in danger of being rescinded in many states, Kataluna intends to use her newfound visibility as a Miss USA contestant to advocate for those who are so often underrepresented.

“Kataluna Enriquez is a health care admin, a fashion designer and owner for Katalunakouture,” reads her bio on the Miss Silver State pageant Instagram account. “At a young age, Kataluna fought multiple challenges in her life. Now she uses her life experiences and shares it in her platform #BEVISIBLE, a campaign to combat hate through vulnerability. As a survivor of physical and sexual abuse and a proud Transwoman of color, she aims to break barriers and represent those who aren’t always represented and continues to support numerous nonprofit organizations and LGBTQ+ youth.”

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