Pride began as a commemoration of the Stonewall riot at a bar in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of NYC in 1969. It has since grown into a month of celebration and advocacy for the LGBTQ+ community. Just in time for the tail end of this year's pride month, Kataluna Enriquez gave everyone a new milestone to celebrate. She became the first openly transgender woman to win the title of Miss Nevada USA, also making her the first openly trans woman to be in the running for Miss USA (which will take place in November).
The 27-year-old has been making history all year, starting in March when she became the first trans woman to win Miss Silver State USA in March, the biggest preliminary pageant for Miss Nevada USA. Enriquez began competing in transgender beauty pageants in 2016 and won a major title as Transnation Queen USA that same year, according to W Magazine. (Related: How to Celebrate Pride In 2020 Amidst Protests and a Global Pandemic)
Enriquez's accomplishments go beyond her pageant titles, though. From modeling to designing her own gowns (which she wore like a true queen while competing for the Miss Nevada USA title), to being a health care administrator and human rights advocate, she quite literally does it all. (Related: How Nicole Maines Is Paving the Way for the Next Generation of LGBTQ Youth)
What's more, as the reigning Miss Silver State USA, she's created a campaign called #BEVISIBLE, aimed at combating hate through vulnerability. In the spirit of the campaign, Enriquez has been vulnerable about her own struggles as a transgender Filipino-American woman. She has revealed that she's a physical and sexual abuse survivor and shared her experiences with bullying in high school because of her gender identity. Enriquez has used her platform to highlight the importance of mental health and organizations that advocate for LGBTQ+ people. (Related: LGBTQ+ Glossary of Gender and Sexuality Definitions Allies Should Know)
"Today I am a proud transgender woman of color," Enriquez told Las Vegas Review Journal in an interview after winning Miss Silver State USA. "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 goes on to win Miss USA, she will then become the second transgender woman to ever compete in Miss Universe. For now, you can plan on rooting for her when she competes in Miss USA on November 29th.