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Over 100 Transgender Women Who Identify as 'Men' Apply to Enter Miss Italy Pageant After They Banned Biological Males

Over 100 women who identify as male have applied for the Miss Italy pageant this week, protesting their rules against transgender biological men competing.

The Italian pageant’s rules on transgender participants were clarified after the Miss Netherlands competition crowned a transgender biological male as their winner — sending him to the 72nd Miss Universe pageant.

The surge of transgender applicants was started by Federico Barbarossa, a biological female, who identifies as male and lives in southern Italy.

Barbarossa said that she was angry about the ban but “also kind of amused by it, because I was like, ‘Yeah, well, I was assigned female at birth, but they would reject me because I look like a boy, and they would consider me as a boy,’” according to a report from NBC News.

“Barbarossa decided to enter the pageant under his deadname, or the name he was given at birth, as a form of protest in solidarity with trans women,” the report explains. “Barbarossa shared a screenshot of an email he received confirming his registration on Instagram, and then the local LGBTQ nonprofit group he works with, Mixed LGBTQIA+, shared his entry on Facebook with a statement encouraging other trans men to do the same.”


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A post shared by A. Federico Barbarossa (@fedor_b)

The campaign went viral, and Barbarossa said that she believes at least 100 have entered, with some being called to selections.

The activist said that Miss Italy organizers will “really have to go through every single application,” and hopes the protest “maybe lead them to think better next time.”

“They would never think that a trans person might even aspire to win a beauty pageant because we’re seen as this kind of, like, three-headed monster, and I think a part of it is that so many people have never seen trans women or trans men or trans people in general,” Barbarossa said.

Excluding transgender people from beauty pageants sends the message that “trans women are not women,” Barbarossa complained.

“The result of it is just transphobia,” Barbarossa said. “It kind of adds up to a level where the U.S. is kind of representative right now, where every state is passing anti-trans laws.” Twenty-two states have banned trans students from competing on the school sports teams that align with their gender identities, according to the Movement Advancement Project, an LGBTQ think tank.

In an Italian interview with Radio Cusano earlier this month, Miss Italy Official Patron Patrizia Mirigliani said, “lately, beauty contests have been trying to make the news by also using strategies that I think are a bit absurd.”

“Since it was born, my competition has foreseen in its regulation the clarification according to which one must be a woman from birth. Probably because, even then, it was foreseen that beauty could undergo modifications, or that women could undergo modifications, or that men could become women,” Mirigliani added, according to a Google translation of a report from Il Primato Nazionale.

Rikkie Valerie Kolle, 22, won the Miss Netherlands beauty pageant this summer, becoming the first transgender-identifying person to do so.

Kolle will now become the second transgender person to compete in Miss Universe, following Angela Ponce from Spain in 2018. Earlier this year, Daniela Arroyo González, who is also a transgender biological male, was chosen to compete in the Puerto Rico competition.

The pageant changed the rules in 2012, allowing biological males who identify as women to compete for titles.

The 72nd Miss Universe competition will be held in El Salvador in December.

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