The Miss Italy beauty pageant announced that all competitors must be “a woman from birth,” barring people who identify as transgender competitors.
The announcement comes about a week after a transgender-identifying person was crowned the winner of the Miss Netherlands pageant, a first in the competition’s 94 years.
“Beauty contests have been trying to make the news by also using strategies that I think are a bit absurd,” said Miss Italy Official Patron Patrizia Mirigliani during an interview with Radio Cusano, according to a translation published by Newsweek.
“Since it was born, my competition has foreseen in its regulation the clarification according to which one must be a woman from birth,” said Mirigliani. “Probably because, even then, it was foreseen that beauty could undergo modifications, or that women could undergo modifications, or that men could become women.”
According to Fox News, “the Miss Italy competition has regularly made updates to maintain strict standards on entry, with a major update in 2012 to ban any contestant who had undergone plastic surgery.”
The competition has also banned “revealing swimwear,” body piercings, and tattoos.
The newly crowned Miss Netherlands Rikkie Valerie Kollé, who is a biological male, is set to compete in the 2023 Miss Universe pageant in El Salvador.
“I was born little Rik, but I wanted to be a big Rikkie. Transitioning from male to female became something that made me feel at home,” the 22-year-old wrote on Instagram, per The Daily Mail. “I endured teasing and would go home crying. I would think, ‘Why me, why is this happening to me?’ But I always had the support of my loving family and friends.”
The Miss Universe pageant announced in 2012 that transgender-identifying people would be permitted to compete. Six years later, the international competition had its first transgender-identifying contender — Angela Ponce, who won Miss Spain.
The Miss Universe enterprise was purchased by JKN Group CEO Jakkapong “Anne” Jakrajutatip, a biologically male media personality from Thailand who identifies as transgender, in October 2022.
“We seek not only to continue its legacy of providing a platform to passionate individuals from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and traditions, but also to evolve the brand for the next generation,” Jakrajutatip, who also runs the transgender-rights organization the Life Inspired for Transsexual Foundation, said after the reported $20 million sale.
Jakrajutatip said Miss Universe had entered a “new era” of the “global women’s empowerment platform” while speaking in January 2023 at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center. The executive said men were no longer running the event after 70 years.
“From now on it’s gonna be run by women, owned by a trans woman, for all women around the world to celebrate the power of feminism,” said Jakrajutatip. “Diverse cultures, social inclusion, gender equality, creativity, a force for good, and, of course, the beauty of humanity.”