History has been made within the pageant world as the first transgender Miss USA contestant was announced. Katalina Enriquez, who took home the title of Miss Nevada on Sunday, will represent her state in the national competition in November 2021. The official Miss Nevada Instagram account shared the exciting news with a photo of Enriquez and host Shannon Moakler along with the caption: “Congratulations to our new Miss Nevada USA @mskataluna ? History made!”
According to the Las Vegas-Review Journal, 27-year-old Enriquez began her career as a model while competing in transgender pageants starting in 2016. She began competing in cisgender pageants last year and won Miss Silver State USA in March 2021. In November, Enriquez will be the first transgender Miss USA contestant. “It’s a huge honor to win, especially during Pride Month,” Enriquez told the outlet following her win this past weekend. “I wasn’t nervous. I knew that I had worked really hard and I had my one shot at making history.”
The Significance of a Transgender Miss USA Contestant
“One thing that is important for me is inclusivity, diversity and representation. It’s something I did not have growing up and is still lacking in today’s world,” Enriquez told the Review-Journal after winning Miss Silver State. “Today I am a proud transgender woman of color. Personally, I’ve learned that my differences do not make me less than, it makes me more than.”
Enriquez continued: “I wanted to share my story and present that I was more than just a body. With pageantry, people think it is only about beauty. But it’s how you present yourself, what you advocate for, what you’ve done and the goals you have.”
When asked about her experience as a transgender woman during the interview portion of the Miss Nevada competition, Enriquez took the opportunity to advocate for her community. “I told the judges that as a transgender woman of color and a survivor of physical and sexual abuse, I am everything that is underrepresented in this country,” she told the Review-Journal. “Our voices matter. Those whose voices aren’t always heard deserve the chance to be heard.” Enriquez will continue to speak up for the transgender community as the first transgender Miss USA contestant.
Of course, Enriquez also took a moment to celebrate her achievement as the first transgender Miss USA contestant. “To my pageant mommy @rissrose2, no words can describe how much I am grateful of you,” she wrote in an Instagram caption. “For your constant support, for welcoming me in to your home, and feeding me nothing but love. Team @misssilverstate, you are all inspiring. your love, support and sisterhood has healed many years of struggle.
She continued: “My times and giggles with y’all never be replaceable. To all the sponsors, Thank you. I couldn’t have done it without your help. Huge thank you to everyone who supported me from day one. My community, you are always in my heart. My win is our win. We just made history. Happy pride.”
Enriquez’s historic win also happened to align with the anniversary of the Stonewall Inn riots, which took place on June 28, 1969. A police raid at the now-landmarked gay bar on Christopher Street in New York City resulted in a nearly week-long protest and is considered a pivotal moment for the gay rights movement in the United States.
“It wasn’t even in my head that the day I won was the anniversary of Stonewall,” Enriquez told the Review-Journal. “I felt like everything lined up. I’m thankful. We won. We made history.”
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