According to the organizers of the Miss Universe pageant, “trans women are women, full stop,” and transgender contestants are allowed to compete as long as they’ve had gender-transition surgery, the Daily Mail reported.
Transgender billionaire Chakrapong “Anne” Chakrajutathib, 43, bought the rights to Miss Universe, Miss USA, and Miss Teen USA from former President Donald Trump in October for $20 million.
Following the acquisition of Miss Universe, the Thai media mogul has made a number of changes, including eliminating the most photogenic and best swimwear prizes and advocating for women’s empowerment.
The news comes after transgender model Rikkie Valerie Kollé, 22, won the title of Miss Netherlands on Saturday. Kolle became the first trans woman to win the Miss Netherlands title and will become the second trans woman to compete in the Miss Universe pageant, according to CNN.
“I DID IT!!!!!” Kollé wrote in an Instagram post. “It’s unreal but I can call myself @missnederland 2023. It was an educational and wonderful process. … I am so proud and happy I can’t describe it. I made my community proud and showed it can be done.”
Both the Miss Universe and Miss America pageants allow transgender women to compete, but stipulate that they must have undergone gender-transition surgery.
According to the Mail, the Miss America competition changed the rules for the 2024 season, saying contestants must identify as “born female” or have “fully completed sexual reassignment surgery.”
The pageant reportedly previously had allowed anyone who identified as “a woman” to participate. The title of Miss San Francisco was won earlier this year by Monroe Lace, who is openly transgender. Lace moves on to the semi-finals of the Miss California contest.
Miss Universe also recently opened up the competition to include married and divorced women.
A spokeswoman for Miss Universe told the Mail, “Miss Universe is open to all women contestants, and that includes trans women.”
“Trans women are women, full stop,” the spokesperson continued, using the chiefly British term for “period.” “We are here to celebrate women, full stop. Our policy for more than a decade requires that trans women contestants have had gender-affirming surgery and, in fact, five years ago a trans woman delegate competed on the Miss Universe stage.”
“The Miss Universe Organization is always evolving, and we are always updating our entry rules. In the last two years we have allowed married women, divorced women, pregnant women, and women with children to join,” she added.
According to the Mail, “Jakrajutatip transitioned from male to female in her mid-30s, marking the end of 70 years of men running the pageant.”