In a perfect moment for Pride Month, 28-year-old Kataluna Enriquez was crowned Miss Nevada last Sunday, becoming the first openly transgender woman to compete in the Miss USA pageant. She posted on Instagram, “My community, you are always in my heart. My win is our win. We just made history. Happy pride.”
Enriquez also referenced Pride Month, as well as the 52nd anniversary of Stonewall, in an interview with KTNV Channel 13 in Las Vegas, pointing out that she’s not only a trans woman, but a trans woman of color: “It’s time that our voices are heard.”
Enriquez qualified for the Miss Nevada contest after winning the Miss Silver State USA pageant in March, the main preliminary competition for Miss Nevada USA. For the Miss Nevada finals, she wore a rainbow gown that she made herself under her label Kataluna Kouture in honor of Pride, for “all of those who don’t get a chance to spread their colors,” as she said on Instagram.
In November, Enriquez will compete for the Miss USA crown in Tulsa, Oklahoma. If she wins, she goes on to the Miss Universe pageant. If so, she would be the second openly trans woman to do so; Spain’s Angela Ponce became the first transgender Miss Universe contestant in 2018. The Miss Universe pageant (which includes Miss USA) began accepting transgender contestants in 2012. The Washington Post points out that some other contests, like Miss United States Of America, exclude transgender contestants.
According to her Miss Silver State bio on Instagram, Enriquez is a healthcare admin as well as a fashion designer; she is “a survivor of physical and sexual abuse and a proud Transwoman of color [who] aims to break barriers and represent those who aren’t always represented.” She promotes her inclusivity platform with the hashtag #BEVISIBLE.
Enriquez told KTNV, “When I was young I said I hoped to see someone like me onstage in Miss USA… It just happened to be that I was the person that I needed.”