Pageant organizer Patrizia Mirigliani has said Miss Italy is only for contestants who were assigned female at birth.
So trans activists were naturally angry. Federico Barbarossa, a transgender man, entered the pageant and encouraged other trans men to compete as well.
Barbarossa told NBC News,
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.’”
He applied to be a contestant anyway (using his deadname) and pageant officials sent him a confirmation email, he posted it on Instagram, and his local activist group shared it on social media and suggested that other trans men apply.
So far, about 100 trans men are signed up.
I like to think I’m a little part of Italy’s progress in this sense. Some applicants have advanced to the next stage in the process.
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.”
Italy has a homophobic and transphobic prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, who has condemned “the LGBT lobby” and “gender ideology.”
According to CNN, Miss Italia is not affiliated with the Miss Universe pageant; Miss Italy Universe is a separate competition.
One trans woman will compete in Miss Universe pageant this year — Rikkie Kollé, who won Miss Netherlands, the first out trans woman ever.
Miss Universe has allowed trans women to compete since 2012, and in 2018, Angela Ponce of Spain became its first trans contestant. In the U.S., Kataluna Enriquez won Miss Nevada in 2021 and competed in Miss USA.
(Photos, YouTube, screen grab; via The Advocate)