A male was crowned Miss Portugal and became the first “trans woman” in the country to win the prestigious, typically female title.
Marina Machete said on his Instagram page that he is “proud to be the first trans woman to compete for the title of Miss Universe Portugal.”
“For years it was not possible for me to participate and today I am proud to be part of this incredible group of finalists.”
Machete, a 28-year-old flight attendant, will go on to represent Portugal in the Miss Universe competition in El Salvador on November 18, 2023.
At least one Portuguese politician expressed a negative reaction to the result.
“When I read this news, I initially thought it was a joke,” Member of Parliament Rui Paulo Sousa said, according to RT. “It is undoubtedly a sad day for those young women who dreamed about [winning] the female beauty pageant.”
Sousa is in the Chega Party, a right-wing populist party formed in 2019.
Machete is the second man to qualify for the Miss Universe pageant in 2023.
In July 2023, Rikkie Valerie Kolle – a 22-year-old male – defeated a field of nine biological women to be named Miss Universe Netherlands.
“It’s unreal but I get to call myself [Miss Netherlands] 2023 … Making my community proud and showing it can be done,” he wrote on Instagram. “Look at me now, standing here as a strong, empowering and confident trans woman,” Kolle also said during Pride month.
Men winning for the first time in the competition’s history aligns with the company’s acquisition by its transgender owner, Anne Jakkaphong Jakrajutatip.
The entrepreneur is a male-to-female transgender woman, has two children, and purchased Miss Universe, Miss USA, and Miss Teen USA in October 2022, according to Nola.com. He is also the CEO of Thailand-based media company JKN Global Group Pcl.
“I became a billionaire at age 38, a woman at 39 and a mother of two at 40,” the investor said. “I believe in the power of women to transform into the best versions of themselves,” he added.
However, not every nation is on board.
Shortly after the Netherlands crowned its male champion, the Miss Italy pageant banned transgender contestants from taking part in the beauty contest.
This resulted in over 100 men registering to enter the competition in protest of the new ban.
“Lately, beauty contests have been trying to make the news by also using strategies that I think are a bit absurd. Miss Italia, on the other hand, will not jump on the glittery bandwagon of trans activism,” said Miss Italy official Patrizia Mirigliani. Blaze News