For the first time in the history of the Miss Portugal beauty pageant, a transgender woman has been crowned the winner. Marina Machete, a 28-year-old biological male, received the prestigious title during an event held in Borba, a southeastern city in Portugal. Prior to this, Machete had also won the Miss Palmela competition.
Expressing her excitement and gratitude, Machete took to Instagram to share her thoughts on the historic win. “Proud to be the first trans woman to compete for the Miss Universe Portugal title!” she wrote. “For many years I wasn’t eligible to compete and now it’s such an honor to be a part of this incredible group of candidates!”
However, not everyone in Portugal was pleased with Machete’s victory. Rui Paulo Sousa, a member of Portugal’s parliament, expressed his discontent on Facebook, stating, “When I read this news, I initially thought it was a joke. It is undoubtedly a sad day for those young women who dreamed about [winning] the female beauty pageant.”
Despite the controversy surrounding her win, Machete will now go on to represent Portugal in the upcoming Miss Universe contest in El Salvador next month. Interestingly, she will not be the only transgender woman competing in the prestigious pageant. Miss Netherlands Rikkie Kolle, who is also transgender, will be participating alongside Machete.
The inclusion of transgender women in beauty pageants has been a controversial subject in various countries. In July, the organizers of Miss Italy announced that transgender individuals would be banned from participating. Patrizia Mirigliani, the competition’s official patron, explained in a radio interview, “Since it was founded, my contest has stipulated in its regulation that contestants must be a woman from birth.”
This decision by Miss Italy sparked a debate about the inclusivity and diversity of beauty pageants. While some argue that biological males should not be allowed to compete in events traditionally reserved for women, others believe that everyone, regardless of gender identity, should have the opportunity to participate and showcase their beauty and talent.
Despite the differing opinions, the recognition of Marina Machete as Miss Portugal marks a significant step towards inclusivity and acceptance of transgender individuals in the beauty pageant world. It highlights the increasing diversity and evolving norms within society.
As we look ahead to the Miss Universe competition, the participation of Machete and Kolle will undoubtedly spark further discussions about gender inclusivity and redefine the traditional standards of beauty. Regardless of the outcome, their presence on the global stage serves as a reminder of the importance of embracing diversity and breaking down barriers within the realm of beauty pageants.