A biological male who identifies as female has filed a federal lawsuit alleging discrimination against a beauty pageant that rejected the would-be contestant's application for not being a "natural" woman.
"This is about giving minorities a voice," Anita Green told Willamette Week. "I believe I'm beautiful, and I want to set an example for all women — cisgender and transgender — that beauty doesn't have to fit into specific molds."
What's the background?
The 29-year-old's first pageant was the 2017 Miss Montana USA contest, and Green was only the third openly transgender contestant in the history of the Miss Universe program, Willamette Week noted.
In January, Green signed up to compete in a Miss Oregon beauty pageant, the outlet said, but United States of America's Miss Oregon pageant organizers rejected Green's application and returned the $195 entry fee on the grounds that the competition is a "natural" pageant.
With that, Green sued the organization in federal court, asking a judge to force the pageant to allow the transgender woman to compete and to pay unspecified monetary damages, Willamette Week added.
"I felt as though I was being invalidated," Green told the outlet. "I felt as though the organization was saying I am not a woman, and I'm not woman enough."
Willamette Week said the United States of America Pageants and its Miss Oregon director, Tanice Smith, declined to comment on the lawsuit.
More from the outlet:
United States of America's Miss Oregon pageant, which takes place annually in Corvallis, says on its website it is "designed to encourage women to strive to achieve their hopes, dreams, goals and aspirations, while making them feel confident and beautiful inside and out." State winners qualify to enter the national United States of America Miss pageant and win a prize package valued at more than $2,000.
Green moved to Oregon from Montana in 2018, and in 2019 won Miss Earth USA's Elite Miss Oregon contest. One year ago, she began corresponding on Facebook with United States of America's Oregon pageant director.
According to Facebook messages acquired by WW, Green — who works for a video game company — reached out to Smith, asking for more information about the pageant. Smith sent a link with the pageant rules, and after reading them, Green responded, "You know I'm transgender, right?"
"I did not," Smith wrote back. "Our rules and regulations allow same-sex marriage, however this is a natural pageant."
After Smith offered to help Green find another pageant. Green asked if Smith would "be willing to change the rules to allow transgender women to compete," Willamette Week reported.
"Again, we would be happy to help you find a pageant that you qualify for, however at this time we do not anticipate the rules changing," Smith replied, according the outlet.
"Well, I'll talk to my attorney about this then because discrimination is unacceptable. This is clearly discrimination," Green shot back, Willamette Week said.
"I am sorry that you feel that way," Smith answered back, which was the end of the conversation, the outlet said, adding that Smith declined Willamette Week's request for comment on the chat.
What are the lawsuit's details?
Green's Dec. 16 lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court argues United States of America Pageants unlawfully discriminated against Green over gender identity and wants the pageant to change its rules, cease exclusion of transgender women, require training of pageant staff on Oregon's public accommodation law, and award Green damages "in an amount to be determined at trial," Willamette Week said.
One of the United States of America Pageants' entry rules is being a "natural born female," the outlet said — but the lawsuit argues that because the pageant is open to the public, the entry rejection is legally the same as a hotel denying Green a room or a restaurant refusing Green service.
'If you identify as a woman, then you are a woman'
Here's a clip of Green posted a little over a year ago speaking to "my fellow trans sisters" and saying they don't have to have surgery to appear more like women. "If you identify as a woman, then you are a woman," Green said in the clip. "You look like a woman because you are what you feel. If you feel as though you're a woman, you are. It's as simple as that."
You Look Like a Woman Because You Are: You Don't Have to Pass youtu.be