For the first time ever, a transgender contestant will compete to become Miss USA.
On Sunday, 27-year-old Kataluna Enriquez, a biological male, beat out 21 female contestants to be crowned Miss Nevada USA. Enriquez will now move on to the Miss USA pageant, scheduled on Nov. 29.
With a victory there, Enriquez would become only the second transgender contestant ever to compete for the Miss Universe title.
During the competition, Enriquez wore a homemade rainbow-colored gown to celebrate Pride Month and "honor all of those who don't get a chance to spread their colors," KVVU-TV reported.
The news outlet boasted that by winning the pageant crown, Enriquez "is redefining what it means to be a woman and what it means to be beautiful."
"I've learned to love myself, learned the beauty that's inside me, learned to use my voice and the power that I have," Enriquez said. "You are capable of anything as long as you believe in yourself."
Miss Nevada 2021 will be first trans woman to compete for Miss USA title www.youtube.com
Enriquez started garnering national attention in March after winning the Miss Silver State USA pageant, a local competition in the Miss Universe Organization pageant circuit.
The line of pageants, which were once owned by former President Donald Trump, are among the most revered competitions in the pageant world.
At the time, Enriquez called the experience "a celebration of womanhood and diversity and this celebration of being your true self."
"One thing that is important for me is inclusivity, diversity, and representation. It's something I did not have growing up and is still lacking in today's world," Enriquez added. "Today I am a proud transgender woman of color. Personally, I've learned that my differences do not make me less than, it makes me more than."
Despite facing discrimination in the past — such as allegedly not being assigned a roommate and being forced to provide medical documents proving a female identity — Enriquez has become a formidable force in the pageant world.
The timely message of inclusivity for transgender individuals undoubtedly gives Enriquez a leg up in competitions.
Following Enriquez's Miss Silver State USA win, TheBlaze reported that such a message "may prove to benefit Enriquez in upcoming competitions, especially as transgenderism gains popularity in progressive circles and pressure mounts to avoid even the slightest appearance of discrimination."
Time will tell if that message will continue to carry Enriquez to broader recognition.