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More than 100 transgender contestants reportedly entered the Miss Italy pageant this week as a response to the beauty contest recently barring transgender participants.
Last week, the Miss Italy pageant announced a new rule that contestants must be female from birth.
Miss Italy official patron Patrizia Mirigliani said, "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."
"Since it was born, my competition has foreseen in its regulation the clarification according to which one must be a woman from birth," Mirigliani said. "Probably because, even then, it was foreseen that beauty could undergo modifications, or that women could undergo modifications, or that men could become women."
An Italian transgender activist entered the Miss Italy contest.
The Global News reported, "As a trans man, Federico Barbarossa, a member of the Italian non-profit Mixed LGBTQIA, was assigned female at birth. He was able to successfully enter the pageant using his deadname, the female name he was given at birth that he no longer uses."
Barbarossa told NBC News, "When I heard about the absurd regulation, it came spontaneously to me! I was assigned to the female gender at birth, but I have always felt like a boy, and they would consider me as a boy."
Barbarossa's entry into the Miss Italy pageant motivated other transgender contestants to enter the beauty contest. Barbarossa claimed that over 100 transgender contestants have entered the Miss Italy pageant.
Transgender activist Elia Bonci, who entered the Miss Italy pageant, asserted: "I took courage, used my deadname and signed up for Miss Italy because fighting transphobia is intersectional and even though I’m not a trans woman, I've decided to fight for their rights."
Barbarossa alleged that Miss Italy officials will "really have to go through every single application" and hopes the protest will "maybe lead them to think better next time."
"I like to think I’m a little part of Italy’s progress in this sense," Barbarossa added.
A spokesperson for Miss Italy confirmed to CNN that it had received contestant applications from transgender contestants. The organization said transgender applicants can participate in local pageants.
"If they are judged suitable by a technical jury they can then parade in public," the spokesperson stated.
Mirigliani responded to the backlash by saying she had "nothing against those who decide to admit transgender people to beauty contests,” but she would not be changing the rules for the Miss Italy pageant.
"I'm just saying that things have to go step by step, Italy is a delicate and particular country," Mirigliani said.
Barbarossa said, "The result of it is just transphobia. It kind of adds up to a level where the U.S. is kind of representative right now, where every state is passing anti-trans laws."
Earlier this month, a transgender beauty queen contestant was crowned Miss Netherlands 2023.
Rikkie Valerie Kollé, a 22-year-old biological male, defeated a field of nine biological women to be named Miss Universe Netherlands. Kollé will represent the Netherlands at the 72nd Miss Universe competition in El Salvador.
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Paul Sacca is a staff writer for Blaze News.