Trans Boricua beauty contestants will soon be able to compete for one of the most coveted crowns on the island: Miss Puerto Rico Universe.
New pageant director — and Miss Universe 2001 — Denise Quiñones announced at a registration event on Monday that trans women who have changed their gender marker on their birth certificates and, like other contestants, were born in Puerto Rico or have a parent who is Puerto Rican and has lived on the island for more than 10 years can participate starting in 2019.
“Since this year, Miss Universe [Puerto Rico] has followed the parameters of Miss Universe and as it is in our contract right now that the doors are open for any woman to participate,” Quinones said in a statement according to local newspaper Primera Hora.
The news came the same day that the Caribbean island started allowing transgender people to update their gender marker on their birth certificates.
“The right to identify our own existence lies at the heart of one’s humanity,” wrote U.S. District Judge Carmen Consuelo Cerezo in a ruling issued earlier this year. “And so, we must heed their voices: ’the woman that I am,’ ’the man that I am.’”
Quiñones, who took on the director position in February, agrees, saying she has long believed trans women should be able to participate in the pageant.
“At a very personal level, I have always supported this measure and now I am happy that these people who have had to go through all that surgical process in Puerto Rico also have their legal papers validated,” Quiñones, 37, said.
Last month, 26-year-old Angela Ponce made history when she won Miss Universe Spain, becoming the first transgender woman to compete in the global Miss Universe pageant.