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Must be female “from birth”

The Miss Italy pageant will not allow transgender women to compete, with its sponsor saying contestants “must be a woman from birth”, weeks after Miss Netherlands crowned its first transgender winner.

“Lately, beauty pageants have been trying to be in the news by also using strategies that I think are a little absurd,” Miss Italy official patron Patrizia Mirigliani said this month during an interview with Radio Cusano, Il Primato Nazionale reported, according to a translation of Google.

“Since it was born, my contest has provided in its regulations the clarification according to which one must be a woman from birth. Probably because, even then, it was foreseen that beauty could undergo modifications, or that women could undergo modifications, or that men could become women,” Mirigliani added, reported Il Primato Nazionale.

Newsweek The press office of the Miss Italy pageant was contacted by email for further comment.

Italian actresses Caternia Murino (L), Patrizia Mirigliani (C) and Gina Lollobrigida (R) arrive at the premiere of the documentary ‘Enzo Mirigliani’ in Rome November 16, 2012. The Miss Italy pageant will not allow transgender women to compete, with Mirigliani saying contestants “must be a woman by birth.”
Tiziana Fabi/AFP/Getty

Polls suggest that support for transgender rights in Italy is generally comparable to that of other Western nations. In 2016, the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law conducted a survey of 23 countries, including Italy, to assess global support for transgender people. A majority of 21 of these countries, including Italy, “support policies that prohibit discrimination against transgender people.”

In addition, the survey created a scale to measure the average level of support for transgender rights across different countries. It found that Russia ranked lowest, at 41 out of 100, while Spain ranked highest, at 74. Italy ranked 57.

Mirigliani’s comments come just weeks later The Miss Netherlands pageant crowned its first transgender woman winner, Rikkie Valerie Kollé. According to NPR, after his contest win, Kollé will will represent her country at the Miss Universe 2023 pageant.

“I MADE IT !!!!!” Kollé wrote in one Instagram publication on July 9. “Yes, I’m a trans woman and I’d like to share my story, but I’m also Rikkie and that’s what counts for me. I did it on my own and enjoyed every moment.”

She added in her caption: “Wherever you are in the world, I want to be there for you and be the example that I myself missed as a little me.”

According to the Huffington Post Italy, Mirigliani said that while she was happy that the Miss Netherlands pageant included transgender women, she noted that Italy’s pageant rules will not change to allow transgender women to compete.

In 2012, the Miss Universe pageant announced that it was changing its rules to allow transgender women to compete.

“We have a long history of supporting equality for all women and that was something we took very seriously,” Miss Universe pageant president Paula Shugart said at the time, according to Reuters.

The Miss Universe 2018 pageant saw the first transgender woman to compete with Angela Ponce, who previously won the Miss Spain pageant.

“This is for you, for those who have no visibility, no voice, because we all deserve a world of respect, inclusion and freedom… And today I am here, proudly representing my nation, all women and human rights,” Ponce wrote in an Instagram post at the time.

Updated 7/21/23, 11:55 a.m. ET: This article has been updated with additional information.


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