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Miss Nevada Makes History As The 1st Openly Transgender Woman To Compete For Miss USA

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

This week, the title of Miss Nevada USA was won by a transgender woman for the first time in the pageant's history.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Congratulations to our new Miss Nevada U.S.A., Kataluna Enriquez.

(CHEERING)

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Kataluna Enriquez grew up in the Philippines and moved to the U.S. when she was 10. In a livestream with interviewer Adam Francisco in April, she described limiting herself in order to please people and to stay safe.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

KATALUNA ENRIQUEZ: Being different itself, you're already a target for discrimination and bullying. And it's basically kind of like bottling just the moment that you were born.

SHAPIRO: Now, she uses her platform to advocate for gender equality and trans rights. Here's Enriquez during the Miss Nevada pageant.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ENRIQUEZ: At a young age, I fought for my right to be able to have a voice, to be visible, to have my own identity.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: Yeah.

ENRIQUEZ: Because we are different, we are unique and we are deserving of love.

CHANG: Adding to an already historic day on the 52nd anniversary of Stonewall during Pride Month, Enriquez was crowned while wearing a sequined rainbow dress that she helped design. She spoke to KTNV after her win.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "13 ACTION NEWS")

ENRIQUEZ: When I was young, I said that one day, I hope to see someone like me on stage in Miss USA. And it just happened to be I was the person that I needed.

SHAPIRO: And when Enriquez takes the Miss USA stage in November, she'll make history once again as the first openly transgender woman ever to compete for that title.

(SOUNDBITE OF JAMES BROWN'S "UNTITLED INSTRUMENTAL") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Ashley Brown is a senior editor for All Things Considered.
Mia Venkat
Ailsa Chang is an award-winning journalist who hosts All Things Considered along with Ari Shapiro, Audie Cornish, and Mary Louise Kelly. She landed in public radio after practicing law for a few years.
Ari Shapiro has been one of the hosts of All Things Considered, NPR's award-winning afternoon newsmagazine, since 2015. During his first two years on the program, listenership to All Things Considered grew at an unprecedented rate, with more people tuning in during a typical quarter-hour than any other program on the radio.