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Trans Men Step Up After Trans Women Are Banned From Miss Italy Pageant

Trans Men Step Up After Trans Women Are Banned From Miss Italy Pageant

Hands holding a beauty pageant crown
Jade ThaiCatwalk/Shutterstock

Pageant's organizer said she didn't want to jump on “glittery bandwagon of trans activism.”

Trans men are entering the Miss Italy pageant in droves to make a political statement about the transphobic rules of the competition.

The protest is in response to comments made by Miss Italy’s organizer Patrizia Mirigliani to Radio Cusano earlier this month. The current rules of the pageant state that trans women are excluded from competing and Mirgliani said she didn’t intend on jumping on the “glittery bandwagon of trans activism.”

“Lately, beauty pageants have been trying to make headlines by also using strategies that I think are a bit absurd,” Mirigliani said when asked about trans model Rikkie Valerie Kollé’s history-making Miss Netherlands win earlier this month. Kollé is the first trans woman to ever win the competition and is set to be the second trans woman to enter the Miss Universe competition.

“Since it was born, my competition has foreseen in its regulation the clarification according to which one must be a woman from birth,” Mirgliani said as reported by Il Primato Nazionale. “Probably because, even then, it was foreseen that beauty could undergo modifications, or that women could undergo modifications, or that men could become women.”

Kollé took to Instagram to express her frustration with the news, writing, “This is so sad. Instead of moving forward, it seems that we are only moving further back.”

As a way to make a political statement and fight back against the outdated and transphobic rules of the Miss Italy pageant, more than 100 trans men have applied to compete.

Activist Federico Barbarossa is a trans man in Italy who started the protest by exploiting the rule that competitors must be a “woman from birth.”

“We hope that the gesture will arouse the media clamor needed to put these issues back at the center and that many other ‘women at birth’ register en masse for the competition to make fun of these positions,” Barbarossa told Italian newspaper La Repubblica. “They would reject me because I’m a boy and I look like a boy, while if a trans girl registers, she is rejected because she is not considered a woman. What’s the point, then?”

Trans activist Elia Bonci also joined in on the protest by applying to enter the competition. “I took courage, used my deadname, and signed up for Miss Italy,” he told La Repubblica. “Because fighting transphobia is intersectional and even though I’m not a trans woman, I’ve decided to fight for their rights.”

He added, “Miss Italy is not just a beauty contest, but it is part of the country’s cultural history. And excluding trans women automatically means excluding them from history. Pretend they don’t exist.”

In an Instagram post about the protest Bonci wrote that the pageant’s rule excluding trans women “is somehow rather pleasantly inclusive for trans men.”

“In the regulation, it says that the participants must be ‘female from birth,’” he captioned his post. “This statement, unfortunately, excludes trans women. But not being clear (and obviously being totally confused between birth-based sex, gender identity, and everything transgender related) it still allows trans men… to sign up.”

We love to see malicious compliance used to fight the good fight!

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