A transgender woman has for the first time been selected to participate in Puerto Rico’s Miss Universe contest held in the largely conservative U.S. territory. Daniela Victoria Arroyo Gonzalez is becoming the first openly out trans woman to compete in the Miss Universe pageant. Puerto Rico’s official Miss Universe account recently made the announcement. As a graduated Public Relations professional, she wants to create positive changes in communications. Daniela stated on her Instagram in Spanish. “She longs to live in a less polarized society, where differences can be appreciated and embraced as something positive that unites instead of something that separates.”
Aside from that, she’s become an avid activist. She’s solidified her activism by co-founding the Puerto Rico Trans Youth Coalition. This community-based organization seeks to create local support networks for trans, intersex, and gender non-binary youth in Puerto Rico. Daniela Arroyo Gonzalez will be competing against 37 other candidates for the crown of Miss Universe Puerto Rico. If she wins the national pageant, then she will become the first transwoman from Latin America to compete on the prestigious Miss Universe stage in El Salvador. In 2018, Spain made a historical moment in beauty pageant history by crowning Angela Ponce, she participated in the Miss Universe pageant held in Bangkok, Thailand. Even though she failed to make the semi-finalists, Angela was honored in a special ceremony to celebrate the transwomen and lgbtqi+ community. Last year Thai businesswoman Anne Jakkaphong Jakrajutatip, an open transwoman from Thailand became the first woman owner of the Miss Universe pageant. Anne has been outspoken about making her pageant the most inclusive international contest and looking for transformational leadership. From 2023 onwards, the Miss Universe pageant accepts married women, single mothers, and transwomen to join their contests. In 2012, former US president Mr. Donald Trump allowed transgender women to join the pageant due to Jenna Talackova gaining global media attention when she successfully waged a legal battle to be allowed to compete in the Miss Universe Canada after being initially disqualified for being transgender.
The crown is currently held by Ashley Ann Cariño Barreto, who represented the Isla del Encanto last January in New Orleans, Louisiana. Sadly, there are polarized comments regarding this announcement. Though this is expected behavior from the Latin community (which is unacceptable), she deserves to be welcomed with plenty of love and acceptance. She is certainly a remarkable woman and hopes to be an inspiration to many other transwomen from Latin America to be the leader of change and inclusion.
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