When Kataluna Enriquez was crowned Miss Nevada USA on June 27, she made history.
“I’m the first trans woman and trans woman of color and it’s time that our voices are heard,” Enriquez said.
Enriquez will also be the first trans woman to compete in Miss USA in the fall where she’ll represent Nevada. Representation of the trans community is something Enriquez feels strongly about — only recently being able to compete in cisgender pageants herself.
“When I was young, I said I hoped one day to see someone like me on stage in Miss USA and it just happened to be, I was the person I needed.”
Selena McAteer is also a trans woman. She said the impact of Enriquez’s win goes far beyond the pageant itself.
“I was looking through her Instagram story and everything and one of the hashtags was, #youwonitforus, and I was like, wow, I wonder if she really knows.”
McAteer said Enriquez could’ve saved a life last night.
“There could’ve been a young trans person out there last night that was down, maybe she never had seen anybody that looked like her. She may have watched the pageant or seen it on Instagram and thought, ‘oh my gosh, she looks like me or I look like her and it’s hopeful.'”
That’s Miss Nevada USA’s hope too — to tell her own story, share her own experience, and make sure someone doesn’t feel alone.
“That’s something I felt growing up and that’s the last thing that I would want anyone to feel so if I could have and give that to someone, I think it’s an amazing time of my life.”
By Jackie Kostek, KTNV.