Daniela Arroyo González has made history as the first-ever trans woman to qualify for the Puerto Rico Miss Universe contest. According to the Associate Press, the beauty queen was selected on February 23, and joins a list of 37 other hopefuls representing the island’s 78 municipalities.
This is the second time that Arroyo González has tried out for the pageant, and should she win, she will go on to represent the nation at the Miss Universe global competition in El Salvador next year. Taking to Instagram to celebrate the news, the 24-year-old said: “The emotion and pride that I feel at this moment overwhelms me with joy.”
She added: “It’s time to show how far we can go. This is my time.”
An avid LGBTQ+ activist responsible for co-founding the Puerto Rico Trans Youth Coalition, tournament officials say that the model is determined to create positive change for the queer community.
“She wishes to live in a less polarised society, where difference can be appreciated and embraced as something positive that unites, instead of something that separates.”
She is also known for winning a high-profile federal lawsuit against the Puerto Rican government in 2018, resulting in trans people being allowed to change their gender on legal documents.
Issuing the ruling, US District Court Judge Carmen Consuelo wrote that Arroyo González and others who brought the case “have stepped up for those whose voices, debilitated by raw discrimination, have been hushed into silence.”
Up until 2012, trans women were banned from competing in the Miss Universe pageant. Ángela Maria Ponce Camacho became the first trans woman to compete in the global contest in 2018, representing Spain.
Previously owned by Donald Trump, in 2022, the Miss Universe Organization was acquired by Thai trans activist and business tycoon Anne Jakapong Jakrajutatip. She became the first woman to own the pageant, purchasing its parent company for $20 million.
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