Rose of Tralee welcomes Transgender applicants for 2022 pageant

The popular Irish pageant will return in August 2022 after a two-year hiatus.

Previous Rose of Tralee winner, Dr Sinéad Flanagan on stage, as the contest announces transgender applicants are welcome.
Image: Twitter: @RoseofTralee_

The Rose of Tralee is gearing up for a comeback in August 2022 after being forced to take a two-year break due to the pandemic. Along with the announcement of its return, Rose of Tralee organisers also shared details of a new venue and clearer rules of entry, one of which is that Transgender applicants are officially welcome.

A call for participants for the 2022 pageant was issued this week, inviting “anyone identifying as female”, whether single or married, to enter. Applicants must meet other eligibility criteria, however, such as being between the ages of 18 and 29, being an Irish citizen or of Irish origin, and never having previously represented any Centre as a Rose in the Regional Festival or International Rose of Tralee Selection.

Organisers have also lowered the entrant sponsorship fee from €300 to €200, making the application process more accessible.

On welcoming Transgender participants, Executive Chair of the Rose of Tralee, Anthony O’Gara says: “In case there is any doubt, we never said that Transgender people could not take part.

“We weren’t clear enough about it before. Now we’re being proactive and stating clearly that the Rose of Tralee is open to all people who identify as women.

“This isn’t a change of policy, it’s clarifying our existing policy,” he continued.

Something that certainly is a change for the contest, is the use of a new venue for 2022. The festival is traditionally held in the ‘Dome’ in Tralee, but will move to a permanent indoor venue in August. 

“The ‘Dome’ is great craic and it’s a tradition, but it is extremely expensive and every year it leaves us with a €100,000 hole in our finances,” explained Mr O’Gara.

While no venue has been confirmed as of yet, the festival company has held preliminary talks with the Munster Technological University about using its facilities. Mr O’Gara told the Independent that the negotiations are at a very early stage, but he is hopeful that an agreement can be reached.

He also ensured concerned parties that the town centre will not be abandoned because of this relocation. Organisers are working to ensure that the locals will not be forgotten, and that the buzz of the contest will be felt all throughout Tralee.

For more information on how to apply for the 2022 Rose of Tralee, which takes place from August 19 – 23, click here.

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