Over 100 trans men enter Miss Italy pageant after organiser says only “women from birth” allowed

Trans men are boycotting the Miss Italy pageant after the organiser said she had no intention of changing the rules that exclude trans women.

This article is about trans men entering the Miss Italy pageant. In the photo, split screen of contestants at one of the Miss Italy past editions and one of the trans activists who is boycotting the competition.
Image: Via Twitter - @PopBase, Via Instagram - @mixed.lgbtqia

After the organiser of the Miss Italy beauty pageant declared that trans women are excluded from the competition because contestants should be “women from birth”, over a hundred trans men decided to boycott by entering the contest.

Speaking to Radio Cusano earlier this month, Miss Italy’s organiser Patrizia Mirigliani said that she is not going to update the beauty pageant’s entry regulations, which currently exclude trans women. Mirigliani stated that Miss Italy contestants should be “women from birth”, adding that she had no intention of jumping on the “glittery bandwagon of trans activism”.

Her remarks came after 22-year-old Rikkie Valerie Kollé made history on July 8 when she became the first trans woman to be crowned Miss Netherlands. Commenting on the news, Mirigliani said: “Lately, beauty pageants have been trying to make headlines by also using strategies that I think are a bit absurd.”

After Mirigliani’s comments emerged, trans men in Italy started a boycott of the beauty pageant and applied to enter the competition. Since the process to have one’s preferred gender and name legally recognised in Italy is a lengthy one – and not based on self-declaration, as it is in Ireland – these men technically fit all the criteria to enter the competition: they are of Italian nationality or citizenship, over 18 years old, are still registered as “female” on their identity documents and were assigned female at birth.



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The campaign was first launched by trans activist Federico Barbarossa, who spoke to Italian newspaper La Repubblica saying that the goal was “to trigger, through a joke, a reflection on the absurdity of some logics out of time and out of the world.

“Someone imagines us as three-headed monsters who could never aspire to win a beauty contest, because even the media representation often brings forward narratives that fetishize our bodies,” Barbarossa added. “With this campaign, we are giving visibility to the truth of trans people”.


His move was then followed by many other trans men in Italy, among whom is trans activist Elia Bonci who, in another interview with La Repubblica, said: “I took courage, used my deadname and signed up for Miss Italy. Because fighting transphobia is intersectional and even though I’m not a trans woman, I’ve decided to fight for their rights.”

Bonci continued by saying, “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.”

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