First transgender woman to win Miss Nevada USA, speaks out on overcoming challenges to claim title

First transgender woman to win Miss Nevada USA, speaks out on overcoming challenges to claim title

Kataluna Enriquez, The First Transgender woman to win Miss Nevada USA, speaks out on overcoming challenges to claim title

First transgender woman to win Miss Nevada USA, speaks out on overcoming challenges to claim title

1st transgender Miss Nevada speaks out about the importance of visibility

“I am so happy and grateful to be Miss Nevada USA 2021 and represent our state Nevada in this year’s Miss USA,” Enriquez told “Good Morning America.” “This has been one of my longest dreams and I am happy to share it with my community, especially the LGBTQ+ youth.”

Kataluna Enriquez, 27, made history when she was crowned Miss Nevada USA on June 27 and will be the first openly transgender contestant to compete in the upcoming Miss USA pageant.

“When I was young, I always said, ‘I wish I could see someone like me on that stage,’” Enriquez continued. “That’s something that I always didn’t have growing up and to be able to give that to other people, that’s one of my hopes in life to just be able to represent and create a positive change for those who haven’t always had those moments in life.”

Her historic win was met with an outpouring of support on social media, including a congratulatory post from the Miss Nevada USA organization.

Winning the crown was not always an easy feat for Enriquez. She got her start competing in transgender pageants in 2015 and later began competing in cisgender pageants where she had to overcome several challenges.

“When I started competing with cisgender women or the Miss USA organization, there was one competition where I was asked to provide documents that I think were invasive and were singling me out,” Enriquez revealed. “Also, I was not provided roommates, regardless of my identity.”

She said that despite providing all required documentation for a pageant in another state, she still had to undergo a stricter vetting process. Enriquez said she had to provide pageant organizers with legal orders, doctor’s notes and her identification card verifying that she is a female.

“It was basically just refusing me to be there, so that’s one of the experiences I’ve experienced,” she said.

“There’s a lot of backlash that I’m receiving and I think I want to use this time to really educate people on what it means to be trans, on what it means to be part of the LGBTQ+ community,” Enriquez continued. “And I think there’s still lack of representation in being a trans woman of color and being a Southeast Asian American.”

Enriquez will represent the Silver State at the 2021 Miss USA pageant that will be held on Nov. 29 in Tulsa, Okla.
In addition to being a titleholder, Enriquez also works as a healthcare admin specializing in LGBTQ+ care, a model and is the owner of her own clothing line called Kataluna Kouture.

“I started my design company because I didn’t have money growing up,” Enriquez said. “I didn’t have money to be able to afford clothes and gowns and I couldn’t find anything that fit my body type and so that was very important for me,”

She attended school for fashion design, and says that when she first started competing in her own designs, parts of the evening gown would fall off.

Her skills improved over time and she even designed the rainbow sequined evening gown she wore during the state competition in honor of pride month.

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