In a historic milestone for LGBTQ+ representation, Marina Machete, a 28-year-old flight attendant, shattered barriers by becoming the first trans woman to be crowned Miss Portugal. This remarkable achievement took place in Borba, nestled in the southeastern Evora region of Portugal. The event unfolded on Thursday, the 5th of October, marking a significant moment in the history of beauty pageants.
A Global Stage Awaits
Marina Machete’s victory opens doors to an even more monumental event – the Miss Universe competition. She will be facing off against another trailblazing trans woman, Rikkie Valerie Kollé, the reigning Miss Netherlands, in El Salvador. This face-off represents a monumental leap forward for trans women, as they take center stage at a global beauty pageant.
Breaking Barriers and Embracing Pride
Before her momentous win, Machete took to Instagram to express her pride, stating, “For many years I wasn’t eligible to compete, and now it’s such an honor to be a part of this incredible group of candidates.” Her journey is a testament to the progress made in recognizing and celebrating diversity in beauty pageants.
A Message of Resilience
In a world not always accepting of progress, Rikkie Valerie Kollé faced backlash and hate online following her Miss Netherlands victory. However, she remains undaunted and resilient. Kollé emphasized how the negativity only amplifies her message of love, empowerment, and LGBTQ+ inclusivity. She expressed her gratitude to the haters, acknowledging that their actions inadvertently provide her with a more extensive platform to champion her cause.
Pioneers of Inclusivity
Both Marina Machete and Rikkie Valerie Kollé follow in the footsteps of Spain’s Angela Ponce, who made history as the first trans woman to compete in the global Miss Universe pageant in 2018. While Ponce didn’t advance to the finals, her presence on the stage resonated with people worldwide, inspiring hope for a more inclusive future. Her words on that global telecast still echo today, emphasizing the need for a world where everyone can “live in a world of equality for everyone” and recognize the common humanity that unites us all.