Miss Italy, Virginia Stablum walks onstage during the 71st Miss Universe preliminary competition at New Orleans Morial Convention Center on January 11, 2023 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Josh Brasted/Getty Images)


Miss Italy chief bans transgender women from beauty pageant


The Miss Italy beauty pageant has banned transgender women from competing in the contest.

The decision came after trans-woman Rikkie Valerie Kollé, 22, won Miss Netherlands earlier in July.

Patrizia Mirigliani, organiser of Miss Italy, stated only “biological women” are viable for the beauty competition. She referred to wider ongoing trans-inclusivity efforts “a bit absurd”.

Speaking to RTL 102.5, Miriglian said: “For 84 years, through the contest, there has been a culture of beauty, fashion, and identity. With this affirmation, I hope that the controversies can find a conclusion.

“Lately, beauty pageants have been trying to make headlines by also using strategies that I think are a bit absurd,” she added.

“Ever since it was born, my contest has included in its regulations the specification that one must be a woman from birth.

“In my regulations, at the moment, I have not yet opened up to transgender contestants because I believe they [contestants] should have been born as women. So, as long as my regulations stand, it will be that way. For now, I don’t see a reason to change it.”

She also highlighted only two transgender individuals had requested to take part in Miss Italy. One of those was the activist Federico Barbarossa, born female but now identifying as a male. Barbarossa said that was done as a form of protest against the decision to ban transgenders and “to show that gender merely is a social construct and biology cannot define us”.

Mirigliani continued her justification of the transgender ban: “The profile of the girls participating in Miss Italy not only represents the concept of beauty but also the life experiences and messages that young women today want to communicate.

“We will find girls studying computer science, challenging size and shape stereotypes, showing courage and strength in representing themselves because today beauty is often subject to criticism, and those who represent it must fight to be fully accepted,” she said.

“Moreover,” she added, “Miss Italy is a competition that goes beyond aesthetic appearance: the participants have incredible stories, and these stories contribute to creating culture, as the identity of the contest is reflected in the experiences and lives of women.

“We cannot reduce Miss Italy to a simple contest because over the years, it has taken on a deeper meaning, becoming a representation of the identity and history of Italian women,” Mirigliani concluded.

Regarding the recent beauty contest in the Netherlands, she said she was happy for the participants and had no objection to those who decide to admit transgender individuals into their beauty pageants, provided that was “not exploitative”.

Mirigliani has been associated with Miss Italy since the 1980s, continuing the legacy of her father, Enzo Mirigliani, who assumed the leadership of the pageant in 1959.