Miss SA hailed for allowing transgender women to compete in pageant
“Finally, all women are being represented”
Scores on social media have applauded the Miss SA organisation for allowing transgender women to enter the competition.
This week, the organisation announced that entries for the search for the next beauty queen who will hold the title, are open until June 24.
“We are delighted that the Miss SA brand continues to provide a leading voice for not only the winners but also all young entrants and finalists who join us as a part of this empowerment platform. We can’t wait to meet the class of 2021 and introduce them to all of SA,” said Stephanie Weil of the Miss SA organisation.
Under the criteria for Miss SA 2021, the organisation said male-to-female transgender entrants were eligible to enter the pageant.
“Trans women are eligible to enter the Miss SA pageant, however, to be eligible to compete internationally, the contestant must be in possession of a valid South African ID document reflecting that their amended sex is female,” said the organisation.
This is in line with what the pageant has said before, in response to calls for transgender women who have not had a surgical transition to be eligible.
In 2019, the pageant had its first openly queer finalist, Sibabalwe Gcilitshana.
Speaking about the groundbreaking moment at the time, Gcilitshana told TimesLIVE that she hoped to be visible and take up space that had not previously been held by people like her and actively represent people from her community who can resonate with her experience.
“I want people to know that my identity is not the only narrative of why I am here. I hope this will normalise different identities and I hope that the next queer, bisexual and non-binary finalists to come will never have to be labelled by their identity; they will just be considered Miss SA finalists,” she said.
On social media, many welcomed Miss SA's inclusion, sharing their hopes that a transgender woman would be crowned this year's winner.
Here is a snapshot of what they had to say.
Miss SA is accepting Transwomen in 2021.— Precious Shange (@PreciousShange) May 25, 2021
This is the freedom Nelson Mandela fought for.
guys please help me understand why it’s necessary that trans womens gender marker be corrected in order for them to enter Miss SA?— thatoivan reborn. (@fka_kedibone) May 25, 2021
Actually, I’m thinking about that miss SA rule stipulation re: trans women having female gender markers in their ID. It just doesn’t make sense. Why would that matter? Before, did they care if the cis women’s IDs said they were women? Or were they willing to assume that fact?— Anita (@Puxxy_Spice) May 25, 2021