The Miss South Africa organization is a powerful organization that is a platform for change and a leading voice in female empowerment and social change. In 2019, the Organization brought the license to the Miss SA Pageant and this has given a rare opportunity for transgender women to compete in the beauty pageant.
The Organization stipulated a rule that Trans women (male-female) are eligible to enter the competition. However, to compete internationally contestants must be in possession of a valid South African ID document with a female gender marker reflecting their amended sex is female. “Miss SA allows for any male-to-female transgender entrant who has undergone reassignment surgery to participate”. – Stephanie Weil (Miss SA Organization)
Miss Universe 2019 Zozibini Tunzi, who’s also been the first Miss Universe to carry the reign the longest, has lent her voice and status as the world’s beauty queen to further gender equality in SA. She also has been an advocate for leadership in young women. The Organization’s decision to be more inclusive and embrace all forms of beauty is exactly what women leadership is about, pushing eligibility boundaries.
The Beginning of an Era
Angela Ponce was the first openly transgender woman to compete in the Miss Universe pageant. Angela dominated and was crowned Miss Spain in 2018. This gave hope to many trans woman hopefuls who aspire to win their country titles, the beauty of revolution.
Social Media especially Black Twitter has shown immense excitement for this new rule by Miss SA Org. Many welcomed Miss SA’s inclusion, sharing their hopes that perhaps a transgender woman would be crowned the 2021 winner.
LGBTQ+ Community unites
The LGBTQ+ community has come out in full support of Miss South Africa’s organization decision and hailed them for taking the huge step towards social change. Sibabalwe Gcilitshana was the first openly queer woman to participate in the contest in 2019. She said she wanted people to know that her identity wasn’t the only narrative she carried. Sibabalwe’s entry would normalize different identities.