The move comes weeks after the Netherlands crowned its first transgender winner of a similar competition.
A patron of the Miss Italy beauty pageant has ruled out the possibility of transgender entrants being permitted to compete, saying that competitors “must be a woman from birth.”
The rule, which comes shortly after the Netherlands crowned its first-ever transgender winner of a similar beauty pageant, comes in contrast to other beauty events seeking to generate media attention by including non-traditional participants, according to Miss Italy official patron Patrizia Mirigliani.
“Lately, beauty contests have been trying to make the news by also using strategies that I think are a bit absurd,” Mirigliani, the daughter of the late Miss Italy founder Enzo Mirigliani, said to Radio Cusano this week, as reported by Newsweek. Television personality Mirigliani added: “Since it was established, my competition has foreseen in its regulation the clarification according to which one must be a woman from birth.”
She further explained that Miss Italy’s decades-old rules took into account that “beauty could undergo modifications” and that “men could become women.”
Polling of 23 countries conducted in 2016 by the UCLA School of Law Williams Institute suggested that Italians have generally similar support for transgender rights compared to most other Western nations. Italy was among the 21 countries polled that “support policies banning discrimination against transgender people.”
The poll also scored Italy 57 out of 100 on a scale determining overall support for transgender issues. Spain scored the highest at 74, while Russia was in last place with 41.
Mirigliani’s statement follows the victory of 22-year-old transgender model Rikkie Valerie Kolle at the Miss Netherlands beauty pageant earlier this month. Throughout the competition, Kolle used the platform to campaign for transgender rights and for easier access to gender-affirming healthcare options for people in her country.
Kolle will next represent the Netherlands at the Miss Universe contest in El Salvador in December, following on from Spaniard Angela Ponce, who became the first trans competitor at the event in 2018.
The issue, which mirrors a similar one concerning transgender competitors in sports, has led to online backlash directed towards Kolle. “They see us as monsters, and my daily DMs are full of people wishing me dead,” she told Newsweek earlier this month. “Wishing me dead and telling me to suicide, those things are terrible to write, but at the same it’s only lifting me up because I get a bigger platform than I could ever dream of.”