Many social media users 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 a national publication 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.
Miss SA is accepting trans women this year. This is exciting news!!!!!
— Duchess of Modelling 👠 (@Rivoningo_C) May 24, 2021