A man who identifies as a woman has been crowned “Miss Portugal,” making him the second man in the race for this year’s “Miss Universe” title.
In a controversial move, Miss Universe Portugal awarded 28-year-old Marina Machete, who was born male, the title of Miss Portugal over the female contestants on Thursday. According to an Instagram post by Machete, he is “proud to be the first trans woman to compete for the Miss Universe Portugal title.”
“For many years I wasn’t eligible to compete and now it’s such an honor to be a part of this incredible group of candidates!” Machete, who happily posed with the crown, wrote.
Miss Portugal 2023 is a man. pic.twitter.com/doLWt1VUmX
— RadioGenoa (@RadioGenoa) October 7, 2023
Comments from pageant fans and politicians alike have begun to pour in, criticizing the decision to let a man win a historically women’s title.
“Don’t they have women in that country?” wrote one Instagram user in Spanish.
“She is indeed a beautiful trans woman. But this isn’t about empathy, this is reality. Have a transgender contest period. Worse are the women applauding because it’s fashionable,” said another critical commenter in Portuguese.
As the Blaze reported, “at least one” Portuguese politician “expressed a negative reaction to the result.”
In an interview with RT, right-wing Member of Parliament Rui Paulo Sousa said he originally thought the news “was a joke.”
“It is undoubtedly a sad day for those young women who dreamed about [winning] the female beauty pageant.”
According to the outlet, Machete is a flight attendant and first won the Miss Palmela competition in his hometown.
Machete isn’t the only male to advance to the Miss Universe 2023 pageant, set to take place in El Salvador on November 18. Back in July, 22-year-old biological male Rikkie Valerie Kolle beat out nine women to win the Miss Universe Netherlands crown, Breitbart News reported.
In an Instagram post, Kolle wrote, “It’s unreal but I get to call myself [Miss Netherlands] 2023 … Making my community proud and showing it can be done.”
A man just won “Miss Netherlands” 2023.
Considering the fact that we live in a post-Truth world, I wasn’t even expecting anything else. It’s all so predictable and unoriginal at this point. pic.twitter.com/j6NKo2cCvu
— Eva Vlaardingerbroek (@EvaVlaar) July 9, 2023
The new popularity that men appear to have in the Miss Universe pageants coincides with the competition’s acquisition by Anne Jakkaphong Jakrajutatip, a biological man and Thai business mogul who began identifying as a woman 5 years ago.
Jakrajutatip, who bought the Miss Universe, Miss USA, and Miss Teen USA competitions in October 2022, told Nola about his story.
“I became a billionaire at age 38, a woman at 39 and a mother of two at 40,” he said. “I believe in the power of women to transform into the best versions of themselves.”
Despite the new owner, not every country who participates in Miss Universe has bowed the knee to transgender inclusion.
In response to the Netherlands crowning Kolle over a woman, the competition’s Italian counterpart banned transgender contestants, prompting over 100 men to register in protest.
“Lately, beauty contests have been trying to make the news by also using strategies that I think are a bit absurd,” Miss Italy Official Patron Patrizia Mirigliani said on a radio show, according to Italian publication Il Primato Nazionale.
“Miss Italia, on the other hand, will not jump on the glittery bandwagon of trans activism,” Mirigliani, who oversees the competition, added.