Fil-Am Miss Nevada brings good vibes in historic step for trans visibility 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Fil-Am Miss Nevada brings good vibes in historic step for trans visibility 

/ 09:08 AM September 03, 2021
Miss Nevada Kataluna Enriquez in conversation with INQUIRER U.S. Bureau correspondent Elton Lugay in Las Vegas. ADAM LANG

Miss Nevada Kataluna Enriquez in conversation with INQUIRER U.S. Bureau correspondent Elton Lugay in Las Vegas. ADAM LANG

LAS VEGAS—Kataluna Enriquez is off to a good start in her journey as Miss Nevada and the first trans woman to ever compete in the Miss USA pageant come Nov. 29. She exudes an aura of peace – a woman who has come to terms with her truth and purpose.

Her next stop could very well be Israel three months from now, representing the United States as the second trans woman to gain entry to the Miss Universe pageant.

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“My motivation has always been representation. I think as a trans woman and as a minority within a minority and as a person of color, being Filipino American – Asian Americans in general are not as represented, and so this was my drive to present a different kind of American to the people, not just being a Filipino but also a trans woman. I am breaking barriers in multiple dimensions,” Enriquez told INQUIRER.net in an exclusive interview in Las Vegas on the sidelines of the Pacquiao vs. Ugas fight last month.

Enriquez won the Miss Nevada crown last June, first hurdling the Miss Silver State USA pageant in March. Earlier, she competed in transgender pageants and eventually won the Miss TransNation Queen USA crown in 2016 as the representative of California.

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Born in Angeles City, Philippines, Enriquez and her family moved to the San Francisco Bay Area when she was 10 years old. She attended the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, and later moved to Las Vegas.

“I speak a little bit of Kapampangan and Tagalog still,” she revealed.

Though her growing up years were rough as she grappled with feeling lost, not having anyone that she could relate to, and even physical and sexual abuse, years of therapy have allowed her to flourish with a clear view of what she stands for. Miss Nevada 2021 has used the hashtag “BEVISIBLE” calling on people, especially in the LGBT+ community and the youth, to combat hate with vulnerability.

“#BEVISIBLE is about vulnerability, allowing yourself to share your story and show your authentic self,” she says. “Oftentimes, people use our vulnerable moments in life to shame us or dehumanize us. But in reality, this makes us powerful. What makes us connect as people [is] knowing that I make mistakes, that I’m not perfect, and creating that conversation to allow people to feel the same way,” she said.

Enriquez won the Miss Nevada crown last June, first hurdling the Miss Silver State USA pageant in March. Earlier, she competed in transgender pageants and eventually won the Miss TransNation Queen USA crown in 2016 as the representative of California. ADAM LANG

Enriquez won the Miss Nevada crown last June, first hurdling the Miss Silver State USA pageant in March. Earlier, she competed in transgender pageants and eventually won the Miss TransNation Queen USA crown in 2016 as the representative of California. ADAM LANG

As a trans visibility advocate, Enriquez believes that the fight for trans rights is universal because it is about the freedom of any human being to go beyond stereotypes, other people’s expectations or any form of pressure that prevents self-expression.

“For women, they’re not given the opportunities that they deserve because of their gender when it shouldn’t be that way. And men are put in circumstances where they can’t be feminine and be masculine at the same time – and that’s not the reality. And so fighting for trans rights is fighting for the freedom to express yourself regardless of your gender without any limitations,” she says.

For instance, the name Kataluna reflects her fascination with the moon “and the beauty of it rising from the power of knowing your darkness and being able to put light.”

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Having succeeded in the Miss Nevada USA pageant, where “everyone was very accepting” thus fostering friendship and sisterhood among contestants, Enriquez is pushing on to the Miss USA 2021 competition in November with a sense of inner peace and healthy self-love, despite the possibility of getting bashed once again for being a trans woman contestant.

“With negativity, dedma lang, dedma lagi [don’t mind it, ever],” Enriquez says. “And then in terms of expectations, I don’t have expectations. I just want to do my best, represent our community and make another history.”

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TAGS: beauty pageant, gender identity, transgender woman
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