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Tipsheet

U.S. Beauty Pageant Has Constitutional Right to Exclude Transgender Women, Court Rules

Kevork Djansezian

Beauty pageant organization Miss United States of America LLC cannot be forced to allow biological males who identify as transgender women to compete, an federal appeals court ruled Wednesday. 

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The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that allowing transgender people to compete in the pageant would interfere with its ability to show “the ideal vision of American womanhood,” according to a report from Reuters.

The lawsuit was brought forth by Anita Green, a transgender rights activist, who reportedly claimed that the pageant’s policy of only allowing “natural born women” violates an anti-discrimination law based on gender identity in Oregon.

The judges said that the Oregon law, if applied to the pageant, would violate the organization’s free speech rights under the U.S. Constitution. The court agreed with the pageant that it “expresses its views on womanhood by determining who can compete," Reuters noted in its report.

"It is commonly understood that beauty pageants are generally designed to express the 'ideal vision of American womanhood,'" Circuit Judge Lawrence VanDyke wrote in the opinion. VanDyke is an appointee of former President Donald Trump.

VanDyke was joined by Circuit Judge Carlos Bea, who is an appointee for former President George W. Bush. Judge Susan Graber wrote the dissenting opinion. She was appointed by former President Bill Clinton.

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Late last month, a Thai business tycoon who is a biological male that identifies as a woman purchased the Miss Universe pageant organization for $20 million, as Townhall covered. Chakrapong “Anne” Chakrajutathib’s company issued a statement announcing the change and said that it is the first time the Miss Universe organization “will be owned by a woman.”

In 2021, a transgender person named Kataluna Enriquez made headlines after being crowned Miss Nevada USA, the first transgender “woman” to do so. Enriquez defeated 21 other biological women for the spot, according to NPR, and was allowed to compete in the upcoming Miss USA pageant that year. Once Miss USA is crowned, they go on to compete in Miss Universe. Enriquez did not end up winning the following competition and complained about facing “discrimination” at beauty pageants because they were not assigned a female roommate.

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