Catholic Activists in Africa Decry Inclusion of Transgender Men in Miss Universe Pageant

Credit: CitizenGO Africa

The inclusion of transgender men as participants in the Miss Universe pageant is “a stark departure” from an age-old practice that has made the contest “a cultural touchstone” and distress to female contestants, Catholic activists under their umbrella organization, CitizenGO Africa, have said.

In a Monday, October 23 petition addressed to Miss Universe Organization, CitizenGo Africa officials raise concern about the participation of two transgender women, Marina Machete and Rikkie Kolle, Miss Portugal, and Miss Netherlands, respectively, in the beauty contest. 

“Allowing men who 'identify as women' to compete in this global pageant is a stark departure from the traditions that have made this competition a cultural touchstone,” the Catholic activists say.

They add that the inclusion of transgender men into the pageant will be “emotionally distressing” to female contestants.

“Think about the emotional turmoil this decision will inflict on countless contestants who've dreamt of participating in a competition crafted exclusively for women,” they lament, adding, “Their hopes and aspirations are being trampled upon.”


These women's aspirations and hard work deserve to be honored, not overshadowed by changing the rules, the CitizenGo Africa officials say.     

They continue, “The hard work and dreams of women who have dreamt of becoming Miss Universe deserve to be honored and not overshadowed by changing rules.”

The Catholic activists further say that the pageant of Miss Universe has been a source of family-friendly entertainment for decades and changing its nature “will affect its appeal to audiences seeking wholesome viewing options.”

“We urge you to reconsider this decision and uphold the values of tradition, fairness, and the reality of gender,” they add in their October 23 petition.

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.