Marina Machete, trans woman and Miss Portugal 2023. Image: Instagram
Marina Machete, trans woman and Miss Portugal 2023. Image: Instagram

Trans woman crowned ‘Miss Portugal’ 

Marina Machete will now compete for title of Miss Universe

Marina Machete, a 28-year-old trans woman, has won the Miss Portugal beauty pageant in Évora and will now compete with another trans woman for the title Miss Universe, to be held in El Salvador in November.

This is the first time in Portugal that a trans woman has won the title. It is not the first time however that a trans woman has competed in a beauty pageant: Ms Machete previously won the title “Miss Palmela”.

With a day job as a flight attendant (we are not told which airline), Ms Machete was awarded her latest title in Borba, in the southeastern Evora region.

She wrote over social media in three languages before her success: “Proud to be the first trans woman to compete for the title of Miss Universe Portugal.

“For years it was not possible for me to participate and today I am proud to be part of this incredible group of finalists.” 

A clip of Marina Machete’s promotional video for the competition shows how far the ‘testimonials’ by candidates have come. In the past habitually the domain of smiling ‘bimbos’, beauty pageants these days are moving into different territory: more like ‘campaigns’ for recognition in a rapidly changing world.

In July, 22-year-old Dutchwoman Rikkie Kolle became the first trans woman to win the Miss Netherlands title.

Both Machete and Kolle are now following in the footsteps of Angela Ponce of Spain, who became the first trans candidate for the Miss Universe title in 2018.

Reactions came quickly from CHEGA MP Rui Paulo Sousa, who wrote over Facebook that it was: “Without doubt a sad day for all those young women who dream of being Miss (Portugal) one day”. His comments elicited a torrent of righteous indignation about ‘transphobia’ and ‘homophobia’, but they were followed by many who appeared to agree with him.

The bottom line remains that the Miss Portugal contest was won by someone who is biologically a man.

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