Transgender Miss Greater Derry beauty pageant winner, Brían Nguyen sparks debate

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A teenage student has become Miss America’s first transgender contestant to win a local beauty pageant.

Social media influencer and business management student Brian Nguyen won the title of Miss Greater Derry.

Contestants between 17 and 24 compete against other women for the title, with the winner going on to vie for the title of Miss New Hampshire 2023.

In an Instagram post, Brian said she was “honoured” to win the title.

“No words can describe the feeling of having the opportunity to serve my community and represent my community for the very first time at Miss New Hampshire,” she said.

Critics were quick to accuse the competition of going ‘woke’ and taking opportunities away from female contestants after footage of Nguyen’s crowning moment went viral online.

Former Miss Great Britain winner and glamour model Leilani Dowdin said the other contestants’ had their opportunity “stolen from them by a biological male”.

“A biological male and an overweight one at that has just won Miss Greater Derry in New Hampshire. Brian who is not even a female name, caked in makeup, nothing like the pretty natural girls that entered the competition, has not only taken first place, they’ve taken away the chance for a female to have a scholarship and use that prize money for something towards her future,” Dowdin said in a video she shared on Twitter.

“I don’t know if they felt like they would be singled out, or whether they really are woke bunch.”

No stranger to controversy, Australian-American political commentator Dr Sydney Watson (who advocated for obese people to pay for two seats when flying) also criticised the win.

“The thing I can’t get over is that this person isn’t attractive enough to win any pageant, ever,” she tweeted.

“It’s like giving a participation award a participation award for being a participation award.

Others have heralded Nguyen’s win for diversity, size inclusion and marginalised women.

“What better story to share than history happening in MAO (Miss America Organisation). On November 6th, 2022 Brían was crowned Miss Greater Derry 2023,” one Instagram post shared.

“She is the first transgender woman to be crowned in the 101 years Miss America has been around.”

Previously responding to the criticism, Nguyen said that while she receives “thousands” of negative comments in her role as a social media influencer, she’s no longer negatively affected by the adversity.

The teenager has also utilised her campaign #QueensAreEverywhere which helps spotlight people in the community who have faced adversity and details how they overcame it.

“Firstly, have empathy for those who spew hate behind a screen,” she wrote on Instagram.

“Those are people who lack self confidence and are typically envious of the confidence and uniqueness you have as an individual.

“Secondly, you are a queen. Being a queen means not caring about what others may think of you, because you do you best.”

In 2021, Kataluna Enriquez became the first openly transgender contestant to compete as Miss Nevada in the Miss USA pageant. The national competition is the precursor to the Miss Universe pageant which was held in Israel that year.

After the 27-year-old was eliminated before Round 16 in the contest, she told Yahoo Life she believed the competition judges “were just not ready”.

“It was an honour just to be able to represent my community and be an example for young queer children who now know they don’t need to be limited by society’s standards,” she said.

Previously Miss United States pageant hopefully, Anita Green unsuccessfully sued the competition after she was not allowed to compete in the 2018 competition.

While court records indicated that Green had taken “medication to alter hormone levels and underwent cosmetic surgery in which Green’s male anatomy was reconstructed to appear as female anatomy,” the pageant’s qualifications barred her from competing.

These included rules that then-dictated that a contestant must be a “natural born female”, and not have previously posed nude, must be an American citizen and must have not been convicted of a felony.

However a decision handed down by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, said beauty pageants were not able to be forced to accept transgender contestants.

Originally published as Transgender Miss Greater Derry beauty pageant winner, Brían Nguyen sparks debate

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