On Monday, 21 transgender beauty queens from various Mexican states participated in a three-part beauty competition held in Mexico City, to increase transgender visibility in a country known for its violence against the trans community.
Ivanna Cázares, from the state of Colima, took home the crown as Miss Trans Beauty Mexico 2019 with second place going to Miss Baja California and Miss Mexico City placing in third. In its second year, the annual pageant was created in an effort to promote acceptance of trans people in Mexico. According to local LGBTQ+ rights group Letra S, Mexico is one of the world’s most dangerous countries for the trans community with 261 trans women killed from 2013 to 2018, Mexico News Daily reports.
Miss Colima, 27, wore an indigenous-themed costume with leopard print and feathers, while Miss Baja California’s costume featured grapes, a nod to her state’s wine vineyards. The first Miss Trans Beauty, Brenda Contreras was also in attendance.
The violence against the LGBTQ+ community has increased in the country since gay marriage became legal in Mexico City in 2010 (however, not all states in Mexico have legalized gay marriage). According to a report from the Cornell Law School LGBT Clinic and the Transgender Law Center released in May 2016, there are “no federal laws that explicitly protect transgender individuals from discrimination on the basis of their gender identity.”
Even in Juchitán de Zaragoza — a rural town in Oaxaca — where trans people, known as “muxe” are praised, their lifestyle is still not widely accepted nor formally recognized. “This new generation has muxes who are doctors, engineers, and lawyers – people who are fulfilled and successful, and who can dress and wear women’s clothing. In today’s world you can do it all — be dressed, wear heels and still have a career,” Amerika Pineda tells Narratively.