After four hours of posing for judges, making wardrobe changes and responding to questions on social issues, Ivanna Cázares beamed on Saturday as an announcer declared her Miss Transgender Beauty Mexico 2019.
The contest was conceived two years ago as a means to encourage awareness and acceptance of transgender women.
Cázares, originally from Colima, beat out 21 other contestants from other states in the Mexico City competition, which included bikini, evening gown and regional dress rounds, in which she sported a traditional-themed outfit with leopard print and feathers.
Second-place winner Miss Baja California donned a vineyard-inspired getup featuring grapes.
Mexico does not have a good human rights record with regard to transgender people, according to LGBTQ rights group Letra Ese. It says 261 transgender women were killed between 2013 and the end of last year, making the country one of the most dangerous in the world for transgender women.
Cázares, who has a degree in communications and owns a beauty salon, told reporters that the pageant was a transformative experience for how she views herself. She said that although her family was supportive throughout her gender transition beginning three years ago, she has struggled with gaining acceptance from others.
After being crowned pageant queen, however, she said she now sees herself as a spokesperson for the transgender community in Mexico.
“We want to bring a message to society of respect for the trans girls of Mexico.”
Source: The Associated Press (en)