Transgender Miss USA contestant Kataluna Enriquez says that people simply weren’t ready for a transgender Miss USA, Yahoo! Life reports.
Enriquez, the first openly transgender Miss USA contestant, was named Miss Nevada in July before going on to compete at a national level.
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Enriquez (28) told the outlet that she believes she was cut from the competition because people “were just not ready” for her.
“It was an honor 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, and admitted that she was “shocked” about not placing in the competition.
“But I was more disappointed, because I worked so hard for it,” she said. “I think they were just not ready.”
Enriquez said that her closed-door interview during the contest was focused solely on her transition, while other contestants were offered up a varying range of topics to discuss.
“It was disappointing to me because I had so much more to offer, I had so much I wanted to talk about,” she said. “Others were asked about politics, climate change, so it was highly disappointing for me because I expected more … It’s OK because we made an impact … and I received a lot of support and love on social media.”
A representative for the pageant did not respond to the outlet’s request for comment on Enriquez’s interview.
Miss Kentucky, Elle Smith, went on to win the pageant and will go on to compete in the Miss Universe competition on Dec. 12.
Following her July win, Enriquez said that she was thrilled to be a “symbol of hope” for minorities.
“I’m a trans woman of color, a minority within a minority,” she said at the time. “I’m everything that’s not represented in our country, and [ready] to create conversations around what it means to be an American.”
She also said that she was initially worried that by going to a “red state” she would encounter violent protesters due to her status.
“Going into the competition, I was receiving threats, saying I need to prepare myself, that I was going to a red state, that they were going to protest, so I was very cautious — and every time I heard a ‘bang’ I was on high alert, and sometimes it would freak me out,” Enriquez she said.
She did not end up facing any protesters.