A transgender woman has, for the first time, been selected to participate in the Puerto Rico Miss Universe contest held in the largely conservative U.S. territory.
Daniela Arroyo González, best known for winning a federal lawsuit against Puerto Rico’s government that allows people to change their gender on their birth certificate, was chosen Thursday. It was her second attempt.
In the April 2018 ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Carmen Consuelo wrote that Arroyo and others who brought the lawsuit “have stepped up for those whose voices, debilitated by raw discrimination, have been hushed into silence. They cannot wait for another generation, hoping for a lawmaker to act.”
Arroyo also cofounded the Puerto Rico Trans Youth Coalition, a support and networking group.
Arroyo will compete with other candidates representing the island’s 78 municipalities for the Miss Universe Puerto Rico title.
The Miss Universe pageant has allowed transgender participation since 2012, with the first transgender woman competing in the global event in 2018.
Last year, a transgender activist and business tycoon from Thailand bought the Miss Universe Organization for $20 million.