Netizens divided over win of transgender Rikkie Kolle at Miss Universe Netherlands 2023

July 10, 2023 - 4:58 PM
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In this July 2023 photo, Rikkie Kolle was crowned Miss Universe Netherlands 2023. (Miss Universe Netherlands/Facebook)

Dutch-Moluccan transgender and model Rikkie Valerie Kolle has been crowned Miss Universe Netherlands 2023 at the AFAS Theater in Leiden, Netherlands last Saturday, July 8.

The 22-year-old Kolle made history as she is the first-ever transgender woman to win the national title of Miss Universe Netherlands.

During the coronation night, Nathalie Mogbelzada, 26, from Amsterdam, secured the spot of first runner-up while Habiba Mostafa and Lou Dirchs received the titles of Miss Congeniality and Miss Social Media, respectively.

Meanwhile, reigning Miss Universe R’Bonney Gabriel of the USA and previous Miss Netherlands Ona Moody graced the glittering event as special guests.

Kolle succeeds Ona and will now prepare to represent the Netherlands at the 72nd Miss Universe 2023 pageant in El Salvador in 2024.

The result of the competition, however, sparked a heated debate among critics, questioning the integrity and fairness of allowing transgender women to compete in a traditionally cisgender beauty pageant.

Some argued that this may dilute the original purpose and essence of the beauty pageant.

“On the left is the guy who was just crowned Miss Universe Netherlands. On the right is the real-woman runner-up. Apparently the Dutch pageant judges think men who identify as women make the most beautiful women. This is woman-face misogyny, and it is sick,” said Robert Gagnon, a professor.

“If you’re mad about a man being crowned Miss Netherlands 2023, it’s my responsibility to let you know that it was (unfortunately) Donald Trump who overturned the Miss Universe Organization’s ban on transgender contestants in the first place,” Sameer Khan, a foreign policy analyst, said.

Others applauded the apparent progressiveness and inclusivity displayed by the pageant organizers.

The newly crowned representative of the Netherlands in the Miss Universe will be the second transgender woman to compete at the global edition of the pageant next to Spain’s Angela Ponce who participated in 2018.

The Miss Universe Organization is owned by Thai transgender business mogul Anne Jakkaphong Jakrajutatip.

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