"Miss Netherlands crowns its first transgender winner”

Image credits: A young vs old Rikkie Kollé dressed up as Barbie.

For those who missed it, July 9 turned out to be a historic day in the Netherlands. On that day, Rikkie Valerie Kollé was crowned Miss Netherlands 2023, making history as the first transgender person to claim the title.

By Hiba Kilany
This news dominated the headlines of newspapers and social media platforms, capturing global attention.

It took me over a month to accept that an individual assigned male at birth had won a women's beauty pageant. Yes, let me repeat that: A MAN!

However, the issue goes beyond the gender of the winner in an exclusively female competition. It encompasses the various interventions, surgeries, and alterations that transformed a seemingly drab young boy into an entity straddling two worlds: the divine “god-creation” and the human “man-made”, the natural and the artificial, the male and the female. The outcome feels unjust, regardless of how it is framed.

Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, yet!

While beauty is subjective, there are established norms in specific pageants worldwide. Some degree of plastic surgery might be accepted in particular contexts, but it is not permitted in others.

Aren’t alterations ranging from breast augmentation, rhinoplasty, dental work, buttock enhancements, jawline adjustments, ear pinning, hair transplants, hormone therapy, and even hair removal too much to be carried out to be called beauty?

Doesn’t this individual’s inherent height advantage due to their male birth gender and the financial means to undergo surgeries that could influence the jury's evaluation feel like exploitation and luring?

Imagine a giraffe competing for the title of the tallest elephant in the room. Or a horse racing against a turtle in a speed competition. To me, this situation parallels such scenarios.

To "preserve the integrity of the female category," World Athletics voted to ban transgender women who had experienced male puberty from elite female competitions on March 24, 2023.

If transgenders are not allowed to compete in female sports, they should also be banned from female beauty pageants [I’d cancel the whole concept of beauty pageants if it were me, but that’s another topic!].

What strikes me as unusual is the push to normalise everything that doesn't conform: individuals with different body sizes and those with diverse sexual orientations—gay, bisexual, and more.

They're undeniably a part of our diverse world, yet why must we celebrate them at the expense of making others feel labelled as "homophobic," "fatphobic," and the like? When did advocating for a healthy, balanced lifestyle and traditional values become frowned upon?

Why must children across Italy sing lyrics like "I saw her kissing him, kissing her..."? I wholeheartedly support individuals with health challenges and weight issues but can't endorse a culture of self-indulgence and lethargy.

I understand we can't control who we fall in love with, yet is it fair to place a child in a situation where biological procreation is impossible in the name of Love?

If young people identify differently and want to explore their identity, they should be allowed to do so. But does that mean we have to broadcast it to the entire world? What happened to the concepts of privacy and intimacy?

Or have we collectively turned into unapologetic exhibitionists?

Apologies for the venting—let's get back to the topic.

Transgenders: Let this man-enhanced breed compete amongst same-kind humans, and let the old, unfashionable rest of the world live, compete, feel ugly or pretty, solid or weak like they should.

If this is where the world is heading, I will vote to let them have a league because this is what they are.


Hiba Kilany

Hiba has a demonstrated history of working in advertising; she specialises in Integrated Marketing, Advertising and branding with a focus on food, wine and tourism.
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2 comments on “"Miss Netherlands crowns its first transgender winner””

  1. 100% true.
    Acceptance, tolerance, are all the finest human virtues.
    But to celebrate and applause the unnatural is beyond comprehension.

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