Trans Contestant Kylan Wenzel Shines At Miss California USA Competition

pas-0120-missusa-3Kylan Arianna Wenzel made beauty-pageant history this weekend as the first trans contestant in the Miss California USA competition.

Representing Century City, Wenzel, 26, was one of 229 competitors at the showdown in Pasadena. Though she lost to Miss Greater San Diego Mabelynn Capeluj, the 26-year-old Wenzel should be proud to have broken down doors—and stereotypes.

Wenzel’s appearance follows a controversy in April 2012, when Miss Universe officials disqualified Miss Canada Jenna Talackova after learning she was transgender. In a rare instance of non-douchery, pageant producer Donald Trump reversed their decision and opened the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants to trans women.

By the time she heard the rules had changed, Wenzel was nearing Miss USA’s age limit. “I moved my [gender-reassignment] surgery up six months, I resigned from my job. Ever since then I’ve been just working on hoping to become Miss California,” she told Anderson Cooper on Friday. “I kind of just put it out to the universe and hoping it would happen. And then it happened.”

 “I so admire what Kylan’s doing, because she’s fought so hard to be here,” pageant producer Keith Lewis told Frontiers magazine. “When we talked about her participating, she said, ‘I really just want the other girls to accept me.’ And I think they not only accept her but will celebrate her because she’s loving and she’s open and courageous and she’s trying to do the best she can—like pretty much all of the rest of us.”