Miss Oregon Pageant Sued for Transgender Discrimination

On December 16, an Oregon transgender woman filed suit against United States of America Pageants for barring her from participating in their annual Miss Oregon pageant.  

Anita Green of Clackamas already has two pageants under her belt. In 2017, she entered the Miss Montana contest, making her the third transgender woman to take part in a Miss Universe-organized pageant. This year she took the title in the Elite Miss Oregon competition held by Miss Earth USA.  

According to Willamette Week, Green first approached United States of America Pageants through Tanice Smith, the director of their Miss Oregon contest. After inquiring about the pageant via Facebook message, Smith provided her with the contest rules, which stipulate that contestants must be “natural born female.”   

Upon informing Smith that she was transgender, Green was told that Miss Oregon is a “natural pageant.” When asked if the rules could be changed to allow transgender women to compete, Smith replied “we would be happy to help you find a pageant that you qualify for, however at this time we do not anticipate the rules changing.”  

The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Portland, argues that United States of America Pageants discriminated against Green on the basis of her gender identity, stating “This policy, intentionally designed to exclude the specific class to which the plaintiff belongs – transgender females – is discriminatory because it denied plaintiff the full and equal advantages and privileges of defendant’s services in violation of Oregon’s public accommodations law.’’  

“Defendant’s ‘natural born female’ policy is not only unlawful, but it sends a hurtful and false message to transgender women that they are not women.” said Shenoa Payne, Green’s attorney. “Pageants that operate in Oregon must comply with Oregon law and may not discriminate on the basis of gender-identity,’’   

“This is about giving minorities a voice,” Green told Willamette Week. “I believe I’m beautiful, and I want to set an example for all women—cisgender and transgender—that beauty doesn’t have to fit into specific molds.”  

By Brandon Urey