23-year-old Bernardo Ribeiro, a transgender man, has been allowed to compete in a male pageant in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Representing the city of Rio das Pedras, he will compete against 19 other young men for the title of Mister Rio de Janeiro CNB 2019 on Sunday, May 26.
Bernardo was born a girl but never identified with the female body.
He said, “I am fully aware that I am here not only by myself but by many people who now know they can dream. I open a door for thousands of trans, men, and women, who are accompanying me and know that they too can be here It’s a feeling of liberation.”
If he wins the state competition, Bernardo will travel to Bento Gonçalves, Rio Grande do Sul in September for the Mister Brasil CNB 2019 – a national pageant responsible for sending Brazilian representatives to Mr World.
The president of the Miss World and Mr World organization, Julia Morley, revealed at a press conference held in the Philippines that her competitions are open to transgenders.
It isn’t the first time a transgender was allowed to compete in a pageant that traditionally accepts only male or female. Last year, Angela Ponce from Spain became the first-ever transgender woman to compete in Miss Universe.