Kataluna Enriquez is the first openly transgender contestant in the American pageant.

Kataluna Enriquez, the first openly transgender Miss USA contestant, was eliminated before the round of 16 at the pageant Monday, prompting social media responses lamenting her finish.

The pageant ultimately awarded its crown to Elle Smith, a reporter at Louisville, Kentucky, television station WHAS. “This is quite the accomplishment!!” the station tweeted. “Our Elle Smith is your new MISS USA!”

Earlier in the day, Enriquez, 27, was celebrated as a champion in her home state, Nevada.

“Kataluna represents the best of her community and our state and when she takes the stage, she’ll make history!” Gov. Steve Sisolak tweeted Monday night.https://iframe.nbcnews.com/gMo8vAM?_showcaption=true&app=1

Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., agreed, tweeting, “Kataluna is making history as the first openly transgender woman to compete in Miss USA, and I couldn’t think of anyone better to represent the Silver State.”

In June, Enriquez outperformed 21 other contestants at the South Point Hotel Casino in Las Vegas to take the Miss Nevada crown in her adopted hometown.

That took her to Monday’s event at River Spirit Casino Resort in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Smith, the night’s winner, will head to the Miss Universe pageant next month in Eilat, Israel.

The Miss Universe pageant system, including Miss USA, began allowing transgender entrants in 2012. In 2018, Spain’s Angela Ponce became the first transgender contestant at the global pageant.

Donald Trump sold the U.S. contest to a Hollywood talent agency in 2015 amid backlash to xenophobic remarks about Mexican immigrants he made during the launch of his campaign for the White House.

Today Miss USA’s slogan is “Pageantry Reimagined.”

Enriquez, who is Filipina American, said she designs her own pageant clothing.

In March, after she won a preliminary pageant in Nevada, she spoke about being trans.

“Today I am a proud transgender woman of color. Personally, I’ve learned that my differences do not make me less than, it makes me more than,” she said, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. “I know that my uniqueness will take me to all my destinations, and whatever I need to go through in life.”

This post first appeared on NBC News.

Individuals remembered during Transgender Awareness Week

KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) — Staffing shortages are impacting many businesses across the east right now, and law enforcement agencies are no exception.

Kinston’s interim police chief Jenee Spencer said they’ve lost 16 officers in the past year and are now down 13 officers. She said a lot of them are leaving for more competitive salaries in other locations.

“We’re just looking to be in the ballpark of agencies like Ayden, Mount Olive, New Bern, little Washington and Pink Hill,” Spencer said.

This is why she made a proposal to the Kinston City Council Tuesday night to increase starting salaries from $32,869 to $37,799. This is in exchange for freezing six positions in the department.

“We understand the city of Kinston doesn’t want to do tax increases or touch our general fund so we made a proposal where we are willing to adjust our police department budget,” Spencer added.

She said officers are working overtime to fill the vacant positions to keep the community safe.

“We have a patrol division which are the typical officers you see responding to 911 calls and calls for service, and we’ve had to pull officers who are not only off work or should be on vacation,” said Spencer. “We’ve had officers willing to step up and work overtime and willing to move from one position to another to still provide the same police services to our community.”

Tonight’s presentation by Spencer was only a proposal for the council to now consider. Kinston City Council will have to place it on the agenda and take a vote on the matter.

This post first appeared first on WNCT 9 News.

PFLAG Manistee to share transgender man’s story

MANISTEE — PFLAG Manistee’s October meeting was scheduled to have a recording of member Eden Akins sharing his experiences from his 10 weeks of basic training in the Michigan National Guard. Due to technical difficulties, the recording was not accessible, so Akins will be sharing his story directly at the November meeting.

The meeting will be held virtually via Zoom at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

 Akins is an 18-year-old transgender man. Although he presents himself and identifies as male, he signed up at the age of 17 and entered the National Guard as his birth gender of female. Having graduated from basic training in August, he now fulfills his commitment by spending one weekend a month training with the National Guard. Eden is also enrolled at West Shore Community College where he is studying for his Bachelor of Arts.

“Akins has many enlightening stories to share about his experiences as a transgender man in the National Guard. Some of these experiences are positive and others are negative and hurtful,” reads a news release. “Akins’ experiences living and working in the area may open minds to a much wider view of the diversity in the community and to an appreciation of the challenges and the triumphs of one young person who lives his life with courage and pride.”

Anyone who would like to attend the meeting and hear Akins’ story should register online at pflag-org.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJcrdu2vpj0uH9yo3gzXFjOGRswn98_KtuLI.

This post first appeared on Manistee News.

Kindergarten Students in Connecticut Learn about Being Transgender in Line with ‘Social Justice Standards’

Elementary school students in West Hartford, Conn. public schools are being forced to undergo “social emotional learning through an equity lens” as district officials have reportedly told parents they may not opt-out of the curriculum, which aims to teach students a set of “social justice standards.”

Parents from the district contacted the non-profit Parents Defending Education to share concerns over materials being used to teach elementary students about group identities, including transgender content being taught to kindergarten students.

One parent raised a red flag about When Aidan Became a Brother, a book being taught to fourth grade students that the parent described as “full on gender theory” which is teaching students that the sex you’re assigned at birth is “wrong.”

“When Aidan was born, everyone thought he was a girl. His parents gave him a pretty name, his room looked like a girl’s room, and he wore clothes that other girls liked wearing,” the description of the book reads. “After he realized he was a trans boy, Aidan and his parents fixed the parts of his life that didn’t fit anymore, and he settled happily into his new life.”

When Aidan’s parents announce they’re having a second child, Aidan “wants to do everything he can to make things right for his new sibling from the beginning” including choosing the best name and picking out the right decor and clothes. The book asks what “making things right” actually means.

Another fourth-grade mentor text is a book about pronouns called They She HE Me; Free to Be!

The lessons are supposed to teach students in kindergarten through fifth grade about social justice standards including identity, diversity, justice and action.

The “identity” standard includes texts that teach students about transgender people and the use of preferred pronouns, including the inclusive singular “they.”

A mentor text for kindergarten students is Introducing Teddy which tells the story about a character and his teddy, Thomas. Thomas says, “I’ve always known that I’m a girl teddy, not a boy teddy. I wish my name was Tilly, not Thomas.” Another text for the kindergarten age group is Let’s Talk About Race.

Meanwhile, a first grade texts include Jacob’s New Dress, a story about a boy who wants to wear a dress to school and Are You a Boy or Are You a Girl?, a book about a character who “prefers not to tell other children whether they are a boy or a girl.”

Third grade students read a similar book called 10,000 dresses about a boy named Bailey who dreams of magical dresses but people in his life tell him he should not be thinking about dresses because he is a boy but later he begins making dresses with a new friend.

Fifth graders also read several books on gender identity including I am Jazz about a character who “knew that she had a girl’s brain in a boy’s body,” and It Feels Good to be Yourself which says, “Some people are boys. Some people are girls. Some people are both, neither or somewhere in between.”

In an email to parents, the district’s director of equity advancement, Dr. Roszena Haskins, explains that the schools have “redoubled district-wide efforts to attend to the social and emotional needs of children and adults.”

It explains that the aforementioned “social justice standards” come from the framework o the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL).

Haskins writes that “CASEL acknowledges that ‘While SEL alone will not solve longstanding and deep-seated inequities in the education system, it can help schools to promote understanding, examine biases, reflect on and address the impact of racism…close opportunity gaps and create a more inclusive school community.’”

“Essentially, SEL provides students with understandings and skills that they need to increase their social consciousness and act in ways that foster respect, empathy, fairness, and universal humanity,” Haskins writes. “SEL instruction sits at the cross-section of prosocial education that fosters safe, positive, inclusive, equitable and supportive learning environments.”

“WHPS teaches SEL through an equity lens, adapted from the Learning for Justice social justice and anti-bias framework,” the email adds.

This post first appeared on Yahoo News.

Students Stage Walkout in Support of Targeted Trans Classmate

Students at a high school in Berlin, Wis. rallied around a trans classmate earlier this month after he was allegedly made by a group of students to pull his pants down and lift his shirt. In response to authorities saying they found no evidence of an assault, students at the school organized a walkout.

The student, Lucas, said he had been sexually assaulted several times in the bathroom but feared coming forward. On November 3, a group of students surrounded him while he was in a bathroom stall and recorded a video of him through a hole in the door.

“I went back to my classroom crying and asked my teacher to see the counselor,” Lucas told local station WLWK. “I was uncomfortable, scared. I didn’t really want to walk around the hallways after that. I tried to ignore it, but it was hard. I finally spoke up to my friends about it, and now everybody knows about it.”

Lucas told the outlet he reported the incident to the school and filed a police report.

The police, in a statement to the media, said, “After multiple interviews and examining the associated evidence of the alleged assault, our investigation discovered no physical assault or attack against the alleged victim took place.”

Authorities have asked anyone with information about the video to come forward.

High school students then staged a walkout in protest of the police response.

“We sat there for a while and we were trying to get our questions answered, and we were kind of getting blown off and they were trying to get us inside, but we wanted this to be public, we wanted people to see us, hear us,” Berlin High School senior Amber Olmstead, the organizer of the walkout told local TV station WBAY.

“We want students to feel safe at a school because we’re expected to be there. So we should be expected to be safe,” Olmstead told WLWK. “At the end of the day, they are the adults. We are children. I understand they can’t control these students. They’re their own person at the end of the day. But they need to at least try and prevent them from being able to do all of this.”

Another student, junior Autumn Peterson, added, “There’s been a big past of assault and homophobia in our school, and it just needs to come to an end.”

A video showing the walkout has more than 700,000 views on TikTok. In the video, students can be heard yelling “Trans lives matter!”

The Berlin Area School District said in a statement to WLWK that it was “aware of a student walkout in response to allegations of a student assault at the high school.

“The Berlin Area School District is committed to the success of all students in a safe learning environment and we take such allegations seriously. The school district is cooperating with local law enforcement who are investigating this situation. The district is also conducting its own investigation.”

This post appeared first on Advocate.