The Puerto Rican Daniela Victoria Arroyo Gonzalez has just made history. She is officially the first openly transgender woman to try and win the crown in the Miss Universe Puerto Rico beauty pageant.

Arroyo will fight to be the Boricua who represents the island at the next Miss Universe. 

She is among 33 candidates the pageant announced this week to compete for the Miss Universe Puerto Rico 2023.

“She wishes to live in a less polarized society that appreciates and embraces differences,” the Miss Universe Puerto Rico pageant stated on its official page.

Daniela Arroyo joins a wave of change 

The selection of Daniela Arroyo is one more step in a series of pro-inclusion movements.

For example, Jakapong Jakrajutatip owns The Miss Universe pageant. She is a 43-year-old billionaire who is also a transwoman. 

She heads and is the proprietor of the JKN Global Group, one of Asia’s most important and largest content companies. 

The Miss Universe franchise was sold to JKN in 2022 by Endeavor’s IMG, who bought it from former US President Donald Trump.

Who would have thought that these types of hegemonic industries would open their doors to the LGBTQ+ community?

Arroyo’s story is nothing short of inspiring 

Daniela Arroyo is from Cabo Rojo, on the southwest coast of Puerto Rico, and the home of the Robin Hood of the Caribbean — el Pirata Cofresi.

When initially selected, Arroyo sent out a message of hope and thanks on her Instagram page. “Let’s make history together,” she said. 

“Daniela is not only making history in this pageant. She has been doing this since she was a teenager,” Pedro Julio Serrano, a Puerto Rican LGBTQ+ activist and president of Puerto Rico Para Todes, told mitú. 

“She fought for her high school to allow her to use a bathroom that respected her gender identity. This led to an order that paved the way for this measure to be adopted in all of the schools in Puerto Rico,” he said. 

“She is a definitively a woman that has made history,” Serrano concluded.

Puerto Rico thus becomes a platform for diversity 

The first transgender woman to participate in the Miss Universe competition was Miss Spain, Angela Ponce.

Ponce, 27, smashed through the barriers of the 66-year-old competition when it was held in Bangkok, Thailand, in 2018. It was also the first year the pageant featured an all-female panel of judges. 

“I never imagined (I would make it to Miss Universe) because I lived in a society where everyone said I couldn’t do that,” Ponce said in an NBC interview. 

It might now be up to Daniela Arroyo to carry it through.