Venezuela: a transgender model wants to shake up the country of the Misses

Venezuela: Transgender model wants to shake up Miss Country


Pop music blasted in a photo studio: model Sofia Salomon poses in a swimsuit, cherishing the hope of being the first transgender woman to participate in the Miss Venezuela pageant. 

“All eyes are on what is happening at Miss Venezuela,” she says. “If I was there, it would go down in history.” In Venezuela, “land” of Miss but also a conservative country, it would undoubtedly be an event more than elsewhere.

The country has no less than seven Miss Universe (1979, 1981, 1986, 1996, 2008, 2009 and 2013) and six Miss World (1955, 1981, 1984, 1991, 1995 and 2011), and the contest remains an appointment unmissable with millions of viewers and an extraordinary hype despite the crisis.

Sofia Salomon hopes to move the lines and provide “visibility” to the transgender community in this conservative society.


She participated in 2022 in Thailand in Miss International Queen, the biggest beauty pageant for transgender women, and ranked in the top 6.

“There got a lot of messages on social media from people who wanted me to enter another contest,” she says. “Now that Miss Universe and Miss World accept transgender girls, the possibility of participating in Miss Venezuela opens up to me,” she believes.

In 2018, Angela Ponce, then Miss Spain, broke barriers by being the first transgender woman to compete in Miss Universe.

For Sofia Salomon, who makes a living from modeling in Spain and in Mexico but also from a clothing brand she launched, the countdown has begun: the applications for Miss Venezuela will be closed on Wednesday. Each candidate will then be evaluated by a jury which will select those brought to compete.

Born in Ciudad Bolivar, a landlocked city in southern Venezuela, Sofia Salomon assures us that she “always had the support of my father, my mother and all my family”.

< p>“Hell” for some

“I had a beautiful childhood, full of respect and love, and that's what makes things easier, because you can show society who you really are,” she explains.

Not everyone who has changed gender is so lucky. “In Venezuela, being transgender is real hell for many,” laments Richelle Briceño, lawyer and transgender activist.

“The opportunity that Miss Sofia Salomon has is a message for society (…). Despite the fact that Venezuela is a very conservative country (…) transgender people here survive and impose themselves in the good sense of the word”, applauds the lawyer.

In Latin America, a A predominantly Catholic region, Argentina was a pioneer in allowing transgender people to change their marital status in 2012, followed by Uruguay, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

Venezuela has no legislation in this area. It allows name changes but, according to LGBT+ rights NGOs, this possibility is often complicated by uncooperative or recalcitrant officials.

“All of these countries have made progress in recognizing the gender identity, while Venezuela has remained stuck in obscurantism,” says Ms. Briceño.

Sofia Salomon, for example, has dual Venezuelan and Colombian nationality. Her Colombian papers indicate she is female, but her Venezuelan passport indicates that she is male.

LGBT+ groups have also unsuccessfully called for gender equality legislation. marriage or same-sex parenthood.

In this context, Sofia Salomon hopes to have a positive influence and emphasizes that participating in Miss Venezuela is not an end in itself: “Whatever happens, I will continue to be a successful woman. It always has been!”