A man who was crowned “Miss San Francisco” will compete in the 2023 Miss California Pageant in July.
Monroe Lace, a man who identifies as a woman, won the Miss San Francisco pageant in March, qualifying the “beauty queen” to compete for the Miss California title next month. Lace is the first trans-identifying man to be crowned Miss San Francisco in the competition’s 99-year history.
“Every time I put on the sash, the weight of it reminds me of the weight of my job; of the responsibility I have to make a difference for young children,” Lace told CBS Bay Area.
Lace, 25, visits a different elementary school almost every day. In a video shown by the local CBS affiliate, Lace can be seen reading “Sparkle Boy,” a picture book about a boy who wants to wear women’s clothing, to a 4th-grade class at Tenderloin Community School.
The trans-identifying man told KRON 4 in March that he was “dreaming about this since I was 12 years old” and ran away from home.
In 2021, Kataluna Enriquez, another man identifying as a woman, competed in the Miss USA pageant as Miss Nevada. Lace seeks to be the second trans-identifying man to compete at the national competition. Another man competed in the Miss New Hampshire competition after being crowned “Miss Greater Derry” last November.
The Miss San Francisco winner claims to have received death threats and “mean comments about my appearance or the way I look.” Despite this, Lace is undeterred from his child-focused mission, saying that he “know[s] that there’s a trans kid out there … who is reading [Lace’s] story as well.” CBS interviewed one 4th grader, who described Lace’s appearance as “beautiful” and “normal.”
The push for men to compete in women’s competitions has become an intense cultural and political question, prompting GOP presidential hopeful Nikki Haley to label the issue “the women’s issue of our time.”
Female athletes like Riley Gaines and Paula Scanlon have spoken out against men in women’s sports, particularly concerning male swimmer Lia Thomas. Recently, ESPN commentator Samantha Ponder broke with her company’s orthodoxy to speak out against men competing in women’s sports.
Last year, a federal court ruled that Miss USA, whose winner competes for the Miss Universe title and is a separate organization from Miss America, could keep its “natural born female” policy under the First Amendment’s Free Speech clause.