The Miss Italy beauty pageant has announced that it will not allow transgender competitors, and all entrants must be "a woman from birth."
"Since it was born, my competition has foreseen in its regulation the clarification according to which one must be a woman from birth," Miss Italy Official Patron Patrizia Mirigliani said during an interview with a local outlet and reported by Newsweek.
"Probably because, even then, it was foreseen that beauty could undergo modifications, or that women could undergo modifications, or that men could become women," she added.
Evie Magazine reported that Mirigliani criticized efforts from other competitions to create inclusivity as "a bit absurd" and merely attempts to "make the news." She also claimed the rules for the competition always specified that entrants must be a woman from birth.
The news follows the Miss Netherlands competition crowning its first trans-identifying winner, Rikkie Valerie Kolle, which marked a major step forward for inclusivity that was also met with some considerable backlash.
Kolle received an immense volume of hate online following her win, but she said she was trying to focus on the positive side of her progress, which will see her compete in the Miss Universe competition, which has yet to crown a transgender winner.
"I thought we were really accepting . . . in the Netherlands, but the hate comments show the other side of our society. I hope that's a wake-up call," Kolle told Reuters, calling the comments unprovoked.
The Miss Italy competition has regularly made updates to maintain strict standards on entry, with a major update in 2012 to ban any contestant who had undergone plastic surgery, The Sydney Morning Herald reported at the time.
Mirigliani even banned "revealing swimwear," body piercings and tattoos, enforcing a black-and-white one-piece option only for the contestants to wear. She argued that the changes helped evoke the kind of "classic beauties" of the 1950s.
Those changes had elicited criticism from local media, with Il Giornale, a newspaper owned at that time by former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, arguing that no one wanted to see "little darlings dressed in clothes their grandmothers have would have worn."