Bailey Anne Kennedy makes history as first trans and Asian-American Miss Maryland USA

Bailey Anne Kennedy

Bailey Anne Kennedy has made history by becoming the first Asian-American and transgender woman to be crowned Miss Maryland USA. 

Cambodian-American Kennedy’s win on Saturday (1 June) means she is also the first military spouse to win the coveted title.

“I knew it was going to mean a lot for all the LGBTQ+ kids out there who might feel they don’t belong in a box, like me, growing up,” she told Washington DC TV station WDCW.

Kennedy, who said her platform represents “beauty without an expiration date”, added that she felt a sense of “sisterhood” from the other women who competed for the title. 

‘Not everyone has to agree with the spaces that you occupy’

On Instagram, Kennedy shared a post in which she revealed her desire to change the future so children feel worthy. 

“Not everyone has to agree with the spaces that you occupy, and it doesn’t mean that you aren’t worthy of these opportunities,” she wrote. “The work that I will do for the remainder of my life is to make sure that children who feel like me will never have to worry about the consequences of being who they are, by simply being myself and being a positive contribution to society.” 

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In a separate post, she wrote: “Whatever beauty means to you, I hope you can see the beauty of your potential or the beauty of your future beyond any circumstances.” 

Kennedy will now compete for the Miss USA crown in Los Angeles on 4 August. 

As well as Miss Maryland’s win, the national beauty pageant also saw plus-sized competitor Sara Milliken win Miss Alabama 2024. Milliken hit back at vile, cruel trolls who mocked her appearance following the win.

Two trans women competed in 2023’s Miss Universe pageant

Trans history was made in the world of pageantry last year when Marina Machete, the first transgender woman to win Miss Portugal, and Rikkie Valerie Kollé, the first trans woman to be crowned Miss Netherlands, competing to become Miss Universe. 

Despite not winning the title, both raised awareness of trans beauty queens and Kollé even thanked “the haters” for giver her “a bigger platform” than she could ever have imagined. 

In an interview with PinkNews, Machete said she hoped trans presence at Miss Universe would lead to erasing the “taboo for some people”, adding: “The only way to create change is to keep existing and keep occupying these spaces.” 

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