Transgender women are banned from entering the Rose of Tralee this year, with festival organisers confirming the news yesterday.
Selection events will take place worldwide from this month until June, but girls whose identity differs from their birth sex need not apply.
A spokesman told the Irish Mirror, “The Festival is a progressive organisation that always strives to reflect changes in society in the entry guidelines for women.
“Transgender women entering is not something we are considering at the moment, however, we will continue to review our guidelines.”
Banned: Transgender women aren’t allowed apply for the Rose of Tralee | BRIAN MCEVOY
The Rose of Tralee website states that applicants must never have been married, and must be aged at least 18, but not turn 28 by September 1. Then, when it comes to gender – it simply says “be female”.
The Transgender Equality Network Ireland spokesman Gordon Grehan said, “It’s a shame the Rose of Tralee isn’t keeping in line with how the country is going.
“It has changed to an extent in that it’s shaking off the ‘lovely girls competition’ image and is celebrating women and what they’re doing, it’s empowering and positive.
“It’s a shame they Maria and Parkins think trans women might not be great examples of Irish womanhood. It’s a missed opportunity and unnecessarily exclusionary.”
Change: 2016 Sydney Rose Brianna has called for women from more diverse backgrounds to apply for the competition
Last week, 2016 Sydney Rose Brianna Parkins, who previously hit out at the festival, called for women from more diverse backgrounds to apply for the competition.
“I need to hand over the tiara and sash soon. Calling all boss ladies to apply for 2017. Calling all feminists/mixed race/ queer/trans ladies to apply for the Rose wherever you live. I would just like to see the Rose reflect modern Irish society at home and abroad,” she tweeted.
“It can be intimidating to minorities as they might not have been represented in the past. I’m a hetero white woman with a degree and even I felt I wasn’t “Rose” enough. It makes it a hell of a lot more interesting if you have people with different life stories on stage,” she added.