A transgender woman has hit out at beauty contest organisers after being told she wasn’t allowed to compete because she was born a man.
Bea Wood says she got to the final application stages of National Miss Inspiration Beauty Pageant, before being told she wasn’t eligible to take part.
The 28-year-old, who was born a boy called Ben, started transitioning four years ago and has since been in six pageants – five transgender specific and one open to all women.
However, the full-time model has been left reeling at the “appalling” treatment from National Miss Inspiration after being told she was unable to continue into the final stages – due to take place in April.
Speaking about the experience, Bea said: “I had sent pictures of myself off with my application and had no problem getting through to the next stages.
“I was so excited and started getting in touch with various sponsors ahead of the competition.
“Never did it cross my mind they would be any issues with me competing.”
It was only once Bea, who is a pre op transgender, got invited to the pre competition pyjama party, an annual event where all girls competing get to meet one another before the competition.
Bea wanted to check the other girls would be comfortable if she attended and so contacted the company director.
The model, who is currently single, explained this is when problems started to arise.
She said: “It quickly became apparent they weren’t going to be accepting and inclusive.
“The director said that, unfortunately, it was in their terms and conditions that I must be a natural born female so I would not be able to continue in the system.”
Bea admitted she didn’t read the terms and conditions but was shocked that her exclusion was included in them.
She said: “Although I should have read the terms and conditions, never did it once cross my mind they would prevent me from competing because I was born different to how I identify now.
“There shouldn’t be any preclusions about who can be included.
“You’d hope we, as a society, would be passed this, excluding people who are trans. It was certainly very disappointing.”
Bea, from Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire., claims by doing this, the pageant is violating the U.K.’s equality laws, including the 2004 Gender Recognition Act.
This protects trans people who have legally transitioned from being forced to reveal the sex they were assigned at birth.
Explaining how she felt in that situation, Bea said: “It felt like a kick in the teeth, like I was not good enough for them.
“In a community that I had always felt so comfortable in, here I was feeling excluded again. Welcome to my life.”
Explaining why she initially transitioned, she said: “I was miserable growing up, trapped, never truly myself. Now I feel happy and true to myself.
“I’m not changing from a man to a woman, I’ve always been a girl just not in the right body.”
Bea, who won Miss Transgender UK winner for 2017 and 2018, received a letter from National Miss Inspiration Pageant confirming her place as a finalist.
The letter stated Bea has received a place following a difficult decision trying to whittle down the finalists due to receiving hundreds of applications.
The pageant, which costs £110 to enter, is not the only pageant to include the rule Bea has found.
She added: “After this appalling incident happened, I wanted to see if any other pageants have the ‘entrants must be a naturally born genetic female’ in their T&Cs.
“So far I have found six in total, but I am sure there are tons. Something needs to be done.”
Bea, who runs her own support service for the LGBT community, explained why she wanted to raise awareness and stop discrimination.
She said: “I want to make the pageant industry exclusive and diverse, people I find have wrong idea about pageants and the people who enter.
“They think it is all pulling hair and stealing dresses, but it’s the opposite. It’s like a family and we all support each other.
“You also have to raise money for charity so they are a great thing to be part of, they just need to include everyone.
“I have several sponsors and businesses that believe in me and slowly more people are getting behind me.
“I don’t understand why some of these big pageant systems don’t accept all and show diversity.
“They say they empower women, well all I see is most of them discriminating.”
Miss Inspiration UK has been contacted for comment.