Transgender woman crowned Miss Portugal 2023

Marina Machete has become the first trans woman to win the Miss Portugal beauty pageant. Shortly afterwards, the well-known author Miguel Sousa Tavares lashed out at Machete on the evening news of a private TV channel, saying among other things that she was not a real woman but a "series of plastic surgeries" whom he would never marry. Portuguese media voice dismay.

Expresso (PT) /

Irrational male fears

Expresso sees in Tavares’ comments the reflex of an ultra-conservative world:

“I find it strange that men like Miguel Sousa Tavares only get upset about the trans phenomenon when it comes to beauty contests (where biology and strength don’t matter). Why don’t they get upset when it comes to women’s sports (where biology and strength matter)? Are they afraid of being cheated on? Are they afraid of being attracted to a woman who was born a man? I don’t understand. If we can imagine a world where men fall in love with robots and humanoids (Blade Runner and the like), why is it so strange to imagine love between a man and a trans woman?”

Henrique Raposo
Público (PT) /

This woman deserves our respect

Columnist Carmo Afonso recalls in Público the enormous willpower behind Machete’s journey:

“It is hard to imagine the emotional, psychological and physical ordeal that a woman like Marina Machete had to go through to reach the moment we came to know her as Miss Portugal 2023. ... Please take a few minutes to consider the agony of living in a body that does not correspond to your identity. Think also of the agony of subjecting your own body to such a profound transformation process. Then on top of that there is the constant struggle against family and societal prejudices.”

Carmo Afonso