Kataluna Enriquez will become the first openly transgender woman to participate in the Miss USA pageant and will represent the state of Nevada in November later this year.

The 27-year-old took the centre stage at the Miss Nevada competition last weekend and secured a groundbreaking win in the regional competition in Las Vegas on Sunday.

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She spoke about the historic step she is about to take on Instagram. She wrote, "My community, you are always in my heart. My win is our win. We just made history".

Enriquez, who is of Filipino descent, began competing in transgender beauty pageants in 2016, and first entered cisgender competitions last year.

During the Miss Nevada pageant, Enriquez -- who designs and sews her own outfits -- spoke of the harassment and violence she has faced.

"I told the judges that as a transgender woman of color and a survivor of physical and sexual abuse, I am everything that is underrepresented in this country," she told the Las Vegas Review Journal.

"Our voices matter. Those whose voices aren't always heard deserve the chance to be heard."

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The winner of Miss USA progresses to the Miss Universe pageant, which was formerly owned by former US President Donald Trump.

Miss Universe changed its rules in 2012 to allow transgender beauty queens to enter, after previously citing a rule that only "naturally born" women could compete, reported AFP.

If Enriquez wins the Miss USA title and participates in the race to the crown to Miss Universe, she will be the second person from the transgender community in the competition. Spain's Angela Ponce in 2018.