Transgender Beauty Pageant Contestant Jordan Davis Could Make History As the Next Miss England

The Miss England beauty pageant has an opportunity to make history this year. One of the contenders, Jordan Davis, is the Miss England pageant's second transgender contestant and could be its transgender first winner. Before the competition, Davis, 17, told the event organizers she was a transgender woman, but she did not come out to the public or the judges as transgender until after becoming one of the final 15 regional contenders from Coventry, out of over 300 contenders. If she wins, she will go on to the national finals.

Davis is the second openly transgender Miss England contestant after Jackie Green, who competed in 2012 and advanced to the national finals. Here in the U.S., there has yet to be an openly transgender contestant. Miss Pennsylvania even resigned her crown in protest after a transgender candidate from Canada was allowed to compete in the Miss Universe competition. So, keeping it classy, USA.

In England this year, Davis says she's received a lot of support from people involved in the pageant itself, though she's also received threats and verbal abuse from strangers who are upset that she's allowed to compete. "I was expecting it, but I wasn't expecting it to be quite as bad," Davis said. "I’ve been told that I wasn’t really a woman; that I shouldn’t be allowed to enter the competition; that the only reason I got through was because I was transgender; that I was fat and ugly and looked like a man in a dress." She also says she deleted her Ask.fm account because she was receiving death threats.

Davis has also said she's gotten "a bit irritated" by people who have tried to be supportive by saying she's "too pretty" to be transgender. She objects to the way this implies "you can’t be attractive if you’re transgender," though she knows people "didn’t mean it in a malicious way." Still, it is important to remember that transgender women aren't women only if they are "attractive" or can pass for female.

Davis herself hopes that her participation in the pageant will "provide advocacy ... for the transgender community." To others who may struggle expressing who they are, she says "Be yourself, if people can't accept you for who you are, that's their problem. You need to hold your head high." Here, here!

And apparently Davis' fellow contestants as well as pageant organizers have been very accepting and supportive. "The view that these shows are outdated and sexist are rubbish," she said. "I have had great support from the organizers and the other girls. It helps confidence, self image and self worth and it has helped me to learn to love myself."

Here's hoping many more transgender contestants follow in Davis' courageous footsteps and that she gets her shot at the Miss England crown!