Frequently Asked Questions
What is the purpose of Trans USA?
Founded by Gerardo Chavez and Luis Perez, The Mr. and Miss Trans USA National Pageantry System strives to celebrate and promote the development of transgender, non-binary, and gender-nonconforming leaders as visible advocates and role models for the community at large.
The primary function of Trans USA is to serve as an active representative of the transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming community; maintain visibility as a positive role model for trans youth and the community at large; and engage in opportunities that promote productive discussions at multiple and often intersecting levels. Trans USA is not a drag pageant, and performances are not required. Each representative should aim to embody these roles in the ways most appropriate to their personal and professional life.
I’ve read that Trans USA is not a drag pageant. What exactly is it then?
While it is true that many of our national titleholders have found success in the drag industry as well, Trans USA emphasizes the real person and their contributions outside of the entertainment industry. Although many contestants chose to compete using their stage names and represent their titles within the drag community as well, our fashion categories are not “drag” categories, and there is no talent category. Performances are not a requirement of our titleholders, but being a representative and engaging with the community absolutely are! We recognize that there are numerous ways in which this can be done and the value that each perspective brings to the national community.
What does the reigning national do?
The most important thing during your reign as Mr., Mx, or Miss Trans USA is being visible! Whether you choose to entertain, volunteer, conduct workshops, engage in public speaking tours, attend major national events, or some combination, you are given the responsibility and honor of making your reign your own. The sky’s the limit, and you will likely become an integral part of shaping the growth and expansion of our system over the next year.
Who is eligible to compete?
Trans USA is open to United States citizens assigned male at birth and identifying as transgender/non-binary. Mr. Trans USA is open to United States citizens assigned female at birth and identifying as transgender/non-binary. Contestants must be 21 years of age to compete. There are absolutely no requirements for surgery or HRT with Trans USA.
Note: The Trans USA Board reserves the right to refuse registration in exceptional circumstances involving severe misconduct, irreconcilable offenses, or patterns of behavior that fail to meet the professional standards specified in the most recent version of the handbook.
When and where is the national competition?
Nationals will be held November 7-10, 2024, at the Turner Hall Ballroom (1034 S 4th St, Milwaukee, WI 53204) in Milwaukee, WI.
What is the competition like?
The national event is not only a competition. It’s a retreat in which dozens of like-minded trans folks get together to discuss their major goals and celebrate the diversity of the trans experience with one another. Our guests travel from across the country to watch the competition, and our team is committed to making this a rewarding, fun, and engaging experience that you’ll want to relive year after year. This year, our competition will take place over the weekend of November 3-5, with registration occurring on Friday morning, followed by the first round of interviews and our welcome dinner. On-stage categories will take place on Saturday and Sunday, and there may even be a special after party following the competition!
How do I apply?
Contestant handbooks and application packets can be found at transusanationalpageantry.com or can be obtained by contacting our national promoter Gerardo Chavez, Mr. Trans USA 2022 Dylan B Dickherson White (Dylan Joseph), or our reigning title holders on Facebook. In the application, you’ll be asked to provide basic contact information, a brief bio, and to select three states you’d feel comfortable representing. We update our registration list regularly, so you’ll be able to see which states are still available at the time of application. Completed applications should then be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Once you’ve sent in your application and paid your registration fee to the national promoter (CashApp: $GerardoChavezVega), you’ll receive your welcome email and additional instructions!
My home state is taken. Can I still register?
Absolutely! We do not have preliminary competitions at this time, and there are no residency requirements for state representatives. However, we encourage folks to select states in which they have some vested interest and would feel comfortable representing in various capacities. Many representatives choose their birth states, nearby states, or states in dire need of trans representation.
I’ve completed my registration.
What happens now?
Once the Board confirms that your registration fee and paperwork have been submitted, you’ll receive a welcome email from email@example.com containing information concerning the next steps. You’ll also be added to our official group for qualified contestants to receive official updates from the national titleholders and administrative team.
How long will it take for my sash to arrive?
Sashes are ordered within 1 week of confirmed registration. As the sashes must be custom-embroidered for each contestant, our sash maker has specified that they may take 4-6 weeks to arrive depending on the time of year. Please plan accordingly when scheduling any photos or appearances during this time!
I don’t have any experience/I don’t feel qualified. Am I ready to compete?
If you’re a trans human, you are qualified! Trans USA is about celebrating the immense diversity of the trans experience, and our team works hard all year to prepare contestants for what they can expect at nationals so there are no surprises. From guidance to workshops to tips from other nationals and our former titleholders, you’ll receive all the information you need to ensure that your first time looks like anything but. We’re here to help you grow and succeed, and we don’t believe that a lack of experience in pageantry will have any bearing on your ability to shine.
I don’t feel like I have a “swimsuit body”. Should I still compete?
First, all bodies are swimsuit bodies. Second, yes! Our swimsuit category is scored based on the quality of your garment, your modeling ability, your ability to convey your personality in the overall presentation of the category, and how your suit fits ON YOU. We do not score based on body type in any way!
Is the event okay for children?
Yes! Our national competition is an all-ages event. We encourage families and large groups to attend, and many of our contestants bring their whole families to cheer them on.
I don’t have a lot of money right now. Can I afford to do this?
While a national pageant CAN be an expensive undertaking, it doesn’t have to be astronomical. Our national representatives can help you navigate how to request sponsorship and provide guidance on what may work for your budget. Our entry fees include your sash mailed to your home and have also ben reduced this year to ensure that the contest is as accessible as possible.
I’m registered but would like to have an official in-person sashing ceremony. How much would this cost?
In-person sashing ceremonies are not required, but many contestants find that they are able to increase visibility and support in their communities with these events, all while helping to raise funds for their national package. At this time, the cost for an in-person event includes the $250 national booking fee, travel, and lodging for the national representative. Contestants are free to partner with up to one other person for a “double crowning” to help reduce the overall costs.
I am unable to bring the national representative. Can I still have my ceremony?
Unfortunately, the event cannot be considered an official ceremony without the national representative. However, contestants are free to hold celebrations, benefits, and other types of events throughout the year.
Can I purchase a crown to go with my sash?
Yes! Contestants are permitted to purchase a SMALL crown of their choosing. The crown must be no bigger or more elaborate than the national crown, which can be viewed on our Facebook video page.
What is the Intro/PSA video?
While Trans USA does not currently hold state prelims, our state representatives still need to complete a few things following registration. One of these tasks is to create a “closing statement” or PSA-style video of approximately 90 seconds that can be aired to promote throughout the year. Contestants are encouraged to talk about any issue or goal that’s important to them. You can discuss a major issue affecting trans people in your state (e.g., bathroom bills, access to medical care, etc.), your goals should you win the national title, or any topic you think people need to know more about (e.g., why it’s important to use the right pronouns, how different people experience being trans differently, etc.). If you’re stuck on your video, our national titleholders can also provide some direction and help you work through it!
What should I wear for my registration photo?
Upon registering, you will have 14 days to send in an initial photo. For your initial registration photo, we ask that you wear something in white, whether that be a blazer, t-shirt, dress, etc. Please note that the sash should not be worn for these photos, and do not worry about having a professional photo shoot. This is meant to serve as a casual announcement, so any high-resolution photo taken with a quality smartphone will be just fine!
What’s the video interview like?
Upon registering, you’ll also have 14 days to schedule an informal interview with one of our national representatives. Sample questions are posted in our qualified contestant group, but the interview is meant to flow like a talk-show conversation, and the tone is quite casual even when discussing some of the more serious topics. Most contestants have stated that the interviews were quite enjoyable, and our goal here is not to scare you but to promote you in a way that makes our social media audience fall in love with you and want to follow you throughout the year! Interviews will be prerecorded, so you don’t have to worry about any major mistakes, as we will be able to edit the videos to make you look and sound your best.
How to Support
How do I become a promoter?
At this time, Trans USA does not hold state preliminary competitions. We are currently in the process of developing a plan for such expansion, and we welcome any inquiries so that we can begin building a pool of potential promoters that can help us build this foundation. However, there are still many ways you can support our contestants and our national event, whether that be in sponsoring an individual contestant, donating to the costs of producing the event or increasing the prize package, or providing other paid opportunities for our representatives throughout the year.
How do I become a sponsor?
The Trans USA National Pageantry System is eager to discuss potential partnerships as we prepare for our next national competition.
As a registered 501(c)(3), we do not operate our system for profit, and all money earned each year goes directly to supporting the community projects and advocacy efforts of our national titleholders. For this reason, we hope to discuss options for full or partial event sponsorship that will allow us to devote more of our operational costs to promoting these advocacy initiatives. We believe that this is especially important given the increased backlash and violence against the transgender community in recent years, especially in rural areas and against transgender women of color.
Such sponsorships allow us to make the national contest more accessible to contestants with limited resources and to provide more opportunities for our reigning titleholders, as we believe that finances should not be a barrier for those wishing to serve their communities in this official capacity.
While there are several pre-determined sponsorship tiers available, we are eager to develop individualized packages that provide mutual benefits for all involved. If you’d like to discuss the details of the event itself, what potential sponsorship may look like, the benefits to be gained by both parties, and the arrangement that would be most appropriate for you or your organization, please reach out to Mr. Trans USA 2022 Dylan B Dickherson White for more information.
What is the Outstanding Advocate Award?
To be selected by the reigning nationals, Outstanding Advocate will be awarded to the contestant providing the greatest contribution to a charity of their choosing. Although the amount raised for the contestant’s charity leading up to the competition will be a factor, other contributions such as time, labor, and promotion will be considered as well.
To participate, contestants may select any 501(c)(3) with an impact in the trans community, including the Mr. and Miss Trans USA system. Although participation is strongly encouraged, no additional points or favoritism in scoring will be shown to contestants based on the charity they have selected or whether they choose to participate in the running for this award.
Contestants wishing to be considered for this award should submit an official letter from their selected charity during registration at the national competition, which should detail the contributions provided by the contestant.
Bonus: Contestants choosing to raise funds for pageant expenses are often successful when selecting a charity to highlight during the process. Most often, contestants raising funds in this manner will contribute 50% of the donations to their selected charity and the remaining 50% to pageant expenses.