Trans Miss Netherlands winner trolls her haters by thanking them for giving her a platform

Miss Netherlands 2023 Rikkie Valerie Kollé
Miss Netherlands 2023 Rikkie Valerie Kollé Photo: Screenshot

The first transgender woman ever to be crowned Miss Netherlands is defiant in the face of anti-trans online backlash to her groundbreaking win.

Last Saturday, 22-year-old Rikkie Valerie Kollé became the first trans woman to win the pageant, a moment she described as “spectacular.”

“I was in full disbelief when I was crowned Miss Universe Netherlands as the first transgender woman, ever,” she recently told Newsweek. “I’m proud of that and the night was amazing.”

But in the days since walking away with the title, Kollé says her social media has been flooded with messages from anti-trans trolls who reportedly say that a transgender woman should not have been allowed to compete in the pageant, let alone win.

“They see us as monsters, and my daily DMs are full of people wishing me dead,” Kollé said.

But, she told the magazine, she remains defiant. “Wishing me dead and telling me to suicide, those things are terrible to write, but at the same it’s only lifting me up because I get a bigger platform than I could ever dream of.”

She says the backlash has only fueled interest in her win, leading to media interviews in which she can advocate for trans people’s rights in her country. “The only thing I want to say to the haters is, thank you because you’re giving me a bigger platform than I can ever imagine,” she said.

Kollé said that despite a 2014 law making it easier for trans people to update official documents to reflect their gender, there are still barriers to accessing gender-affirming care in the Netherlands.

“I want to speak up for the trans people who need it,” she explained. “As a little kid I didn’t have someone to look up to. I really want to be that role model and inspiration for others.”

“I also want to do something [for] the trans healthcare waiting list [in The Netherlands],” she continued. “The lists are really, really long. And that needs to change because people need to get help as soon as they can because it’s a necessary thing [for people’s mental health].”

Kollé will now go on to compete in the Miss Universe pageant in El Salvador as only the second transgender woman ever to compete in the international contest.

“I made my community proud and showed it can be done,” she wrote of her win on Instagram. “Yes, I am a trans woman and I would like to share my story, but I am also Rikkie and that is what counts for me. I did this on my own strength and enjoyed every moment.” 

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