Something cool happened this week at Hotel Bauen in downtown Buenos Aires. The first Miss Trans Argentina pageant was finally able to take place in Argentina (up until now it was held in Italy). Contestants, representing 18 different provinces tried to out-fierce each other and take home the crown.

Hold the collective eye-roll, I know we are all pretty grossed out by pageants but I have a hunch that this particular competition might actually have something to offer society (other than gems like these).

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Pageants are weird, let’s just put it out there. Sure Honey Boo Boo is cute, and yeah she’s provided me with more than a few catch phrases that I consider to be permanently part of my vernacular. Side note: I think Ms. Boo Boo spoke for everyone here in Argentine with her prophetic “a dollar makes me holla” quote.

However (sorry to get all gender studies on you) the general consensus on pageants is that as an institution, they are horrible, vapid events where the public watches young women and girls jump through hoops and objectify themselves.

So why should we give a hoot about this one? I think the proof is in the answers the contestants gave when asked what their dreams were.

In addition to your typical “like… I totally want world peace to be like, a thing” responses, one Argentina-Gonzalez-Beamonte-Simpatia-TELAM_CLAIMA20131209_0144_14contestant said that she wanted other girls like her to know that prostitution wasn’t the only option they have when thinking about how to support themselves in the future.

She has a solid point. The words “trans” conjures images of scantly clad ladies of the night lurking in places like Bosques de Palermo in the minds of many.

Contrast that mental image with one of 19-year-old Jazmín Soledad Martínez holding back tears as she gets crowned Miss Trans Argentina 2013. From the looks of it, Martínez has been a beauty for a while now, but in addition to being a formally trained model (yeah that’s a thing here) she now also serves as a progressive inspiration and role model to kids who might be having a tough time with gender identity. Boys who want to be boys get to imagine being firemen and super heroes, and typical girls get to imagine being teachers and princesses.

After this week’s competition, non-gender confirming kids have someone other than sex-workers to model themselves after. If you don’t think that’s a worthy enough cause then chances are you’re being dumb.

(Photos via Clarín.com)