Monroe Lace has already made history in 2023 by being the first ever trans Miss San Francisco in the pageant’s 99-year history, but she’s got big plans from here. When Lace won Miss San Francisco as part of the Miss California pageant in March 2023, she became the second-ever trans winner of any local Miss America pageant. The first was Brían Nguyen, who was crowned Miss Greater Derry in New Hampshire earlier in 2023.
While many beauty pageants explicitly ban trans entrants, the official Miss America and its local event have never done so. The requirements merely state that the contestant must be marked as female on their birth certificate. The laws in California meant that Monroe Lace had been able to get her certificate corrected, but this is obviously still a hurdle in certain states.
Monroe Lace’s win and public presence come at an important time in the national conversation. With so much hate and exclusion currently targeted at the trans community by US legislatures, politicians, and pundits, it is important to have someone like Lace able to stand up and be who she has always dreamed of being. The ability for trans kids across the nation to see Lace living her life as Miss San Francisco is already a great step, but Lace isn’t stopping there.
Monroe Lace knows what it is to struggle and has managed to battle her way to where she is today. After her family was not accepting of who she was, she ran away from home in the middle of the night. Like so many LGBTQ+ youths, she found herself homeless and was the victim of sexual assault. Despite all of this, she has been able to push through. She is a graduate from UCLA, has earned her cosmetology license, and is now working as a hairstylist as she prepares for the next stage of her life.
San Francisco is the queer capital of the United States and has been a haven for many. But recent events suggest that might be changing.
Monroe Lace has plans to go to law school and become a deputy district attorney, but she’s already using enacting plans to use her platform as Miss San Francisco for good. She has a community service platform for her year as Miss San Francisco and is using that to help educate and push for legislation that will help survivors of sexual assault. Additionally, she is working to highlight the importance of living your truth, and she has already been visiting elementary schools on a regular basis as part of her Miss San Francisco duties and reading books such as Sparkle Boy to classrooms.
At such a distraught time for the LGBTQ+ community in the United States, Monroe Lace simply living her dream of becoming Miss San Francisco and providing that visibility would have been fantastic. However, in the face of hardship, Lace has repeatedly picked herself up and carried on and now she is working for the betterment of all. Monroe Lace’s year as Miss San Francisco is sure to have an important impact, but she’ll be one to watch well into the future.