'Rose' fest welcomes married an 'trans' contestants

The Rose of Tralee is to welcome married and transgender contestants in a bid to make the festival more inclusive.

For the first time in its 62-year history, married women will be allowed to compete, and the age limit has been fractionally extended from 28 to 29. Under the rules a contestant cannot turn 30 before September 1, 2022.

Organisers have also clarified that anyone who identifies as female is welcome to participate.

In 2017, the festival was forced to explain that trans women were not barred from entering after reports emerged that a spokesperson allegedly said they would not consider trans applicants.

At the time CEO Anthony O’Gara told RTÉ: “It isn’t the case that transgender women are banned or barred – that would be completely silly.”

Speaking this week, Mr O’Gara said organisers now felt it was time to clarify that trans women are encouraged to take part, and that the festival welcomes diversity.

Throughout 2020 and 2021, the organisers contacted different Rose Centres around the world and asked for feedback on how the festival could move with the times and become more inclusive.