The Miss United States of America competition is able to only accept biological females, a judge ruled last week.
U.S. District Judge Michael Mosman, a George W. Bush appointee, said the pageant organization can't be forced to let transgender women participate in its pageants.
The judge cited the Supreme Court's ruling in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, in which the nation's top judges ruled the state of New Jersey could not force the Boy Scouts organization to accept gay scoutmasters.
Mosman also told the court that Miss United States of America is an expressive organization, as opposed to a commercial one.
The ruling came in Green v. Miss United States of America. Anita Noelle Green, a male who identifies as a woman, sued the pageant corporation in 2019, alleging it could not exclude people who identify as transgender women.
"In a society where women receive fewer opportunities than men, women deserve a platform to compete, to speak, and to be celebrated. Defendant provides this platform through its beauty pageant—a competition where women express themselves, build confidence, and vie for the crown of Miss United States of America before a live audience," the organization said, adding that it selects contestants on criteria including character, age, biological sex, and residency.
In a statement in response to the ruling, Green expressed disappointment but said "we will be exploring ways to move forward."
"I believe United States of America Miss is on the wrong side of history for choosing to actively discriminate against transgender people, but the road to creating a meaningful change has always been a long and bumpy one," Green said.
"My client has nothing against the LGBTQ community. But the federal court’s decision upholds the important First Amendment right not to have others force you to present a message you do not support," he said. "My client believes that only biological, naturally born females are women. Others have the right to hold a different view.”