Miss Spain Angela Ponce Makes History As Miss Universe’s First Transgender Contestant
Although she didn’t win the crown, Angela Ponce broke barriers by becoming the first transgender woman to ever participate in the international Miss Universe pageant.
The first transgender Miss Universe contestant in the competition's history, Angela Ponce, says she's proud to represent Spain and increase trans visibility: https://t.co/FExUBVgRdC pic.twitter.com/q2IYlPv1v8
— CNN (@CNN) December 17, 2018
On Sunday, during the 67th Miss Universe pageant held in Bangkok, Thailand, Ponce represented her country of Spain.
During a video presentation at the competition, 27-year-old, Miss Spain, was seen speaking as tears ran down her cheeks as she expressed her hope for the future and her happiness for being apart of the competition
“My hope is for tomorrow to be able to live in a world of equality for everyone,” she began. “Simply for us all to understand that we are all human and that we must make all our lives easier together. That reality for many people is going to change.”
“If I can give to that to the world, I don’t need to win Miss Universe, I only need to be here,” she concluded.
Although Ponce didn’t make the competitions top 20, she was still honored to be a part of the competition and took to Instagram to express her gratitude.
“What an honor and pride to be part of the history of @missuniverse,” she wrote in the Instagram post. “This is for you, for those who have no visibility, no voice, because we all deserve a world of respect, inclusion, and freedom. And today I am here, proudly representing my nation, all women and human rights.”
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Que honor y orgullo poder ser parte de la historia de @missuniverse. Esto es por ustedes, por aquellos que no tienen visibilidad, ni voz, porque todos merecemos un mundo de respeto, inclusión y libertad. Y hoy estoy aquí, representando con orgullo a mi nación, a todas las mujeres y a los derechos humanos. • #missuniverse #missuniverso #confidentlybeautiful #thailand #bangkok #roadtomissuniverse #67thmissuniverse #angelaponce #spain #preliminar
During the competition, Ponce received a standing ovation as she walked the runway. The official Miss Universe Twitter account even dedicated a post to Ponce’s walk.
“A walk to remember. A historic night for #MissUniverse,” it wrote.
— Miss Universe (@MissUniverse) December 17, 2018
In June, Ponce beat out 22 contestants and earned the title of Miss Spain. At the time she won, Ponce told The Associated Press, “If my going through all this contributes to the world moving a little step forward, then that’s a personal crown that will always accompany me.”
In November, Ponce talked about issues that she has faced as a transgender model. “The fashion industry likes to talk about freedom and creativity. But many times I’ve gone to a casting and they’ve given me the job, and then later my agency calls and says they’ve changed their minds because they’ve found out I’m a trans woman,” Ponce told the New York Times. “I would just burst into tears.”
Since her transition, Ponce has faced discrimination because of her gender identity, but her family has stood by her side and have supported her decision to live as a woman.
Miss Universe, a show which was formerly owned by President Donald Trump, once held a ban on transgender contestants and wasn’t lifted until 2012. At this year’s competition, Philippines’ Catriona Gray took home the crown as the 67th Miss Universe, with Tamaryn Green of South Africa as runner-up and Sthefany Gutierrez of Venezuela as second runner-up.