Miss Spain Angela Ponce did not win the title of Miss Universe last night, but let’s be real…she is the real winner. While Miss Philippines Catriona Gray won the Miss Universe pageant, it was Ponce who stole the show. The 26-year-old earned her spot to be in the Miss Universe pageant — against 22 competitors — and became the first transgender woman to ever compete in the historic competition.
“I’m competing because it’s what I’ve wanted to do since I was a little girl,” Ponce told Time magazine. “I’m showing that trans women can be whatever they want to be: a teacher, a mother, a doctor, a politician and even Miss Universe.”
Since 2012, transgender women have been able to compete in the pageant after a ban against transgender contestants was lifted. Back then, when the pageant was still owned by President Donald Trump, contestant Jenna Talackova attempted to compete in the Miss Universe pageant but was denied because she is transgender.
“The decision to include transgender women in our beauty competitions is a result of our ongoing discussions with GLAAD and not Jenna’s legal representation, which if anything delayed the process,” Miss Universe President Paula Shugart said in a statement in 2012, according to CNN. “We have a long history of supporting equality for all women, and this was something we took very seriously.”
Ponce’s historic presence in the pageant last night is seen as a huge moment for the transgender community. When asked how she felt about putting trans people on this global forum, Ponce said it feels completely natural to her.
“I’m not trying to impose anything on anyone,” Ponce told Time magazine. “I’d never try to change anyone’s culture or way of life. But by competing I’ll make trans people more visible for everyone, which is a big step. I’m not nervous. I’m excited.”
We hope to see more of Ponce in the future!