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Miss Spain Angela Ponce Welcomed As The First Transgender Woman to Compete In Miss Universe

Angela Ponce became the first transgender woman to compete in the final Miss Universe pageant last night.

Though she failed to make it into the top 20, the Miss Universe 2018 competition recognized that this was an important moment to honor. After the finalists gave their opening statements, a short video about her journey was played to the audience, followed by Ponce taking a solo walk down the runway to a standing ovation.

Ponce, who was there representing Spain, certainly knows what a big deal this has all been, and is taking her time in the spotlight seriously.

“What an honor and pride to be part of the history of @missuniverse,” she posted on Instagram in Spanish several days before the contest. “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.”

Trans women have only been allowed to compete in the pageant since 2012, after Jenna Talackova, a model from Canada, was disqualified from the competition for being trans. Talackova hired a lawyer to fight the pageant organizers on the matter, and they reversed their decision before it reached the courts.

Ultimately, this year’s crown went to Miss Universe Philippines, Catriona Gray. This is the fourth year in a row the Philippines have won the title.

But Ponce still feels like a winner.

“If my going through all this contributes to the world moving a little step forward,” she said, “then that’s a personal crown that will always accompany me.”

 

By Rachel Kiley

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