For the first time in history, a transgender woman will be taking part in the upcoming Miss Universe pageant later this year.
According to Express UK, Angela Ponce from Spain has won her country’s qualifying rounds against 22 other contestants. She’ll be representing Spain in Miss Universe 2018 that is set to take place in Philippines this year.
Ponce took to Instagram and wrote, “Bringing the name and colours of Spain before the universe is my great dream. My goal is to be a spokesperson for a message of inclusion, respect and diversity, not only for the LGBTQ+ community but also for the entire world.”
However, this is not the first time Ponce has taken part in a beauty pageant. In 2015, she won the Miss Universe Spain title.
The Miss Universe Organisation ended its ban on transgender contestants in 2012. The decision came after transgender model Jenna Talackova legally challenged the authorities. Celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred took over the case as the organisation at the time was owned by current US president Donald Trump. She personally attacked the competition and Trump.
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While addressing the matter, Trump had said, “We made the decision two days before we even heard that Allred was involved. Had I known she was involved, maybe I wouldn’t have made that decision because she’s so easy to beat.” He also claimed that Allred was a “third-rate” lawyer.
Upon hearing this news, pageant president Paula Shugart agreed with Trump. She explained, “The decision to include transgender women in our beauty competitions is a result of our ongoing discussions and not Jenna’s legal representation, which if anything delayed the process.” She continued that the pageant has always celebrated equality for all women.
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