December 17th Update: Miss Philippines, Catriona Gray, was crowned Miss Universe on Sunday, December 16th. While Miss Spain (Angela Ponce) did not make the top 20 in the final competition, she still made history as the contest’s first transgender woman.
Pride Month might be over, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t celebrate this latest victory for the LGBTQ community. For the first time in history, a transgender woman competed in the Miss Universe pageant, and this is obviously huge news.
According to Express, 26-year-old Angela Ponce won Miss Spain on June 29th after competing against 22 other contestants—making her the first transgender woman to ever compete in Miss Universe. Considering the fact that, until 2012, trans women were banned from the competition, this is major for the pageant industry at large. In July, Ponce shared a photo on Instagram of herself in her crown after winning the pageant, thanking the people who have been there for her from the start.
Ponce wrote, in Spanish, that she has finally accomplished a lifelong dream and that she will continue working toward tolerance and acceptance for all people.
“Today begins a new chapter for me,” she wrote in Spanish. “I’m going to the @missuniverse pageant with the awareness and commitment to carry forward a message of inclusion, respect, tolerance, love for oneself, love for others.”
So many congratulations to Ponce—even though she didn’t ultimately take home the Miss Universe crown on December 16th (that went to Catriona Gray, aka Miss Philippines). All women deserve the chance to shine in whatever way they choose.