Last night, Catriona Gray of the Philippines’ won this year’s Miss Universe pageant. However, she wasn’t the only winner.
Angela Ponce, Spain’s Miss Universe candidate, was the pageant’s first-ever transgender contestant. And even though she didn’t claim the crown, she was incredibly positive about her role in moving history forward for the transgender community.
“I don’t need to win Miss Universe,” Ponce said after she was eliminated. “I only need to be here.”
And Ponce didn’t only compete. The pageant gave Ponce a chance to speak about her important role in making the contest more inclusive.
“I’m here to represent diversity of humans in the world,” she said in a pre-recorded segment. “My hope is for tomorrow to be able to live in a world of equality for everyone, simply for us all to understand that we are human and that we must make all our lives easier together. That reality for many people is going to change.”
There was a ban on transgender contestants in the Miss Universe pageant until only 6 years ago. However, no transgender candidates made it to the final competition until Ponce. And what a wonderful woman to represent the LGBTQIA+ community.