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Miss Universe 2018: Spain's Transgender Contestant Makes History Despite Not Winning Crown

Source: Instagram

Source: Instagram

Miss Spain's Angela Ponce is blazing a trail as the first transgender contestant in Miss Universe's 66-year history.

  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: December 17, 2018, 8:55 AM IST
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Carrying a bold message of inclusion, transgender rights and a sharp rebuke to US President Donald Trump, Miss Spain's Angela Ponce is blazing a trail as the first transgender contestant in Miss Universe's 66-year history.

The willowy beauty is making history since the pageant reversed a longstanding policy in 2012 that participants must be "naturally born" women.

Explaining her broad appeal the plain-speaking 27-year-old says "who hasn't suffered from prejudice? Who hasn't had to deal with bullying?"

Outside the walls of Miss Universe the transgender community continues to be marginalised and misunderstood, with high rates of suicide.

A leaked White House report said President Trump's administration is considering pushing changes to the law to define gender by biological traits at birth, while trying to block transgender people from military service.

Ponce is defiant about how to respond to Trump, a former owner of Miss Universe, and others who would try to box her in by physical traits.

"I always say: having a vagina didn't transform me into a woman. I am a woman, already before birth, because my identity is here," she told AFP, gesturing to her head.

She also took issue with the classification of trans people by large sections of society based on prejudice and narrow assessments of gender.

"Outsiders say what I can and cannot do, what I am and what I am not,'" Ponce said, noting, "No, I'm sorry. To be a woman is your identity. It doesn't matter if you are white, black, if you have a vagina... if you have a penis."

Ponce, who works with a foundation in Spain helping children struggling with stigma linked to being trans, is aware of the visibility she brings to the Miss Universe platform.

Her performance has drawn praise, from her portrayal of a flamenco dancer during the national costume portion of the competition to her strut down the runway in a shimmery mermaid-like gown in the evening dress category.

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@missuniverse Para mí es un #orgullo representaros, el #Universo es el límite. 🇪🇸👑✨✨ Podéis apoyarme para ser la próxima #MissUniverso2018, es el momento de que se escuche nuestra voz, alta y clara, directa. 👸🏼✨✨ What an honour has been represent you all, I’m #proud, the #Universe is the limit. 🇪🇸👑✨✨ It’s time for your support one last time in this journey for being #MissUniverse2018, it’s the moment to face it with our voice, loud and clear, right through. 👸🏼✨✨ 🔴 EN VIVO / LIVE STREAM @foxtv SUNDAY DECEMBER 16 14:00 🇺🇸 Honolulu 16:00 🇺🇸 Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas 18:00 🇺🇸 Chicago 18:00 🇲🇽 Mexico City 19:00 🇺🇸 New York, Miami 19:00 🇨🇦 Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal 19:00 🇨🇴 Bogota 19:00 🇵🇦 Panama City 19:00 🇵🇪 Lima 20:00 🇵🇷 San Juan 20:00 🇻🇪 Caracas 20:00 🇩🇴 Santo Domingo 21:00 🇦🇷 Buenos Aires 21:00 🇨🇱 Santiago 22:00 🇧🇷 Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo MONDAY DECEMBER 17 0:00 🇮🇨 Canary Islands 0:00 🇬🇧 London 1:00 🇪🇸 Madrid, Barcelona 1:00 🇫🇷 Paris 1:00 🇩🇪 Berlin 1:00 🇮🇹 Rome 2:00 🇿🇦 Cape Town 2:00 🇮🇱 Jerusalem 2:00 🇱🇧 Beirut 2:00 🇬🇷 Athens 2:00 🇪🇬 Cairo 3:00 🇷🇺 Moscow 4:00 🇦🇪 Dubai 5:30 🇮🇳 New Delhi 7:00 🇹🇭 Bangkok 7:00 🇮🇩 Jakarta 7:00 🇻🇳 Hanoi 8:00 🇵🇭 Manila 8:00 🇨🇳 Beijing, Shanghai 8:00 🇲🇾 Kuala Lumpur 9:00 🇯🇵 Tokyo 9:00 🇰🇷 Seoul 11:00 🇦🇺 Sydney 13:00 🇳🇿 Wellington #67thmissuniverse #bangkok #thailand #angelaponce #confidentlybeautiful #missuniverse #missuniverso #tailandia #missuniversespain2018 #missuniversespain #missuniversoespaña2018 #missuniversoespaña #missespaña2018 #missespaña #missspain2018 #missspain #españa #spain #pilas #sevilla #madrid #barcelona #malaga #beyourself

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"You can empower yourself like I have and turn something negative into your biggest strength," she said, adding, "Children are born without prejudices and I think that if we talk to them about diversity from a young age... we can create a new generation of human beings who are raised a lot better, more tolerant and respectful."

This year's event, which critics say was a throwback to stereotypes of the the pre #MeToo era, largely preached a message of inclusivity. It boasted an all-women panel of judges made up of business leaders and former Miss Universe titleholders.

But gaffes still abounded -- Miss USA Sarah Rose Summers got in hot water for appearing to mock the contestants from Vietnam and Cambodia on social media for not being able to speak English. She has since posted an apology on instagram, saying she did not "intend to hurt" her fellow competitors.

Monday's event saw last year's winner Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters of South Africa crown her successor, Ms Philippines, among 94 countries in a live televised event hosted by American comic turned TV host Steve Harvey and supermodel Ashley Graham.

(With AFP Relaxnews inputs)

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