Arts & Culture

Angela Ponce, First Transgender Miss Spain, Will Be First Trans Miss Universe Contestant

By Brian Oaster

On June 29th, Angela Ponce made history by accepting the crown of Miss Universe Spain as the pageant’s first transgender titleholder.

In December, she’ll make history again as the first trans woman to compete in the global Miss Universe pageant.

Ponce, a 26 year old from Seville, also competed for the Miss World Spain crown in 2015, but lost to Mireia Lalaguna. This year, Ponce beat 22 other contestants to represent Spain, and will compete against over 90 other contestants from around the world for the iconic Miss Universe title.

Asked about her motivation to run, Ponce replied “I think my motivation was that of any girl: making my dream come true.” She added that she’s driven to create a better reality not just for herself, but for future generations. “Tomorrow we will all be parents or grandparents and ‘my reality’ could be the one of anyone. When that time comes they will appreciate that there were people as reference that changed things.”

Trans Inclusion Still New to Miss Universe

Until 2013, trans women were excluded from competing for the Miss Universe title. That changed when Canadian model Jenna Talackova, who was disqualified in 2012 for being trans, successfully fought a legal battle to end the discrimination. Together with prominent women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred and advocacy group GLAAD, Talackova persuaded then-owner Donald Trump reverse the ban on transgender women.

Trans Voices Gaining Traction

The milestone emerges as trans voices in Hollywood are gaining traction, and several studios and agencies are committing to more trans inclusion.

“Society is not educated for diversity, it’s what made me go public,” said Ponce. “I mean, here I am and I’m not weird.”

The 67th Miss Universe pageant is scheduled to take place December 17th in Bangkok, Thailand—a city famed for its prominent community of trans women.

Brian Oaster

Brian is a Choctaw writer in the Pacific Northwest.