If there’s one beauty queen that caught the attention of fans in the pageantry world today, that would be Angela Ponce. Angela makes history as she is the first transwoman who will compete at the Miss Universe pageant this year. Her win is not without controversy. Some pageant fans are not pleased with her victory, claiming that Miss Universe pageant is only exclusive for natural born women.
Transgender women were previously banned competing in Miss Universe until 2013 when Canada’s Jenna Talackova challenged the ruling.
“Bringing the name and colors 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.", Ponce shared in her Instagram post.
La vida está llena de retos, de desafíos, comprender eso en mi vida ha hecho que hoy haya cumplido un sueño que siempre tuve, para ello lo único que necesite fue convertir cada obstáculo que se me presentaba como una oportunidad de crecimiento. Desde mi tenacidad, con constancia, disciplina, respeto, amor a mi misma cierro con La Corona del Miss Universo España una etapa donde camine de la mano de mi familia y amigos recibiendo siempre su apoyo y amor incondicional, sin ellos nada de esto sería posible. @daniela_fundacion por permitirme crecer y ser mejor persona a su lado. Y a mis preparadores @juliomatamoros_hair y @jorgematamorosmakeup por confiar en mi y regalarme su tiempo, sus conocimientos y su ilusión. Hoy comienza un nuevo ciclo para mí, comprometida conmigo misma, con mi misión de vida, con España, voy rumbo al @missuniverse, con la conciencia y el compromiso de llevar adelante un mensaje de inclusión, respeto, tolerancia, amor por uno mismo, amor por los demás. De la mano de @orgbemiss y @guillermoescobaroficial, llevando a adelante nuestro slogam: “SOMOS MÁS DE LO QUE VES”, les doy las Gracias por acompañarme en este maravilloso viaje, por creer en mí, por darme la oportunidad de poner un granito de arena por una sociedad que merece cambios, dejar una huella sembrada en cada ser humano que la vida me ponga en mi camino. Gracias por cada mensaje lleno de amor que me han enviado...
She first participated in Miss World Spain 2015 representing Cadiz. The pageant was won by Mireia Lalaguna Royo, who went on to win the Miss World title in China that year.
I personally asked some of my beauty queen friends thru IG and Facebook DM regarding this hot issue and here are their responses:
Shanna Moakler, actress and Miss USA 1995
“I think people need to start educating themselves on what it means to be transgender and start taking the stereotypes out of it, for a person to fully transition it takes years and it’s a decision not taken lightly, Miss universe is a symbol of beauty and what is more beautiful then a person taking ownership of who they truly are and braving the world with their self-confidence fearlessly. Miss universe for me celebrates ALL women, of every race, creed, religion and culture. I find it comical people have issues with a person who has completely transitioned but not with women who have had so much plastic surgery their beauty is completely manufactured.”
Charlotte White, Miss Universe Great Britain 2018 contestant
“I am personally over the moon that she won Miss Universe Spain. I think it’s such an accomplishment and the influence it will have on others who are wanting to go through the transition. I am proud that Miss Universe org allowed this to happen in 2013 and now today we have inclusion and acceptance for individuals to be their accepted selves. We are all humans and Miss Universe allows us to celebrate beauty all across the word who are confidently beautiful in their own skin.”
Ena Velasco, Bb. Pilipinas 2018 semifinalist
"With the current issue of Miss Universe-Spain, it’s quite a challenge especially for us filipinos with conservative culture to welcome such idea. But as we go through time, culture also evolves and I don’t see anything wrong with it, especially if the rules of the pageant doesn’t apply or doesn’t specify such. I think that’s the first thing that we have to put into consideration, legalities.
In the world of pageantry, we beauty queens have made it our platform to empower other women and urge them to stand up for their rights and fight for equality. To make known to the world that WE exist and have the same importance in society as men and that doesn’t exclude Transgender women, who by the way are also women.
Their transition didn’t just happen in a snap of a finger. It’s a process they had to go through over time. Usually that process isn’t always easy. Many had to go through a lot of judgement, disrespect, and fear, the fear of not being accepted by society, worse, by their families. It’s a psychosocial and emotional struggle for them that we might not even know how to cope if we put ourselves in their shoes.
It’s a battle they continue to face every single day. When in fact, acceptance is just all they wanted, to be recognized as members by such discriminating society, to be included and take part in it.
Respect and acceptance is all we can give to them. An open mind and heart. If you cannot accept them, at least give them the respect they deserve as human beings.
We may have our own different opinions but at the end of the day we’ll have to leave the final verdict to the Miss Universe organization. Whatever decision they come up with, we’ll just have to accept and support the organization on that matter."
Raquel Wellentin, Miss North Dakota USA 2017
“I believe all women should be able to compete. We shouldn’t be isolating a group of women, because they weren’t born as a female. If she looks like a woman, then she should be able to compete. There should be criteria and restrictions before being able to compete in the pageant to prevent it turning into a drag show.”
Just because she wasn’t born as a female, who are we to say she hasn’t gone through hard times in her life. That’s what this organization stands for. It’s supposed to inspire and empower women.
The only thing she won’t understand is how it feels to carry and nurture a child. That’s it. But why should we judge her based on that? MISS Universe doesn’t even allow single moms to compete. They should allow it, because they are not married. Overall, we need to stop isolating a group of women. Instead, let’s empower each other and stop the negativity.”
Elizabeth Camilia Lee, Miss Earth Singapore 2017
“It's still a young topic that's why many people are voicing out their opinions without the support of prior references. But if the organization has decided to take this step to allow transgenders to take part, it shows that they are working towards a new strategy in empowering women and promoting diversity.”
|Elizabeth Camilia Lee|
Zarah Carbonell, Miss World Philippines 2017 Second Princess
“I personally see nothing wrong with it as The Miss Universe Organization is one that promotes being confidently beautiful and i think it takes a lot of that to rise up to a social norm. We proudly come together to advocate for gender equality yet tend to forget that equality excludes no one. At the end of the day, I feel that the issue is less about having a transgender join a beauty pageant, but more about our willingness to adjust a little so we can build a society that is inclusive for all.”
Andreia Gibau, Miss Earth 2017 Top 16 finalist from USA
“ I believe that if the country legally identifies her as female and the miss universe rules allows females to compete even if they’re not natural born I think it’s okay. As long as she’s on the same playing field as all the other delegates competing. I hope she uses that platform to inspire others but when it comes to official phases of the competition it has to be judged fairly on an even scale.”
Nia Sanchez, Miss Universe 2014 First Runner-Up from USA
“I’m all for it.”
What do you think? Should transwomen be allowed to join Miss Universe? Share your thoughts in comment section below.