Transgender Miss Universe hopeful vows to be role model for trans children
The first transgender woman to take part in the Miss Universe pageant has said she hopes to become a role model for trans children.
Angela Ponce, 26, will represent Spain in the competition in the Philippines in December.
“If my going through all this contributes for the world moving a little step forward, then that’s a personal crown that will always accompany me,” she told Associated Press.
Last month, Ponce beat 20 other contestants in the Miss Universe Spain competition to qualify to represent the country in the final.
Ponce, who lives in the Spanish city of Seville, wrote on Instagram after her win: “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.”
She also competed in the Miss World Spain competition in 2015 but lost.
“At the time, she said that “the problem lies in the education we received from childhood, we are not educated for diversity.”
Speaking about growing up, the champion said: “The hardest thing in the whole process is to see how my body did not develop as I wanted or needed.
“I was training as something that was not and could not do anything,” she continued, adding: “I care about being happy. To be me.”
The Miss Universe competition has only allowed transgender women to take part since 2012, after Jenna Talackova of Canada campaigned for inclusion alongside GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation).
The group successfully lobbied Donald Trump, who owned the competition at the time, to alter the rules so Talackova could compete.
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Last year, the former Miss Universe winner Pia Wurtzbach apologised after saying in an interview that she wanted a gay child to dress her and do her make-up.
Wurtzbach, a German-Filipina model who was crowned Miss Universe 2015, told the Filipino talk show Tonight with Boy Abunda: “I really believe they would take care of you when you grow old.
“This is not to say that you would not be taken care of if your child is straight, but based on my experience, a gay person has an extraordinary way of taking care of you.
“I want to experience having someone who is excited to dress me up, to do my makeup, to take care of me. He would be like my best friend.
“I imagine my child would be my best friend, and he’s gay.”