Angela Ponce, A 25 year old Transgender Woman, will be representing Spain in the upcoming Miss Universe 2018. Angela surpassed 22 other contestants and won the Miss Universe Spain recently, which merits her to compete for Miss Universe in November this year. This makes her the first Transgender woman to ever compete for the Miss Universe although she isn’t the first Transgender to join the pageant.
Jenna Talackova, A Transwoman from Canada, joined Miss Universe Canada but initially got banned when one of the pageant organizers recognized her from Miss International Queen which is a prestigious pageant for Transwomen held in Thailand. The said person contacted Miss Universe Canada Org. and the organization disqualified her on the basis of not being a “Natural-Born Female” which was a rule back then.
Previously, Miss Universe only allows Natural-Born Females to compete in the pageant. Due to Jenna being disqualified, she filed a case through her attorney to ask Miss Universe Canada to reverse their decision and allow her to compete since Canada already recognizes her as female. Before the case came to a decision, Donal Trump , previous owner of Miss Universe at that time, lifted the ban and allowed transwomen to join the pageant. Jenna was able to compete and made it to Top 12 but didn’t make it to top 5. She, however, won Miss Congeniality Award.
Miss Universe Org mentioned that they lifted the ban due to talks they had with GLAAD ( Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation ) and not because of the case filed by Jenna. Since that incident, Miss Universe Org already allowed transwomen to join the pageant provided that they comply with their own country’s gender recognition law. As long as they are recognized as female by their country and meet the other requirements of the pageant, they can join and compete fair and square.
This decision by the pageant is a big milestone for the Transcommunity as this means that slowly, the world is already starting to accept transwomen as the women they are. The incident that happened back in 2012 with Jenna definitely paved way for this great and revolutionary change. With Miss Universe allowing transwomen to compete, this definitely gives them a fair chance to carry themselves as the woman they are on stage and proudly represent their countries.
By: Des May, Trans-Educator