Miss Universe Pageant makes history with first transgender contestant


By Alana Peoples

On Dec. 16 history was made when Angela Ponce made her debut to represent as Miss Spain in Miss Universe 2018 as the first transgender woman to participate.  


Although she did not win the title, Ponce is the first transgender woman to have competed in Miss Universe. The 27-year-old model said it was “an honor and pride” to be part of the history of the Miss Universe.


History like this being made it absolutely incredible.

“I’d never try to change anyone’s culture or way of life. But by competing, I’ll make trans people more visible for everyone, which is a big stop. I’m not nervous. I’m excited,” Ponce said, according to a Nov. 28 TIME magazine article.


It is truly astonishing that the pageant finally allowed a transgender women to be a part of this competition. The LGBTQ+ community is being more recognized, and they’re finally getting their fair chance to participate.


In 2012, Jenna Talackova, who was 23-years-old at the time, was trying to represent Miss Canada for the Miss Universe competition. Talackova did her first interview since she was kicked out but then allowed back into the Miss Universe Canada competition, sat down with ABC News Barbara Walters on 20/20 and said the Miss Universe organization disqualified her because she was not “naturally born” a woman.


Talackova threatened to take legal actions against the Miss Universe organization, which at the time was owned by President Donald Trump, then changed the rules to allow transgender contestants to participate.


“Donald Trump has caved in a bit already; he has to go the rest of the way to say it loudly and say it clearly, that not only will Jenna be allowed to compete, but that the rule is gone. No if’s, ands, buts or ors. No conditions and no excuses. Otherwise, we are considering all Jenna’s legal options,” Talackova’s lawyer, Gloria Allred, said at a news conference, according to an April 2012 Vancouver Sun article.


For the organizations to comment that Talackova was not ‘naturally born’ a woman was illiterate of them. There shouldn’t be a reason to justify someone’s choice of identity. They should look up gender identity to begin with because this just showed the lack of knowledge the Miss Universe organization had on the LGBTQ+ community.


“As long as she meets the standards of legal gender recognition requirements of Canada, which we understand that she does, Talackova is free to compete in the 2012 Miss Universe Canada pageant, Nobody is capitulating … Like all the other contestants, [Talackova] is wished the best of luck by Mr. Trump,” Trump’s then-attorney Michael Cohen said, according to an April 2012 Vancouver Sun article.

After the rule was taken out, Talackova went on to finish the competition for Miss Canada, where she finished top 12 for the Miss Canada pageant and was one of the four contestants who was awarded “Miss Congeniality”; however, she did not advance to the Miss Universe round that year.


Six years later, Ponce was able to represent Spain in the Miss Universe pageant this year. As a society, there are still moments where some people completely forget and disregard the difficulties a transgender woman has to face daily, and everyone else in the LGBTQ+ community too. As time continues to pass by, there is always a chance to continue to improve on the negative views that still remain and to continue to grow, expand more knowledge and educate others more on the LGBTQ+ community.


It is amazing to see how people are more aware and educating themselves more instead of pushing it off with ignorance. It’s safe to say that step by step more and more doors will continue to grow and open for the LGBTQ+ community.


“If my going through all of this contributes to the world moving a little step forward, then that’s a personal crown that will always accompany me,” Ponce said, according to a Dec. 16 E! News article.