The first transgender contestant made history at last night’s Miss Universe pageant in Bangkok, Thailand. Miss Spain, Angela Ponce, failed to make the final Top 20 round, but offered this defining statement: “I don’t need to win Miss Universe. I only need to be here.”
Ponce told the AP in July that she hoped to use her platform as a way to help trans kids and high rates of suicides among trans teenagers: “If my going through all this contributes to the world moving a little step forward, then that’s a personal crown that will always accompany me…”
Ponce spoke with TIME magazine in November about what her competition would mean: “More than a message to [Donald Trump], it would be a win for human rights. Trans women have been persecuted and erased for so long. If they give me the crown, it would show trans women are just as much women as cis women….I like to think that most people who don’t understand me, it’s not because they’re bad people. It’s because no one taught them about diversity. What you don’t talk about doesn’t exist—even though trans people have been here since there were people on earth.”
Es el momento de que se escuche nuestra voz alta, clara y directa, poner fin a un odio y violencia sin sentido. igualdad, respeto, inclusión, promover los derechos humanos ante el mundo y que mi participación en #MissUniverse pueda traer cambios visibles en la sociedad🇪🇸 pic.twitter.com/0PZb5qbwYT
— ANGELA PONCE (@angelaponceof) December 16, 2018
Tweeted Ponce before the event: “It is time for our loud, clear and direct voice to be heard, to put an end to senseless hatred and violence. Equality, respect, inclusion, promote human rights to the world and that my participation in #MissUniverse can bring visible changes in society.”
The first transgender Miss Universe contestant in the competition's history, Angela Ponce, says she's proud to represent Spain and increase trans visibility: https://t.co/FExUBVgRdC pic.twitter.com/q2IYlPv1v8
— CNN (@CNN) December 17, 2018
My National Costume in Miss Universe is a traditional Spanish "bata de cola". This is an iconic piece in Spain, also known all over the world; it is a precious reference of my country.🇪🇸 #MissUniverse #MissUniverse2018 #RoadToMissUniverse pic.twitter.com/zch650Zzbn
— ANGELA PONCE (@angelaponceof) December 11, 2018
— 🌷🌸 (@Jhaycie1231) December 17, 2018
"I don't need to win Miss Universe, I just need to be here."
Lola: Bakit sinama sya, eh bakla sya?
Me & friends: Babae po sya, nay 🙂
I am so proud of this year's Miss Universe Edition. Angela Ponce, you will forever be in our hearts.
— Kimber D 🌻 (@kimber_datu) December 17, 2018
The Miss Universe crown eventually went to Catriona Gray, Miss Philippines.
Miss Universe 2018 is… PHILIPPINES! pic.twitter.com/r2BkN8JpXh
— Miss Universe (@MissUniverse) December 17, 2018