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Miss Spain Angela Ponce

Miss Universe finally had its first ever trans contestant

‘I don’t need to win Miss Universe, I only need to be here’

Spanish model Angela Ponce made history by becoming the first transgender contestant to ever compete in the Miss Universe beauty pageant.

After being crowned Miss Spain, the 27-year-old represented her country in the international competition. She didn’t make it into the top 20, however, the prize went to Miss Philippines Catriona Gray on December 16.

Yet Ponce didn’t feel let down, explaining why just her presence in the pageant was significant. “I don’t need to win Miss Universe, I only need to be here,” she said, adding that it was “an honour” to be involved.

“My hope is for tomorrow to be able to live in a world of equality for everyone, simply for us all to understand that we are human and we must make all our lives easier together,” she said, according to Insider. “If I can give that to the world, I don’t need to win Miss Universe, I only need to be here.”

As well as elevating the trans community through her Miss Universe appearance, Ponce hoped to promote Spanish culture. She danced the flamenco and donned a traditional “bata de cola”.

“This is an iconic piece in Spain, also known all over the world; it is a precious reference of my country,” she said in an Instagram post.

The 66-year-old annual international beauty pageant started allowing transgender contestants in 2012. And while a trans model has not yet been crowned Miss Universe, Ponce's participation is being seen as a historic moment for trans visibility and LGBTQ equality.