Angela at Catriona
Catriona Gray to compete with trans woman in Miss Universe
Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo (philstar.com) - July 3, 2018 - 1:32pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines’ representative, Catriona Gray, will be competing against Angela Ponce, the first trans woman crowned as Miss Universe Spain, in the upcoming Miss Universe 2018 pageant.

The 26-year-old Ponce is also reportedly going to be Miss Universe’s first trans woman competitor after the Miss Universe Organization (MUO) has lifted the ban on transgender contestants in 2012, following a legal challenge by transgender TV personality and model Jenna Talackova.

Ponce was crowned in Spain last June 29, defeating 22 other contenders in the national pageant.

In an Instagram post shortly after her win, Ponce said in Spanish: “Bringing the name and colors of Spain before the universe is my great dream… 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.”

In 2015, Ponce, who is from Seville, represented Cadiz in Miss World Spain.

Miss Universe 2018 was originally planned to be held in the Philippines, in time for Boracay’s reopening, following the country’s successful staging of the pageant in 2016. But due to the Tourism department’s change of leadership, new Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat decided not to hold the pageant in the country yet.

Netizens on Twitter have been celebrating the supposed relocation of the pageant from the Philippines to Thailand with the hashtag #MissUniverse2018Thailand. Philstar.com tried to reach MUO for confirmation on the pageant’s new host country, but the organization has not yet responded.

CATRIONA GRAY MISS UNIVERSE
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