There are still two months to go before the winner of this year’s Miss Universe competition is decided, but the selection of Ángela Ponce as the representative for Spain continues to cause controversy. The latest criticism has come from the recent winner of Miss Colombia, Valeria Morales, who has slammed the fact that the Spanish choice is transsexual. “I believe that a beauty pageant like Miss Universe is for women who are born women,” she said in front of TV cameras at the weekend after winning her crown. “And I believe that for her it will also be a disadvantage, and so we’ll have to respect it but not agree with it.”
When Ponce became the candidate for Spain, her social media accounts were filled with taunts and insults
The comments were not the first time that Ponce has been criticized. When she became the candidate for Spain at the global competition, her social network accounts were filled with taunts and insults. “I have always had problems,” she told EL PAÍS during an interview in July of this year. “And that has created something positive within me but also something negative. I created a barrier, I protected myself in order to survive. You make yourself strong and you mature much quicker.”
The Seville native admitted at that time that her problems have not changed since she became a professional model. “It has happened to me with conservative firms and big companies,” she explained. “I go to a casting, they choose me, and then three days later they call me from the agency to say to me that they have seen that I am trans via my social media accounts and that they don’t want to work with me.”
But Ponce knows how to respond to all of these comments. In August, speaking on the US channel Telemundo, she said that she would tell someone who had a problem to respect her situation, “because the rules of Miss Universe allow me in. I have a right to be there. I am not a man wanting to be a woman, I never was. I’m a woman with different characteristics and I believe that this adds something rather than taking something away.”
This year’s Miss Universe Pageant, which will be held on December 17 in Thailand, will be the first in which a transsexual woman could take the crown. But Ponce is not the first transsexual to have entered the competition. In 2012, Jenna Talckova broke that barrier as Miss Canada, but she was disqualified when the organizers discovered that she was born a man. Talckova started a campaign to protests against the discrimination, and managed to get back in, eventually finishing 12th.
English version by Simon Hunter.