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Trans contestant misses Miss Universe crown but receives standing ovation

Trans contestant misses Miss Universe crown but receives standing ovation

Angela Ponce and Catriona Gray

Angela Ponce, the first trans woman to reach the final of the annual Miss Universe contest, failed to make it through to the last stages of the competition last night.

Ponce represented Spain. The final took place at the IMPACT Arena in Bangkok, Thailand. Ponce was among 94 women to reach the final – the highest number to ever take part in the pageant. However, despite being one of the favourites, Ponce failed to make it into the top 20.

The eventual winner was Catriona Gray of the Philippines.

The final was hosted by comedian Steve Harvey and supermodel Ashley Graham. Former Queer Eye presenter Carson Kressley and runway coach Lu Sierra provided commentary throughout the event.

Standing ovation

Ponce was the first transgender woman to compete in the Miss Universe pageant after its policy allowing only ‘naturally born’ women to compete was ditched in 2012.

Ahead of the competition, Ponce had tweeted that she was competing to help advance trans visibility.

‘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.’

At the competition, Pone received a standing ovation when she took the runway.

‘Simply for us all to understand that we are human and that we must make all our lives easier together. That reality for many people is going to change,’ said Ponce.

‘If I can give that to the world I don’t need to win Miss Universe, I only need to be here.’

Among those to send their congratulations to Ponce was actor Laverne Cox.

‘I can’t help but think about all that #JennaTalackova went through in 2012 to make this moment possible tonight for #MissUniverse contestant #MissSpain #AngelaPonce,’ said Cox. ‘Thank U Jenna and everyone who has come before us who have given us permission to dream. Congratulations Angela!’

Jenna Talackova is a Canadian trans model who launched a legal battle in 2012 to compete in the Canada heat of Miss Universe. It prompted the competition’s change in policy.

Catriona Gray: Miss Universe

This is the fourth time the Philippines have won the Miss Universe contest.

Gray has previously spoken out in support of several causes in her role as Miss Philippines. This includes encouraging people to test for HIV.

Last month she helped launch a new home-testing HIV kit and encouraged people to test. The Philippines has one of the worst rates of HIV in Asia, with a 174 percent increase in new infections since 2010, according to UNAIDS. There have been at least 7,579 new HIV cases this year.

See also

These hot Philippine social media stars are urging people to test for HIV