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Miss Universe includes first transgender contestant

Video Credit: Reuters Studio - Duration: 01:34s - Published < > Embed
Miss Universe includes first transgender contestant

Miss Universe includes first transgender contestant

Miss Spain Angela Ponce made history as the first transgender contestant in the 66-year-old Miss Universe pageant.

Saskia O'Donoghue reports.

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Miss Universe includes first transgender contestant

She may not have won Miss Universe, but she did make history.

Angela Ponce is the first ever transgender contestant in the 66 year-old pageant.

(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) MISS SPAIN, ANGELA PONCE, SAYING: "I think to be here, being the image, the voice and talking about women's issues, especially those of transgender women and minors, I think is allowing me to enter many houses, many homes through the TV and the press, and to create debates within families, conversations about something that has never been talked about and that is very positive." A group of her friends, family and supporters cheered on the reigning Miss Spain at a screening of the contest in her hometown of Pilas in the south of the country.

Despite her not reaching the final 20, they were still extremely proud.

(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) ANGELA PONCE'S COUSIN JOAQUINA ROJAS, SAYING: "This has been a historic day because a transgender person has reached a contest viewed by millions of people and the most important thing is that she has brought her message until the end.

A message of respect, tolerance and diversity for which she has been fighting all her life." The final was held in Bangkok on Monday.

It airs in more than 190 countries, with about half a billion viewers tuning in each year.

The Miss Universe Organization lifted a ban on transgender contestants in 2012.

Among the 94 contestants was Panama's first indigenous Miss Universe contestant.

Despite being the favourite in several bookmakers, it was Catriona Gray from the Philippines who won the crown.




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