The Miss Universe pageant that took place in Bangkok, Thailand, marks a moment in history.
Angela Ponce, the first transgender woman to participate in this pageant, did not make finals. However, many still perceive her as victorious.
Ponce is a role model for many people in the LGBTQ+ community. At only 27-years-old, she won Spain’s Miss Universe in the competition this past June.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Ponce claimed that she wants to use her position in the spotlight to raise awareness to the suicide rates of transgender teenagers worldwide.
She is using her platform in the media to bring attention to the discrimination and bullying that trans teens receive from the public. Unfortunately, most of these inequitable instances go unnoticed.
Ponce also mentioned to the Associated Press that if her efforts through these pageants help the world move forward, even if it’s only little steps at at time, then it’s a personal crown that will always accompany her.
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Que honor y orgullo poder ser parte de la historia de @missuniverse. Esto es por ustedes, por aquellos que no tienen visibilidad, ni voz, porque todos merecemos un mundo de respeto, inclusión y libertad. Y hoy estoy aquí, representando con orgullo a mi nación, a todas las mujeres y a los derechos humanos. • #missuniverse #missuniverso #confidentlybeautiful #thailand #bangkok #roadtomissuniverse #67thmissuniverse #angelaponce #spain #preliminar
The photograph above can be found on Ponce’s instagram.
Translation: “What an honor and pride to be a part of the story of Miss Universe. This is for you, for those who have no visibility, no voice, because we all deserve a world of respect, inclusiveness and freedom. And today I am here, proudly representing my nation, all women and human rights.”
A statistic shared by AP News states: “the European transgender group TGEU found that 77.5 percent of 885 transgender people over 16 years-old polled in Georgia, Poland, Serbia, Spain and Sweden had considered taking their own lives and that 24.5 percent of respondents had made at least one attempt.”
Suicide rates among trans teens is an ongoing conversation that Ponce advocates for in hopes to bring awareness and prevention to the cause.
Ponce said, “Beauty is used to sell everything around us, and beauty can also help us spread a message of equality.”