The Spanish model says she wants to meet Miss Colombia despite her comments that the “pageant is for women who are born women”
Spain’s transsexual Miss Universe candidate Ángela Ponce has responded to criticism from Colombia’s beauty queen Valeria Morales that the pageant is “for women who are born women.”
“I will never try to change her opinion, that’s not my role,” Ponce wrote via an Instagram post on Friday. “My goal is to make people aware of my reality and to talk a little to the world about the lack of education on diversity, an important factor that without doubt leads to so much bullying, prejudices and violence.”
Morales, who was named Miss Colombia on September 30, slammed the fact that the Spanish choice for the upcoming competition 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.”
But the Spanish beauty queen said she did not want to let Morales’ comments affect her experience at Miss Universe, which will be held in December in Thailand. “I respect her and I respect that that is her opinion, but I don’t want to go to Miss Universe with any prejudice against her or any other colleague,” said the model from Seville. “I want to have a lovely experience and if she wants to get to know me, I would also like to get to know her.”
“I did not want to respond to the statements by Miss Colombia about my participation in Miss Universe but I see news stories, videos and photos that use snippets from earlier interviews with the headline “Ángela Ponce responds to Miss Colombia” that aren’t true. My opinion on the issue is this: I respect her and I respect that that is her opinion, but I don’t want to go to Miss Universe with any prejudice against her or any other colleague. I want to have a lovely experience and if she wants to get to know me, I would also like to get to know her. I will never try to change her opinion, that’s not my role. My goal is to make people aware of my reality and to talk a little to the world about the lack of education on diversity, an important factor that without doubt leads to so much bullying, prejudice and violence. I ask for respect for both my fellow competitor Valeria Morales and for myself.
Ponce also called for respect for both Miss Colombia, who has been harshly criticized for her comments, and for herself. As a transsexual woman, the Spanish model says she has been the target of constant abuse. “I have always had problems,” she told EL PAÍS in July after winning the Miss Spain title. “That’s built something positive and negative in me. I created a wall, I protected myself to survive. You make yourself stronger and you grow up sooner.”
With this message on social media, Ponce has strengthened her position against those who do not think she should compete at the international beauty contest.
“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,” she said in August in an interview on Don Francisco, a show broadcast on the US television network Telemundo.
This year’s Miss Universe Pageant 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.