Beauty queen Angela Ponce has made history as the first transgender woman to join Miss Universe. She won the title of Miss Spain six years after the Miss Universe Organization lifted the ban on transwomen joining the prestigious pageant.
There are many reasons to celebrate the inclusivity and diversity of Miss Universe. However, some beauty queens recently expressed their disapproval of having transgender women in the pageant.
Reina Hispanoamericana 2017 Winwyn Marquez went under fire for her remarks that she’s not okay with the idea. “I’m really proud na sobrang happy, out na talaga, and everyone is respecting them, di ba? Pero Miss Universe per se, sana ibigay na lang sa natural-born women,” she said. She also mentioned that Miss International Queen exists for the trans community.
Winwyn later posted an apology on Twitter, clarifying that she’s not against it because the Miss Universe Organization already approved it. She also used the “I have friends in the LGBT community” card to put her point across.
— Teresita Ssen Marquez (@wynmarquez) July 13, 2018
The most recent beauty queen to comment on trans Miss U contestants was Bb. Pilipinas 2016 Maxine Medina. In an interview reposted by Pinay Beauty Queens on Instagram, she said, “Kung gusto mo talaga sumali, may pageants naman na right for them. Let’s give them an idea na meron naman talagang pageant for them para naman equal din sa girls, ‘di ba? Kasi may gusto din tayo i-share para sa women.” (If you really want to join, there are pageants that are right for them. Let’s give them an idea that there are pageants for them so that it’s equal and fair for the girls, right? Because we might want to share some things for women, too.)
When she was told that the Miss Universe Organization allows transwomen to join, Maxine said, “Well, that’s good! Wala na ko masasabi kasi president na yan, eh.” (I can’t say anything about it anymore because that’s the president’s decision already.)
In 2012, MUO president Paula Shugart made the decision to include transgender women in their beauty competitions in cooperation with the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). “We have to give credit where credit is due,” she said. “We have a long history of supporting equality for all women and this was something we took very seriously.” This move was made after Miss Universe Canada hopeful Jenna Talackova was disqualified in her country’s pageant because she wasn’t born female.
Think about this: If Paula Shugart didn’t approve of this years ago, do you think Winwyn and Maxine would outright agree with the idea of transwomen joining Miss Universe? Based on their arguments above, it’s unlikely.
Transgender women may not be born with female genitalia, but they identify as one and don’t see themselves as living the life of the gender they’re born in. They may not fit society’s conventional idea of a woman but we’re in no position to tell them what they should and shouldn’t be.
You don’t say you believe in equality but refer another pageant where they can join. If they want to achieve something bigger and get their message across in the world stage via Miss Universe, then why should anyone stop them? You think they can’t join because they’re transgender? That’s discrimination of one’s sexual orientation and identity.
Let us leave you with Coco Quizon’s quote that was somewher along the lines of, “They judge you by your beauty, not your vagina ownership.” Remember that.
Art by Marian Hukom
Meet Angela Ponce: The first transgender woman joining Miss Universe
Winwyn Marquez isn’t comfortable with transwomen joining Miss Universe
10 things you ought to know about Maxine Medina
Here’s what’s wrong with Karen Gallman’s stance on transgender restrooms