Beauty queens Catriona Gray (Miss Universe Philippines 2018) and Laura Lehmann (Miss World Philippines 2017) share their thoughts about the first transgender woman, Ángela Ponce of Spain, joining the Miss Universe competition.
"Personally, I have no problem with it," says Catriona, who is set to compete at this year's Miss Universe. "But I do understand why there is quite an uproar amongst all the fans and different people looking at the issue because it is a very young discussion."
"It's traditional that it is [a competition for] natural-born women, but you know, I think it really depends on the Miss Universe organization if they allow it and that's [their] prerogative and also the bansa itself," says Catriona. "If that contestant who may be transgender can go through the casting process, become a candidate, get judging, and then earn the right to represent her country, then why not? Who are we to say, 'You know, that's wrong.'"
Laura also recently spoke about the issue, expressing excitement for the inclusion of a transgender woman in the biggest beauty pageant: "I am very happy that a trans woman is now a candidate for Miss Universe and I don't see anything wrong with it. If she identifies as a woman, if she feels like a woman, then she should be allowed to join a pageant for women regardless of the body parts assigned to her at birth. She's just as deserving as the rest of us."
She also captioned her Twitter post with, "We are not defined by how or where we are born, but rather by the people we consciously chose to become. Equality for all means prejudice against none."