Catriona Gray on Miss Universe’s transgender candidates

December 17, 2018 - 8:30 AM
Spain's Angela Ponce
Spain's Angela Ponce, a candidate of Miss Universe 2018, as seen at the preliminary competition at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018. (MOU/Patrick Prather)

A month before she was crowned Miss Universe 2018, Catriona Gray defended transgender candidates who make it to beauty pageants against hateful comments.

A video of Gray being interviewed in the late night talk show “The Bottomline with Boy Abunda” last month recently gained traction on social media as the inclusion of Miss Spain Angela Ponce’s in the pageant is being questioned.

Those in support of Ponce shared the video and argued that members of the LBGT—particularly transgenders—should be freely accepted to join pageants without experiencing discrimination.

Although transgenders have been allowed to join Miss Universe since 2012, there are still continuous conversations on social media arguing that they shouldn’t be in the pageant since they lack “the essence of being a woman.”

Transgender supporters, meanwhile, recalled Gray’s answer in her previous interview with Abunda. The talk show host asked the Philippines’ bet before, “What is your stand on a transgender woman being one of the competitors in the Miss Universe 2018?”

Gray answered that she’s open to it since she sees “beauty queens more than a physical aspect” and said that they (transgender candidates) “represent something that has to be what (they’re) there for.”

Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach also shared her support toward Ponce and said that it is not an issue with the Miss Universe Organization.

“I always knew that transgenders are allowed to join Miss Universe and win Miss Universe. I mean, we have to also remember that (it’s) a lifelong process for you to become a transgender and for you to identify as a woman,” she said.

Miss Universe officially lifted its ban against transgender candidates after being under fire for initially disqualifying Canadian model Jenna Talackova from joining Miss Universe Canada.

Jenna Talackova
Transgender model Jenna Talackova poses with her red dress. (Facebook/World Transgender Organization)

Miss Universe President Paula Shugart lauded the initiative of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation for fully supporting Talackova and credited them for contributing to the lifting of the ban.

“The decision to include transgender women in our beauty competitions is a result of our ongoing discussions with GLAAD and not Jenna’s legal representation, which if anything delayed the process,” she said.

Transgender candidates in beauty pageants

In a poll done by, it was revealed that there are still people who disagree with transgenders freely participating in beauty pageants such as Miss Universe. About 50 percent agree with their inclusion while another 50 do not.

One transgender beauty queen shared that there shouldn’t be a separate pageant for transgenders and those who were born female.

Kylan Arianna Wenzel, considered the first ever transgender contestant to legally compete in a Miss Universe Organization after the transgender ban lifting, shared that she fully identifies as a woman.

“I am a woman, so I should be allowed to compete in a pageant for women,” she said in an interview.

“I am a woman, and I, along with many trans women, happened to be born in the wrong body,” Wenzel added.