Angela Ponce is the first trans woman to compete in the global Miss Universe pageant

For the first time in the history of the iconic Miss Universe pageant, a transgender woman will compete for the crown. 

Angela Ponce, 26, won Spain’s Miss Universe competition on June 29, beating out 22 other contestants for the coveted spot. Ponce, who lives in Seville, Spain, will compete in the worldwide Miss Universe contest set in the Philippines in December. 

“Bringing the name and colors of Spain before the universe is my great dream,” Ponce wrote on Instagram after she won. “My goal is to be a spokesperson for a message of inclusion, respect and diversity not only for the LGBTQ+ community, but also for the entire world.”

Transgender women were barred from competing in Miss Universe up until five years ago. In 2012, Canada’s Jenna Talackova was barred from competing because she was trans, but with the help of attorney Gloria Allred, she legally challenged the rule and got it overturned. The ban was lifted in 2013. 

“Let’s make history,” Ponce tweeted two days after she won Spain’s Miss Universe title. 

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Donald Trump's history with the Miss Universe organization
Donald Trump, co-owner of the Miss Universe Organization, poses with Miss Connecticut Erin Brady at a news conference after she was crowned Miss USA 2013 at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada June 16, 2013. REUTERS/Steve Marcus (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS
Donald J. Trump, co-owner of the Miss Universe Organization, speaks with reporters at the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico shortly after his arrival on May 10, 2001. Trump is in Puerto Rico for the 50th Annual Miss Universe competition which will be held May 11, 2001 in the Ruben Rodriguez Coliseum in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. sd/ME
Miss USA 2013 Erin Brady and Donald Trump (C), co-owner of the Miss Universe Organization, look on as Aras Agalarov, father of Russian singer Emin Agalarov, speaks during a news conference after the 2013 Miss USA pageant at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada June 16, 2013. Trump announced that the 2013 Miss Universe pageant will be held November 9 at Crocus City Hall in Moscow. REUTERS/Steve Marcus (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS
Billionaire Donald Trump makes a face at a friend as he sits next to Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso before the start of the 2003 Miss Universe pageant in Panama City, June 3, 2003. Donald Trump is part owner of the Miss Universe pageant. Amelia Vega, an 18-year-old high school student from the Dominican Republic, won the Miss Universe 2003 title at a sparkling ceremony in Panama City on Tuesday night, beating a field of 70 other pageant queens with her charm and charisma. REUTERS/Andrew Winning AW/HB
Donald Trump, the owner of the Miss Universe Organization, gives Miss California USA, Carrie Prejean, her sash during a news conference announcing that Prejean would retain her title in New York May 12, 2009. Prejean had been the recent subject of controversy regarding photographs from earlier in her modeling career and statements regarding marriage she made during the Miss USA pageant. BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (UNITED STATES ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS)
Donald Trump (R) poses with Miss Sri Lanka Jacqueline Fernandez backstage before the Miss Universe 2006 Pageant at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles July 23, 2006. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY REUTERS/Frank Szelwach/Miss Universe L.P, L.L.C./Handout (UNITED STATES)
Alessandra Mezquita, Miss Panama 2006, meets Donald J. Trump at a party hosted by fashion designer Tadashi Shoji in Pasadena, California July 8, 2006. Eighty-six contestants are competing for the Miss Universe crown on July 23, 2006. Picture taken July 8, 2006. REUTERS/Miss Universe L.P., LLP/Handout (UNITED STATES)
Donald Trump (L) poses with Miss Denmark Betina Faurbye backstage, before the Miss Universe 2006 Pageant at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles July 23, 2006. EDITORIAL USE ONLY REUTERS/Frank Szelwach/Miss Universe L.P, L.L.C./Handout (UNITED STATES)
Donald Trump poses with newly crowned Miss USA Kimberly Ann Pressler in Branson, Missouri February 5. Pressler will represent the United States in the Miss Universe Pageant scheduled for May 26 from Trinidad and Tobago. GH/JDP
Miss Universe 1996, Alicia Machado of Venezuela, (R) is greeted by businessman Donald Trump during a staged workout at a New York gym January 28. Machado is attempting to shed some of the excess weight she has gained since winning her title. Trump, who owns the Miss Universe pageant, sent Machado to a trainer to help with her exercise program. MISS UNIVERSE
U.S. businessman Donald Trump christens with champagne a new variety of rose that was named after him as the Trump Rose, in a ceremony sponsored by the Ecuadoran minister of trade, Ivone Baki, in Quito May 31, 2004. Trump is in Ecuador for the Miss Universe pageant, which will take place in Quito on June 1. REUTERS/Guillermo Granja GG
Donald Trump with STORM performers during The 2002 Miss Universe -Rehearsals at Roberto Clemente Colliseum in San Juan, Porta Rico, Puerto Rico. (Photo by Denise Truscello/WireImage)
NEW YORK, UNITED STATES: Miss Universe first runner-up Miss Panama Justine Pasek is crowned by pageant co-owner Donald Trump at a New York news conference 24 September 2002 to announce that the Miss Universe Organization has fired the woman wearing its crown. Oxana Fedorova, a 24-year-old Russian law student, was sacked four months after she won the pageant for allegedly being married and putting on weight. It is the first time in the pageant's 52 year history that the Miss Universe Organization has fired the woma wearing the crown. AFP PHOTO/Timothy A. Clary (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
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Ponce competed on the Miss World Spain stage in 2015 but lost to Miss Barcelona Mireia Lalaguna. 

“Society is not educated for diversity, it’s what made me go public, I mean, here I am and I’m not weird,” Ponce told Spanish newspaper 20 Minutos at the time, according to Newsweek. “I just have a different story, a woman who came to life differently but I’m a woman.”

La vida está llena de retos, de desafíos, comprender eso en mi vida ha hecho que hoy haya cumplido un sueño que siempre tuve, para ello lo único que necesite fue convertir cada obstáculo que se me presentaba como una oportunidad de crecimiento. Desde mi tenacidad, con constancia, disciplina, respeto, amor a mi misma cierro con La Corona del Miss Universo España una etapa donde camine de la mano de mi familia y amigos recibiendo siempre su apoyo y amor incondicional, sin ellos nada de esto sería posible. @daniela_fundacion por permitirme crecer y ser mejor persona a su lado. Y a mis preparadores @juliomatamoros_hair y @jorgematamorosmakeup por confiar en mi y regalarme su tiempo, sus conocimientos y su ilusión. Hoy comienza un nuevo ciclo para mí, comprometida conmigo misma, con mi misión de vida, con España, voy rumbo al @missuniverse, con la conciencia y el compromiso de llevar adelante un mensaje de inclusión, respeto, tolerancia, amor por uno mismo, amor por los demás. De la mano de @orgbemiss y @guillermoescobaroficial, llevando a adelante nuestro slogam: “SOMOS MÁS DE LO QUE VES”, les doy las Gracias por acompañarme en este maravilloso viaje, por creer en mí, por darme la oportunidad de poner un granito de arena por una sociedad que merece cambios, dejar una huella sembrada en cada ser humano que la vida me ponga en mi camino. Gracias por cada mensaje lleno de amor que me han enviado...

A post shared by ANGELA PONCE (@angelaponceofficial) on

Head over to Ponce’s Instagram or Twitter feed to learn more about her. 

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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