21/12/2018 12:21 GMT | Updated 21/12/2018 12:21 GMT

Miss Universe Accepted A Trans Woman For The First Time In History – Regardless Of Your Views On Pageantry, This Is Progress

As someone who's been disqualified from pageants for being transgender, I know how important this historical moment is

Angela Ponce is the first transgender woman to compete in Miss Universe

Miss Universe, a beauty pageant founded in 1952, is one of the biggest in the world. Historically it has always discriminated against transgender females as many others do by saying “only naturally born genetic females may apply” – or similar wording. This year however they removed this and accepted transgender females as the females that we are!

I’m a transgender female. I was a model and I still am a pageant girl, winning my first title, Miss Transgender UK, back in 2017. I now compete in natural systems as a female, even though I’ve had knock-backs like being disqualified from one pageant as I was not born female. I am now a self-employed photographer trying to help people of difference where so many industries don’t accept others.

2018 Miss Universe set a new standard this year, Angela Ponce, who won the title Miss Spain, is like me, a transgender female just wanting acceptance as a female. From my point of view as a transgender female this is life changing as it gives us hope that more people will one day accept myself and other transgender females as the females we are.

Miss Spain didn’t reach the top 20, but as I see it, this doesn’t matter – she made it to the finals on the Miss Universe stage and showed the world that she is transgender, but she is just as female as every other girl on stage. It would have been amazing if she had have won, but I truly believe the message has already been sent, transgender women are women.

Pageantry is bigger in some countries than others. Pageantry also carries a lot of love, and a lot of hate, some people believe pageants are outdated and don’t agree with people getting judged against each other. The point of this article is not to go into if pageants are right or wrong, it’s to highlight what a massive milestone moment this is that a transgender female has been accepted as a female within such a huge, world famous system and broken years of history of discrimination.

Aside from Miss Universe there are hundreds of other pageants out there, some small, some growing, and some going from a single country to international. Many still don’t accept transgender females. In some countries this is against equality law and gender recognition law, but unfortunately the discrimination continues. Let’s hope this amazing move forward will start change for acceptance. The message Angela sent out before the finals of Miss Universe was that she wanted to send a message to Trump. I think this sent a message to Trump, and hopefully to many others.

Let’s hope the world’s big organisations all follow and acknowledge for the transgender communities around the world that trans woman are women, trans men are men, and everyone is human and should be accepted for who they are.