Beauty Pageant World Life! Pageant World

Transgender women in beauty pageants: Gloria Diaz’s take and two other sides of the issue

Angela Ponce of Spain competes in the swimsuit competition during the 2018 Miss Universe pageant in Bangkok on December 13, 2018. (AFP)

Angela Ponce of Spain is the first transgender contestant of the Miss Universe Pageant, and she competed in the 2018 Miss Universe pageant in Bangkok on December 13, 2018. (AFP) [FILE PHOTO]

CEBU City, Philippines— (UPDATED) Women, who were born male but identify as female, have been breaking barriers and challenging traditional beauty standards today.

As they have often been excluded from mainstream beauty pageants and other similar competitions, a shift towards greater inclusivity and acceptance of diversity is now a growing trend. 

In 2012, the Miss Universe Organization made a groundbreaking announcement that it would allow transgender women to compete in its pageants. 

The decision to open its doors to all women, regardless of their gender identity, marked a significant moment in the pageant’s history, and sparked a conversation about inclusivity and representation in the beauty industry.

However despite it’s acceptance to the pageant world, controversies are still surrounding the participation of transgender women in female beauty pageants.

READ: Gloria Diaz objects to transwomen, married women, single moms in Miss Universe

Gloria Diaz.

Gloria Diaz says she is against including transgender women in the Miss Universe pageant, but instead transgender women should have separate competition for them. | [file photo]

Miss Universe 1969, Gloria Diaz

Gloria Diaz, the first Filipina to win the Miss Universe title in 1969, recently shared her thoughts about the inclusivity of the pageant towards transgender women. 

In a recent interview, Diaz said that there should be a separate competition for them as candidates

“Dapat kanya-kanya! O sige, di at least it gives people more chances, di ba?” Diaz said.

(It should be separate! So yes, at least now it gives people more chances, right?)

“Kasi, you’re representing this country. E, kung may mas magandang babae, o mas magandang tranny… mas mahirap kalaban ang tranny,” she added.

(Because, you are representing this country. And if the woman is more beautiful or the tranny is more beautiful…it will be more difficult to compete against the tranny.)

The shift to the inclusion of transgender women in the most prestigious pageant, Miss Universe is celebrated but still continues to face discrimination and violence.

Mr. Fahreinheit 2019 first runnerup, Kevin Garcia

First runner-up honors in the Mr. Fahrenheit 2019 gay men pageant, Kevin Garcia addressed his opinion about the statement of Miss Universe 1969 Gloria Diaz.

According to him, there is nothing wrong with Diaz’s opinion about a new breed of candidates being part of Miss Universe and perhaps people are just making a big talk out of it.

 “As LGBT, pageant alumnus and pageant fan, I see nothing wrong sa opinion ni Ms. Gloria Diaz. What’s wrong is how I think people make a big fuzz out of it and use words na she’s “against”,” Garcia told CDN. 

“Having those included in their campaign puts a significant amount of attention to the trans community and the mothers. At the end of the day, our opinion is ours and MUO [Miss Universe Organization] still holds the decision as to which direction they wanna steer the wheel,” he added.

Regal Oliva

Mandaue City Treasurer Regal Oliva says: “Transwomen should be given chances to compete, as women should also be given the same to join trans pageants.” | CDN Digital file photo

Mandaue City Treasurer Regal Oliva

In a separate interview, Mandaue City Treasurer and President of IBP Cebu Chapter, Lawyer Regal Oliva, stated that while she respected Miss Diaz’s opinion as a democratic expression towards beauty, she disagreed with the idea of drawing a line between the transgender community and beauty pageants like Miss Universe.

“Transwomen should be given chances to compete, as women should also be given the same to join trans pageants,” Oliva said.

Despite this criticism, the Miss Universe Organization remains committed to its policy of inclusivity and remains a leader in the beauty industry when it come to embracing diversity. 

“In a world where diversity is dictated by gender identities, we need to be more open to changes and welcome inclusivity. Let us stop more divisiveness,” said Oliva. 

These women have broken down barriers and demonstrated that beauty comes in all forms, regardless of gender or biological sex. 

It is vital to celebrate diversity and support those who challenge traditional norms and expectations, including both the transgender community and women regardless of civil status.


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TAGS: Diaz, Gloria, Miss Universe, Regal Oliva, Transgender
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