Angela Ponce won Miss Universe Spain on Wednesday, making her the first transgender contestant for Miss Universe’s global pageant to be held later this year.
"I think that this is something that is going to create — regardless of the final — the end of an era and the start of something new not only in the history of Miss Universe and beauty contests but in many countries' views of transgender women,” Ponce told the Associated Press.
“There are many other countries where the law does not protect them, so I think it is important that I say 'Here I am' and that I form a part of the diversity of what it means to be a woman, and that I have the same rights as all."
She noted the importance of recognising transgender youths to help end exclusion and bullying in schools.
"Transgender youths do not exist. Legally they do not exist,” she said.
Miss Universe allowed transgender contestants to compete in 2012. The decision was made after a trans woman was disqualified from Canada’s Miss Universe and considered legal action against the organisation.