Angela Ponce, the winner of the 2018 Miss Universe Spain pageant, is now the "clear favorite" to win the Miss Universe pageant, according to some bookmakers.
What are the details?
Ponce, 26, who is the first transgender contestant in the Miss Universe pageant, is poised to win by a large margin, according to reports in The Blast and the Daily Mail. Ponce was born a male, but underwent gender reassignment surgery.
Ponce says that if she wins, she intends to make the message known to President Donald Trump in particular, and the world at large.
"As the competition nears, online bookies are taking action, and Ponce has grown to become the clear favorite with current odds of +600," The Blast reported on Tuesday. "The folks at MyBookie.ag compiled their list of where all the countries currently stand. To put it in perspective, the Miss USA Sarah Rose Summers has odds of +2,000 if she wins the whole competition."
The 2018 Miss Universe pageant will take place on Wednesday, Dec. 16, in Bangkok, Thailand.
In a recent interview with Time, Ponce said that if a transgender contestant won the competition, it would sent a message of inclusivity that would resonate around the world as a "win for human rights."
"More than a message to [Trump], it would be a win for human rights," Ponce said. "Trans women have been persecuted and erased for so long. If they give me the crown, it would show trans women are just as much women as cis women."
In 2012, the pageant announced that it would permit transgender women to compete after Canadian transgender model, Jenna Talackova, filed a lawsuit.
Talackova, a former finalist, was initially disqualified from competing because she is a transgender woman.
The contest, at the time, was run by Trump's New York City-based organization, and had stipulated that contestants must be natural-born women.
In a 2012 statement, GLAAD spokesperson Herndon Graddick said, "The Miss Universe Organization and Mr. Trump made it clear to GLAAD that they were open to making a policy change to include women who are transgender."
"We appreciate that he and his team responded swiftly and appropriately," the statement added. "The Miss Universe Organization today follows institutions that have taken a stand against discrimination of transgender women including the Olympics, NCAA, the Girl Scouts of America and The CW's 'America's Next Top Model.' "
Editorial update: This post has been updated to reflect a new headline. The first iteration of the article's headline posited Talackova as the "first transgender Miss America contestant." Talackova is the "first transgender Miss Universe contestant."
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