MANILA , Philippines -- Miss Universe 1969 Gloria Diaz welcomed the decision of pageant organizers to accept transgender candidates but cautioned that winning the popular contest is another battle altogether.
In an interview during the press conference for Regal Films' latest offering "Mommy Returns" on Monday night, Diaz said it is still up to the different countries if they are willing to send a transgender contestant as their representative.
"Well if the pageant says they are welcome, they are welcome but the thing is are they really going to allow them to win and will the country want gay people to represent them. But if the country wants [it], so do I," she said.
Diaz also said she doesn't have issues with candidates who have had cosmetic surgery.
"Before they used to ask what do you think of people na retokado. Sa akin wala 'yon," she said.
After being initially disqualified, transgender contestant Jenna Talackova was allowed to join the Miss Universe Canada pageant to be held this May.
Talackova, 23, underwent a sex change operation when she was 19.
Still, Diaz said she's thankful that she didn't have to face such issues when she joined the pageant decades ago.
"I'm thankful na I'm not part during this time kasi mahirap ding kalaban ang mga gay people kasi many of them are georgeous, really maganda ang balat," she said.