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Top 5: Inspiring LGBTQIA+ beauty queens who have graced the pageant stage

By Brooke Villanueva Published Oct 22, 2020 12:23 pm Updated Sep 02, 2021 10:57 am

We still have a long way to go in the battle for global LGBTQIA+ equality, but we can say there has been real progress.

The most recent development that has caused a divide between conservatives and queers is Pope Francis’ thumbs up for same-sex civil unions, which he expressed in documentary film “Francesco” that follows his papacy.

“Homosexual people have a right to be in a family. They are children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out or be made miserable over it. What we have to create is a civil union law. That way, they are legally covered. I stood up for that,” he said.

The fight for their rights, however, goes beyond marriage—it encompasses many other things, like diversity and representation in pageantry.

It’s inspiring to witness LGBTQIA+ members and allies voicing their support and waving the rainbow flag on the pageant stage—whether it’s simply for a local contest or something even bigger like the prestigious Miss Universe tilt. 

Here are some of our favorite queer beauty queens that have brought this cause to the forefront with immense pride:

Maria Izobel Taguiam

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At the Binibining Cebu pageant held in 2017, Maria Izobel Taguiam of Tabogon City, then 17, was asked by Miss Earth 2008 Karla Henry if she had a boyfriend. To everyone’s surprise, she answered, “Yes, but not a boyfriend but a girlfriend," she shared, "because I believe love does not see gender and if you love that someone, go for it.” She did not make it to the top 12, but her bravery and firmness made an impact beyond the walls of the venue.

Beatrice Luigi Gomez

Also from the same competition, Beatrice Luigi Gomez, crowned Binibining Cebu this year, drew cheers from everyone right at the Q&A portion. The question: “What makes you beautiful?” The answer, which made quite a revelation: “I guess what makes me beautiful is my bravery and being true to myself. To tell you guys, honestly, I have a girlfriend. I have tattoos, and I am proud of my imperfections. I guess that is what makes me beautiful.” (Beatrice is also set to compete on Sept. 21 for the Miss Universe 2021 crown.)

Swe Zin Htet

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The very first openly gay Miss U contender Swe Zin Htet of Myanmar revealed her sexual orientation in an interview for the pageant, saying she "wants the world to accept the LGBTQ+ community and their right to choose their own path and pursuit of happiness. We should always have the freedom of choice and promote equality." Now that's a true queen, even though she did not make it to the top 20!

Angela Ponce

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Despite not landing in the top 20, Angela Ponce made history at the Miss Universe 2018 as its very first transgender contestant. She dreams to live in a world where equality reigns supreme, “simply for us all to understand that we are human and we must make all our lives easier together. If I can give that to the world, I don’t need to win Miss Universe. I only need to be here.” So much power!

Billie Hakenson

Billie Hakenson was beaming with pride as she introduced herself in a preliminary interview for the Miss Universe Philippines (MUP) 2020 pageant. “I’m Billie Hakenson, representing Cavite, and I am a bisexual and I’m proud to be here.” With a "W.I.N." advocacy or “Women Empowerment and Individual Advocates towards Nature and wildlife preservation and responsiveness," said the former Miss World Philippines 2019 contestant.

Article thumbnails taken from Angela Ponce's Instagram account