The issue of diversity and representation in beauty pageantry is a matter of heated debate. In fact, some people still believe that transwomen should not be allowed to join pageants like Miss Universe.
However, over the last few years, some pageants are setting examples with changes in rules and becoming more inclusive.
In the Philippines, for instance, Beatrice Luigi Gomez created history in 2021 when she became the first openly gay Miss Universe representative. Several other beauty queens followed suit and opened up about being queer, bi, pansexual, or non-identifying, including Miss Universe Philippines 2023 Michelle Dee, who recently came out as bisexual.
As we celebrate Pride Month, we honor these queens and their queer partners who show us that it's possible to be beautiful, queer, and in love all at the same time. Check them out below.
Claire Inso & Chezka Carandang
Miss Universe Philippines 2023 Claire Inso of Lapu Lapu is in a relationship with pilot and TikToker Chezka Carandang.
During the preliminary interview of the pageant, she revealed that she is a queer woman.
"I am in a relationship with another woman. And I think that makes me really interesting because I'm open about it. In the Philippine society, it's kind of a taboo and it's still kind of a problem to be accepted. The debate between tolerance and acceptance is still there," she said.
In a vlog entry, Claire shared the trait that she loves about Chezka. "She's not hard to introduce to people," she said. "Marunong siya makisama. I don't have to worry about having to integrate her into my life."
Weam Ahmed & Dan Padilla
Miss Universe Philippines 2020 candidate Weam Ahmed is a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community.
She came out publicly in September 2020 during an interview with a Davao-based show, Atashie Nights.
Currently, she is in a relationship with a transgender man named Dan Padilla and also has a transwoman sister.
"I grew up in an environment where things like this is normal, actually, most especially sa bahay. My sister is a transwoman kasi. And mom encourages and supports a lot of things sa amin magkakapatid, no matter how weird, basta as long as you maintain a good spirit and heart lang," she said in an interview with PEP.
Samantha Lo & Jannica Rubin
Binibining Pilipinas Grand International 2019 Samantha Lo came out this year and publicized her relationship with her girlfriend Jannica Rubin through a video.
She revealed in a separate post that their romance started in 2016 during their "first jeepney ride" where they shared a cup of milk tea.
In their vlog, La Cucharita, Sam revealed that she "never liked men" and that she knew she liked girls when she was still in grade school.
"I knew I liked girls in the fourth grade. It was that innocent like... it was kind of that interest that I didn't know much about. I didn't think of it in [the] sense that an adult would really think. I thought it was normal," she said.
Anne Patricia Lorenzo & Renz Anciete
Trans woman Anne Patricia Lorenzo is in a relationship with Renz Anciete.
The Miss Equality World Philippines 2023 and former Miss Q&A titleholder took time to thank her partner after her win last March.
"To my Partner Renz Anicete maraming salamat sa hindi pag suko na suportahan ako sa Pangarap natin ang panalo ko ay Panalo natin," she wrote in a post.