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Miss Philippines Earth says it does not allow trans women in pageant; Miss World Philippines says it is 'trans-inclusive'

By CHUCK SMITH Published Jun 03, 2021 8:15 pm

Two local beauty pageants—Miss Philippines Earth and Miss World Philippines—have stated their stance on the issue of transgender women inclusion in their competitions. This is amid renewed buzz over the inclusion of transgender women in beauty pageants. 

On Tuesday, June 2, two contestants of the Miss Philippines Earth 2021 made the news after they said in a virtual press conference that they do not believe transgender women should not join beauty pageants for “natural-born women.”

Miss El Nido, Palawan Daena Yapparcon and Miss Caloocan Jeremi Nuqui said transgender women should join “their own beauty pageants.”

While the issue of the inclusion of transgender women in beauty pageants is a perennial hot topic, it has been given renewed spotlight by the recent announcement of the Miss South Africa competition that they will begin allowing transgender women to compete.

The Miss Universe pageant has been open to transgender women competitors since 2012.

Following Yapparcon’s and Nuqui’s statement during their online press conference, Philstar L!fe reached out to Carousel Productions—the Philippine-based entity that runs and owns the Miss Philippines Earth and the international Miss Earth pageants—to ask for their official stance regarding transgenders in their pageant.

According to Lorraine Schuck, CEO of Carousel Productions, Miss Earth “remains to be a traditional beauty pageant” and the company finds it in the best interest of the organization to follow current rules and policies. The Miss Earth pageant currently does not allow transgender women to enter the competition."

Schuck adds, however, that they “fully support transgenders in their own respective beauty pageants and competitions, and we believe that we all can shine in our own way.”

Their full statement reads:

“Miss Earth remains to be a traditional beauty pageant, and in the spirit of fairness to the rest of the women participating and to keep a level playing field, we find it in the best interest of the organization to follow the current rules, policies and guidelines of previous years. But, we do fully support transgenders in their own respective beauty pageants and competitions, and believe that we all can shine in our own way.”

“In sports, there is a reason for different divisions, different weight classes, and different age groups... it is mainly to keep a level playing field as much as possible in the spirit of fairness to all participants. Likewise, Miss Earth aims to keep the competition as balanced as possible.”

There are international pageants for transgender women, such as the Miss Trans Global, which Filipina beauty queen and actress Mela Habijan won last year. Philippine delegates Kevin Balot and Trixie Maristela won the Miss International Queen, a pageant for transgender women.

But other long-established beauty pageants have also accepted transgender women entrants as well. Angela Ponce of Spain became the first transgender Miss Universe contestant in 2018.

So far, no major beauty pageant has reported to have accepted a transgender competitor.

Philstar L!fe also reached out to Miss World Philippines (MWP), which sends representatives to the international Miss World pageant, to ask for their stand on transgender inclusivity.

Arnold Vegafria of ALV Pageant Circle, the pageant’s national director, said in a statement that Miss World Philippines is “trans-inclusive.”

“In the interest of gender diversity and equality, the Miss World Philippines organization proudly embraces transgender inclusion in its annual pageant. This means that we are not closing doors to transgender candidates for as long as they comply with all of the Miss World Philippines’ rules and regulations,” the statement said.

However, the statement adds that since “the global Miss World organization has made it very clear that only natural born females can qualify for the title, these transgender candidates are automatically disqualified from winning the Miss World crown.”

Transgender contestants in the Miss World Philippines pageant can still join and win “in the other trans-inclusive affiliate pageants under the ALV Pageants Circle’s roster who share the same interests and advocacy for gender equality.”

We reached also out to Binibining Pilipinas (which sends Philippine delegates to the Miss International and Miss Intercontinental pageants, among others), and Miss Universe Philippines (which sends Philippine representative to the Miss Universe pageant) and asked for their stance regarding transgender inclusion in their pageants.

We will update this article once they have sent their statements.

News about transgender beauty queens has prompted many pageants fans and members of the LGBTQ community to give their opinion regarding the matter.

During the press conference of the movie “Gluta” on Wednesday, June 2, Juliana Parizcova Segovia, who won the ABS-CBN queer pageant Miss Q & A in 2018, said she believes transgender women should not join pageants that are traditionally for “natural-born” women.

“Kung transgender kang contestant sa Miss Gay Barangayan at may sasali na tunay na babae, di ba magrereklamo ka?” she said.

“Meron naman kaming sariling laban like Miss International Queen in Thailand na puwedeng paingayin at bigyan ng focus by holding a Miss Philippines International Queen local edition bago isabak sa Thailand.”

Famously, beauty queens Catriona Gray and Pia Wurtzbach have expressed their support for transgender women joining the Miss Universe pageant.

“Well, I always knew that transgenders are allowed to join Miss Universe and win Miss Universe,” she said. Speaking of Ponce, Wurtzbach said: “We have to also remember that she… that’s a lifelong process for you to be a transgender and for you to identify as a woman. Hindi naman yan one day she decided na, ‘Oh I wanna be a woman and be Miss Universe.”

Meanwhile, Catriona said: “I’m open to it because individually I see beauty queens more than a physical aspect. We represent something. That has to be what we’re there for”