Close this search box.

Beauty queens who came out as gay

by Izel Abanilla

BEAUTY queens are the epitome of beauty, grace, elegance and needless to say, femininity. Their titles, instead of freeing them, can sometimes lock them in a box and dictate how and what they should be, that is, to be a woman in every way. 

But dreaming of becoming a beauty queen, especially at this time and age, isn’t anymore just for the feminine at heart. 

Through the years, there have been personalities who pursued careers in the pageant industry and are also openly members of the LGBTQIA+ community. 

Now more than ever, members of this community have dramatically gained more empowerment as people continue to champion their rights. The fight for equality across all aspects of life has spurred these individuals to pursue careers in industries that were once long thought to be locked for a particular gender. 

Let’s get to know these driven and proud members of the LGBTQIA+ community who pursued careers in pageantry. 

  1. Beatrice “Bea” Luigi Gomez

Image: Beatrice Luigi Gomez via @beatriceluigigmz Instagram

In the local pageant scene, Miss Universe Philippines 2021 Beatrice “Bea” Luigi Gomez is probably the most prominent LGBTQIA+ because of her achievements in global pageantry. She had an impressive finish in the Top 5 in last year’s Miss Universe pageant. 

She is the first openly bisexual candidate to win the title. On top of her monumental finish, this Cebuana beauty is one multifaceted individual who wears different hats on her head. Being a community development worker, an athlete and a member of the military are just among her many achievements. 

Meanwhile, behind her life as a beauty queen, she had a much-publicized relationship and split with now ex Kate Jagdon. 

  1. Maria Izobel Taguiam 

Image: Maria Izobel Taguiam via @maria_izobel Instagram

During her stint at the Binibining Cebu in 2017, then 17-year-old Maria Izobel Taguiam from Tabogon City was asked if she was in a relationship. She confirmed it, but to everyone’s surprise, it wasn’t with a boyfriend, but a girlfriend. 

“Yes, but not a boyfriend but a girlfriend,” she said. 

“Because I believe love does not see gender and if you love that someone, go for it,” she added. 

Although she failed to make the cut, she nonetheless left an impression because of her bravery in lifting the LGBTQIA+ community. 

  1. Angela Ponce 

Spain’s Angela Ponce may have failed to secure a title at the Miss Universe 2018, but she is remembered for being the first openly transgendered contestant to compete for the crown. 

Image: angelaponce via @missuniverse Instagram

  1. Billie Hakenson 

Image: angelaponce via @missuniverse Instagram

During the Miss Universe 2020 pageant, Billie Hakenson proudly introduced herself this way: “I’m Billie Hakenson, representing Cavite, and I am a bisexual and I’m proud to be here.” She had a “W.I.N.” advocacy or “Women Empowerment and Individual Advocates towards Nature and wildlife preservation and responsiveness.”

  1. Swe Zin Htet

Image: Swe ZIn Htet via @swe_zin_htet Instagram

Swe Zin Htet is a pageant title holder who won Miss Universe Myanmar in 2019. She has been described as the first openly gay Miss Universe contestant. In one of her interviews, she was quoted to have said that 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.” 

6. Mariana Varela and Fabiola Valentín

Image: Mariana Varela and Fabiola Valentin via @marianajvarela Instagram

Miss Argentina Mariana Varela and Miss Puerto Rico Fabiola Valentin are indeed an inspiration to both pageant-crazy fans and LGBTQIA+ members and supporters, especially when the two announced that they tied the knot in October 2022.

The two made their marriage public through an Instagram post after two years of dating. The two beauties won their respective titles in 2020.



We have the stories you’ll want to read.

RepublicAsia Newsletter