Queer folks in Manila have a new reason to celebrate this week, as Miss Universe Philippines has crowned its first-ever LGBTQ+ winner, Beatrice Luigi Gomez.
During the preliminary interview, Gomez, who represented Cebu City, shared that she’s been in a longterm same-sex relationship with her partner. She also expressed her confidence that the Philippines was ready for an out and proud member of the LGBTQ+ to represent them at the Miss Universe pageant. As it turns out, she was correct.
It was a big moment for Gomez, her country, and her supporters, who were thrilled to see queer “herstory” being made. Many took to Twitter to celebrate the big moment.
Gomez was reportedly considered a bit of an underdog, but she beat out 27 other competitors to win the crown and title. She also won the evening gown and swimsuit portions of the evening.
That the Philippines is making strides in the representation of LGBTQ+ individuals shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. According to a study entitled “The Global Divide on Homosexuality” that was conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2013, the Philippines ranked in the top 10 most gay-friendly countries in the world. That same study showed that 73 percent of adult Filipinos agreed that “homosexuality should be accepted by society.”
Gomez is now set to represent her home country in the 70th Miss Universe pageant being held in Eilat, Israel in December. If she wins, it will mark the fifth time a contestant from the Philippines has taken home the crown.