Saturday, September 22, 2018

Bb. Cebu not ready for transgender contestant

2017 Winners. From left, Bb. Cebu Tourism Samantha Ashley Lo, Bb. Cebu Apriel Smith and Bb. Cebu Charity Maria Gigante. (Contributed Foto / Big Seed)

A FEW months ago, Angela Ponce was crowned Miss Universe Spain. Just like that, she became the first transgender woman to compete in the prestigious Miss Universe pageant, which will be held this year in Thailand in December.

But while Miss Universe welcomes a transgender contestant, Binibining Cebu, which is on its sophomore run this year, is not ready for such a leap.

Binibining Cebu pageant chairperson Cary Santiago said that it is not yet the time for the organization to accept transgender women in the competition since everything is a step-by-step process.

Even though anyone can join the pageant, transgenders have their own platform of pageantry such as the Queen Philippines Pageant.

“We all have our own personal opinion. Mine, I think, is that we all have platforms. That’s why I created the Queen Philippines Pageant as a platform for the transgender women,” said Santiago.

However, Santiago expressed his support for Ponce as Spain’s representative to the 2018 Miss Universe contest.

On the part of Binibining Cebu Charity 2017 Maria Gigante, she believes that men and women share biological differences that cannot be overcome by any amount of science and technology for there is something in men that is an advantage over women.

“For me, it’s just, you know, we are all born equal and free, but that equality may take different faces. That doesn’t mean we all have to have the same treatment,” said Gigante.

Binibining Cebu 2017 Apriel Smith agreed with Santiago that transgender women’s pageants should be separate from the contests of natural-born women.

“My opinion is I’m not in favor that transgender women will join women’s pageantry because we have our own acknowledged pageant. So it should be separate. There are pageants for transgenders for them to be acknowledged that they are transgender,” said Smith.

However, Smith said she is glad that the Miss Universe Organization accepted Ponce as an official candidate.

Although Smith and Gigante are not in favor of having a transgender contestant in the local pageant, Binibining Cebu Tourism Samantha Ashley Lo congratulated Ponce for the extraordinary milestone of becoming Spain’s candidate in the upcoming Miss Universe.

Lo said she is open to everything and is extending her full support to Ponce.

But Santiago is open to the evolution of Binibining Cebu.

“Not for now,” said Santiago about accepting transgender women as Binibining Cebu contestants. “Maybe in the future. By that, maybe when we are 20 years old or older, we will see. But for now, we only allow naturally born women.”