Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray provides her support to the LGBTQ Community

25 Jun 2020 | Ana Walia

In the month of June which is declared as the Pride Month, where people belonging to the LGBTQ Community come together and celebrate the freedom to be themselves. Pride gatherings are rooted in the arduous history of minority groups who have struggled for decades to overcome prejudice and be accepted for who they are.

Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray is using her platform to voice out and fight for the LGBTQ Community in the Philippines as she spoke about her advocacy in an interview.



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Catriona explained that she was introduced or knew about the LGBTQ community while she was a teenager and had recently moved to the Philippines to work as a model. "Most of my first friends, from stylists to photographers, were LGBTQ. I'm grateful that I formed these relationships before I was given the opportunity to have the platform that I have now. Because of these relationships, becoming an ally became a personal passion," she said.

Catriona who represented the Philippines at the Miss Universe 2018 stage remembered that during her stint, she met the first transwoman; Angela Ponce of Spain who also competed in Miss Universe 2018 for the first time in over 60 years. She mentioned that initially she was not sure how to feel about the community, their rights, and especially Angela being a part of Miss Universe 2018 but after reaching out to her friends who were transgender, Catriona understood that Angela’s inclusion was a much needed and a powerful step forward for the LGBTQ community.

"It really broke my heart to hear their personal stories of discrimination, misunderstanding, and conflict. I also asked them, what did it mean to you to have a trans woman representing your country in Miss Universe? It spoke volumes, they said, that it allowed them to feel seen, represented, and valid. I knew then that it was not only right to have Angela raise her country’s flag on the Miss Universe stage, it was also powerful" she said.



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Since, June is a Pride Month where every member of the LGBTQ community is embracing their existence, Gray feels like we as humans should form a personal understanding in order to take a stand on a topic or issue like the LGBTQ rights. She mentioned that one needs to understand the importance of being educated and educating others about such sensitive yet essential issues in the world.

Explaining about her volunteer work with groups such as Love Yourself and her reign as Miss Universe, Catriona said she became "even more steadfast in my allyship." "I can never know exactly what they're going through but what I can do is listen, and when I can, lend my voice for those who cannot raise their own. But before we can become an ally, a protector, a voice, we need to humanize the community so that we care, not just about them as the LGBTQ community, but as fellow human beings. As allies, that's the foundation on which we stand."

Focusing on the LGBTQ community in the Philippines, Catriona mentioned and urged everyone in her country to be more liberal and vocal about their support towards them. She also mentioned that we ourselves must educate ourselves about the community as it’s not the LGBTQ community's responsibility to educate us. She further added that educating oneself might mean asking the hard and uncomfortable questions and seeking out answers. Humbling ourselves when we're wrong. It won't be easy. It's not a Miss Universe Q&A where, in 30 seconds, you can fit your entire understanding of the topic.

“Being an ally starts with small acts every day. When you're in the workplace and someone says something offensive about LGBTQ people, stand up and say that it's not right. They too may be unaware. It's about seeing discrimination where it's happening and doing something about it that makes a difference," she added.