Iconic LGBTQ moments at Miss Universe

20 Jan 2021 | Ana Walia

The determined norms and nature of a beauty pageant has evolved through time and has been cherished and respected by the people. Miss Universe is one such beauty pageant that has evolved throughout the time and included various changes that tend to empower women and their voice to reach out to the masses.

One such change was the inclusion of the LGBTQ community in the beauty pageant world and giving them a fair chance to compete for the crown. Let’s look at the three iconic moments at Miss Universe where LGBTQ community felt proud and praised the organization.

Patricia Yurena Rodríguez Alonso is a Spanish model, actress, who represented Spain at Miss World 2007 where she finished at Top 15 at the end of the event finale. She later represented the country at Miss Universe 2013 where she was adjudged as the first runner-up. Patricia’s placement at Miss Universe 2013 became the highest placement for Spain since Teresa Sánchez López was first runner-up at Miss Universe 1985. During the end of her reign, Patricia came out as a lesbian on her social media and became the first openly LGBT woman to hold a major national title. Even though the diva came out after the competition, she is still the first openly LGBT woman to compete in a major international beauty pageant. She later posted a message saying: "Thanks to everyone for their comments. "I published quite naturally and impulsively. I appreciate the outpouring of support and even more to rejoice in my happiness. Thank you!!"



Ángela Ponce Camacho is a Spanish model who represented Spain at Miss Universe 2018 and made history as the first openly transgender woman to be crowned Miss Spain and competed at Miss Universe 2018. Even though she was not placed at the end of the event finale, she was highly applauded for her courage, and dedication towards the title. She said it was “an honour and pride” to be part of the history of the pageant. Ponce currently works as a volunteer at a foundation in Spain that helps children and families deal with gender identity issues. Angela explained that the significance of taking part was far more important than winning the top prize. “My hope is for tomorrow to be able to live in a world of equality for everyone, simply for us all to understand that we are human and we must make all our lives easier together.”



Swe Zin Htet is a Burmese model who represented Myanmar at Miss Universe 2019 and came out as a lesbian and became the first openly lesbian woman to compete at Miss Universe. Even though she was not placed at the competition, she was appreciated for her courage and determination. In one of the interviews, she mentioned that she strongly supports gay rights and started her own foundation to further LGBTQ+ causes. "I believe that not all countries allow same-sex marriage. I want the world to accept the LGBTQ+ community and their right to choose their own path and pursuit of happiness. Love is the most powerful thing and people fall in love with human beings, not gender. We should always have the freedom of choice and promote equality," she said. She further mentioned, “I have that platform that, if I say that I’m a lesbian, it will have a big impact on the LGBTQ community back in Burma. The difficult thing is that in Burma, LGBTQ people are not accepted. They are looked down on by other people and are being discriminated against.”



“We are honoured to give a platform to strong, inspirational women like Miss Universe Myanmar, who are brave enough to share their unique stories with the world. Miss Universe will always champion women to be proud of who they are.” Paula Shugart, president of The Miss Universe Organization.