Myanmar’s Swe Zin Htet becomes first openly gay contestant at Miss Universe

11 Dec 2019 | Camilla Suarez

Miss Universe Myanmar 2019 Swe Zin Htet became the first openly gay woman to compete for the title of Miss Universe. Swe came out to the world few days prior to the beauty pageant held on 9th December 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. The brave 21-year-old decided to come out as gay openly despite same-sex relationships being criminalized in her home country Myanmar.

Swe Zin Htet is competition’s first ever contestant to publicly establish as a lesbian in its 67-year historical past. Paula Shugart, president of the Miss Universe Organization, told that the organization was honored to give a platform to strong, inspirational women like Htet. “Miss Universe will always champion women to be proud of who they are”, Shugart stated.


Myanmar’s Swe Zin Htet becomes first openly gay contestant at Miss Universe


After coming out publicly as lesbian, Swe Zin Htet posted collage of her pictures on her social media with a pride flag. She further added to her interview that she wants and hopes that world would just accept the LGBTQ+ communities and their rights to choose their own paths and pursuit of happiness. According to the beauty queen, love is the most powerful thing and people fall in love with human beings, not gender. She concluded by saying that we should always have the freedom of choice and promote equality.

Swe Zin Htet also spoke to the ‘People’, where she recalled about the time when she came out to her parents. She described the scene by stating that she came out to her parents five years ago and they were ‘mad’ at first, but as they took their time to learn about the LGBTQ community and as they started to learn about the community they started to accept her as she was along the learning process.


Myanmar’s Swe Zin Htet becomes first openly gay contestant at Miss Universe


Swe also revealed that she has been seeing Burmese singer Gae Gae for the past three years and their relationship has been a secret until now. The two met at a party and instantly hit it off. Her revelation has been more striking that ever considering the Myanmar’s penal code situation. It allows the court to punish gay sex with long prison sentences. Social prejudices remain strong, with many LGBTQ people facing domestic abuse and violence as well as discrimination in the workplace.

However, Swe Zin Htet failed to make her place in the Top 20 of Miss Universe 2019 competition, her bold and iconic step has been met with a flood of support and love from Myanmar and across the globe. The diva has called this intervention of her sexual orientation a ‘new chapter in life’.