On July 12, Reina Hispanoamericana 2017 Teresita Ssen “Winwyn” Marquez was quoted as saying, “I have nothing against transgenders. I’m really proud na sobrang happy, out na talaga, and everyone is respecting them, ‘di ba? Pero Miss Universe per se, sana ibigay na lang sa natural-born women.”
Her opinion comes after the news that Miss Universe Spain Angela Ponce will be competing in the pageant. Angela will be the first transgender candidate in Miss Universe.
Winwyn explained that trans women can join Miss International Queen, a beauty pageant exclusively for trans women: “There is Miss International Queen, it’s a prestigious pageant also.” She continues, “And I think, parang let’s just give [Miss Universe to] natural-born women, and for transgenders to have their own prestigious pageant.”
She nevertheless stated that if the Miss Universe organization will allow Angela to join, “then we should accept it also, walang problema.”
After receiving backlash from the LGBTQ+ community for her opinion, Winwyn took to Twitter to explain her side and to ask netizens to look beyond the headlines. “I said I would prefer that Miss U would have natural-born women, but I will support Angela and the Miss U organization in any endeavor they choose to commit themselves to. If pasasalihin talaga, then I have no problem with it and we all have to accept and respect [the] decision, kahit iba ang opinion ko.”
In her tweet, she also recalls that when the Philippines was invited to join the Reina Hispanoamericana pageant, many netizens also reacted and gave their own opinions on it. There were those who didn’t want her to join, but in the end, people respected the organization’s decision and respected her for being part of it.
While Winwyn waits for the Miss Universe organization to announce Angela’s official entry into the pageant, it must be noted that the organization announced in 2012 that it was ending its ban on transgender contestants.