For the first time ever, an openly LGBTQ contestant has won Miss Universe Philippines. Beatrice Luigi Gomez, 26, will go on to represent the Philippines in the Miss Universe pageant in December after her win last Thursday, September 30.
She will be the second openly queer contestant to compete for the global title after Swe Zin Htet of Myanmar did so as an out lesbian in 2019. Meanwhile, in the U.S., openly transgender Filipina-American Kataluna Enriquez will compete for the title of Miss USA as Miss Nevada on November 29, hoping to face off with Gomez in December in Israel.
Gomez was promoted from Corporal to Sergeant in the Navy Reserves on Tuesday because of her “exemplary accomplishments.” While training for the pageant, she was also training in the military. “As a community development worker, a beauty queen and a Marines reservist, I believe that I have the right tools to create awareness and to educate people,” Gomez said in June.
The new Miss Universe Philippines is openly bisexual and never had a big coming out moment: “I was in grade school when I first got interested in girls. I didn’t have any concept or idea about being gay back then as I grew up and I was surrounded with an environment of various sexual orientations, that’s when I realized that I was interested in both sexes,” she remembers. “When I met my girlfriend I was fixed on what I wanted regardless of what other people say and I felt that I didn’t owe anyone any explanation, that’s why I did not have to come out.”
She has been with her girlfriend, DJ Kate Jagdon, for seven years. Jagdon posted her congratulations on Instagram: “You have proved once again @beatriceluigigmz that you’re worthy of all the big things in life. Congratulations to you for doing it once again! We are so proud of you!”
Gomez hopes to inspire LGBTQ+ youth: “Just like what everyone hopes for in the LGBTQIA+, I aspire for acceptance and inclusivity — especially equal rights and protection for the younger generation who oftentimes suffer from bullying and different forms of violence. They are left to fend for themselves, particularly those that are oppressed by their own parents. I want to empower the youth of the LGBTQIA+ to be productive citizens of society so that despite the discrimination, we can take pride in our values and what we can offer to make the world a better place to live in.”