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The search is on for Queen Philippines 2017

The 27 transgender candidates for this year's  Queen Philippines pose with reigning queen  Carla Marie Madrigal (with crown) and overall  chairperson,  Cebu’s premier couturier  Cary Santiago (center)  with fellow designer Wendell Quisido during the press presentation held at the Waterfront  Cebu City Hotel and Casino.

The 27 transgender candidates for this year’s
Queen Philippines pose with reigning queen
Carla Marie Madrigal (with crown) and overall
chairperson, Cebu’s premier couturier Cary Santiago (center) with fellow designer Wendell Quisido during the press presentation held at the Waterfront
Cebu City Hotel and Casino.

PAGEANTS are not just about beauty, it’s also a platform to advance an advocacy, of bringing together different voices calling for love, mutual respect and equality.

For Queen Philippines, it’s about fighting for transgender acceptance, continuing the struggle against discrimination and hate that happens not just on the streets but also at the workplace and especially, at home.

On the pageant’s seventh year, it brings together 27 lovely and talented transgenders from all over the country in Cebu for the staging of this year’s Queen Philippines in June.

What’s more, this year’s Queen Philippines embraces diversity as it welcomes its first deaf-mute candidate— Linzy Del Mar from Surigao del Norte.

“Even though I am deaf, I can still do practically anything a normal person can do. Joining this pageant,I can be an advocate for deaf awareness,” said Del Mar, as relayed through a speaker, during the press presentation of the candidates held April 10 at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino.
Clearly, they came prepared and put their best foot forward in every attempt to impress us in the press briefing. But the air of competition soon dissipated as the candidates burst intotears while sharing similar painful journeys in their transitioning, of how other people, including their families, don’t readily accept them for who they are.

FOTO 2 - q-002 (1280x914)

To be respected and valued— this basically sums up the candidates’ reasons for joining Queen Philippines.

“I want to prove to my parents that I am still worthy of their love,” said Nina Similatan from Quezon province.

For her part, Misamis Occidental’s Shan Dee, who has a law degree and also took up Master in Public Administration, said, “Our competition back home is just a form of entertainment. It’s not something that represents who we really are. I want to go back home wearing the crown, prove to everybody that we exist.”

And then there’s Xike Llanes of Misamis Oriental claiming that it’s not only about the crown and the sash, but how Queen Philippines celebrates the beauty and diversity in the transgender community.

The struggle is real even for renowned Cebuano couturier and overall pageant chairperson Cary Santiago. She admitted to having second thoughts about continuing the pageant due to a lack of support.

“I already told myself not to continue this anymore because nobody supports us, I guessbecause this isn’t mainstream.

Then again, Queen has become my advocacy, a charity for me,” she said.

Surigao del Norte’s Linzy del Mar,  the first Deaf-mute candidate   in  Queen Philippines

Surigao del Norte’s Linzy del Mar, the first Deaf-mute candidate
in Queen Philippines

Since its inception, Cary vowed to bring up the level of transgender pageants, which are usually held in the gutters or behinddilapidated buildings.

Moreover, removing the word “gay” in the title was a conscious decisionfor Cary in staging Queen Philippines.

From the 27 aspirants, five queens will be chosen: Queen Universe, Queen World, QueenInternational, Queen Earth and Queen Tourism.
The coronation night will be held at the Pacific Grand Ballroom of the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino on July 29.

The pageant is also for thebenefit of The Seven Sisters House of Mercy Home for the Elderly in Mojon Talisay Cebu, Cebu City Task Force for Street Children of Cebu and Transgender Colors Inc.

TAGS: advocacy, discrimination, love, mutual, Philippines, Queen, search
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