Philippines representative for Miss Universe 2016, Maxine Medina, has suffered criticism for her insensitive remark about what she thought about Spain’s Angela Ponce, the first transgender woman to join the beauty pageant in its 67-year history.
In an interview conducted back in July 2018, Maxine had said, “Kung gusto niya talaga sumali, may mga pageants naman for them, na right for them. Let’s give them an idea na mayroon naman talagang pageant for them, para naman equal din sa girls, ‘diba.”
(“If she really wanted to join a beauty pageant, there are other pageants for them that are right for them. Let’s give them an idea that there really are pageants meant for them so that it’s equal for the girls.”)
It’s been one year since she voiced out her opinion and she continues to face backlash for it. Now, Maxine is finally ready to own up to her mistake and apologize.
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“Pride month and yesterday’s #MEGAForAll and #MEGAEqualityBall saw a resurfacing of a statement I made last year regarding my opinion on Angela Ponce, the first transwoman to join Miss Universe,” Maxine said in an Instagram post. “While I was truly caught in a moment, I’ll graciously and humbly say that it was misinformed, and lacking in empathy and understanding. I know first-hand how it is to feel invalidated as I have been bullied all my life, been called names. That’s why I really apologize if this is how you felt and still feel.”
She continued, “It isn’t that I am not supporting a transwoman beauty queen, in fact I was actually proud of Angela, Miss Spain that she made a big step doing this to inspire others and that she had the courage of joining and asking Miss Universe to represent her country as a transwoman. It is such a big step forward for us to realize that we shouldn’t be scared of change. We should embrace it because no matter what, we are aiming for the better future for all.”
Maxine also acknowledged that she has yet to be educated on how to be a better ally to the LGBTQ+ community.
“I have much to learn and understand, and that I am willing to do the necessary next steps to more understands the importance of equality in beauty pageants through meeting, speaking with and interacting with people who have different opinions than mine. Equality, I realized, is also about education and learning, not just based on what I know and believe, but also those of others as well,” she wrote.
“Having been made aware, I am humbling myself as a human being. Now, it is my hope that whether it’s Miss Universe and all the other pageants in the world, women and transwomen continue to dream big and prove themselves that as a woman, you can do anything to be the queens you want to be,” she added.
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