While the Miss Universe 2019 crown may have gone to South Africa's Zozibini Tunzi, it is Miss Myanmar who recently dominated our news feeds. Swe Zin Htet made history by being the first openly gay contestant to ever participate in the pageant. Ironically, homosexuality is still a criminal offence in her country.
The Burmese beauty first came out publically on November 29 this year in an interview with a popular blog, Missosology. “It is personally quite challenging but I feel that I have a greater voice and the best position to promote this cause,” Swe told Missosology.
“Some pageant fans know about it and they still support me but this is the first time I am able to talk about it in public," she added
The very same day, she took to Instagram to post a collage of herself with the pride flag, and captioned it "proud".
Talking about LGBTQ+ acceptance, she said, “I want the world to accept the LGBTQ+ community and their right to choose their own path and pursuit of happiness. Love is the most powerful thing and people fall in love with human beings, not gender. We should always have the freedom of choice and promote equality.”
Swe spoke about her story in detail in an interview with People Magazine, where she revealed that she first realised she was a lesbian in 2015. When she told her parents, they weren't receptive initially and took some time to get used to the reality. However, she said that as they found out more about the LGBTQ community, they started to accept her.
Kudos to Swe's parents for accepting her for who she is!
The President of the Miss Universe Organisation, Paula Shugart, also welcomed Htet's decision to come out. "We are honoured to give a platform to strong, inspirational women like Miss Universe Myanmar, who are brave enough to share their unique stories with the world. Miss Universe will always champion women to be proud of who they are," she added.
Heartwarming, isn't it?
The only other contestant from the LGBTQ+ community to participate in the pageant was Miss Spain 2008, Patricia Yurena Rodriguez. However, she only publically came out after the competition.
We are proud of you, Swe. You sure are setting an example.
Featured Image: Instagram