Miss Myanmar Swe Zin Htet Comes Out As The First Openly Gay Contestant In Miss Universe. The First Time In 67 Years!
The first time I was familiarised to the concept of beauty pageants like Miss World and Miss Universe, I was a 10-year-old little girl. Since then on, for the longest time, I wanted to be one of those tall, confident women walking the ramp with a dream of changing the world. And definitely saying Mother Theresa is my inspiration. But as time passed by, I realised how these pageants were all but a lie, entertaining only cellulite-free and skinny models in the name of strong independent women and making a mockery out of the term ‘fair representation’. But seems like things may finally be changing. And we say this after Miss Universe has observed its first openly gay contestant – Swe Zin Htet.
Miss Myanmar, Swe Zin Htet, is 21-years-old and even though she wasn’t crowned the title of Miss Universe on Sunday, she has regardless made her mark on the world in her own unique way. Coming forth as the first ever contestant who’s openly admitted to being a lesbian, Swe Zin has in her own little way, kickstarted a dialogue and a movement that couldn’t have found a better platform than Miss Universe.
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Coming out about her sexual orientation just a few days prior to the finale held on December 9 in Atlanta, Georgia, Swe Zin Htet is like a ray of sunshine in an otherwise boring world of pageantry. She had made the revelation to Missosology, a beauty pageant blog, on November 29 and said, “I came to a full realisation about my sexual orientation over a long period of time. I knew I was ‘one of them’ way back in 2015. It is personally quite challenging but I feel that I have a greater voice and the best position to promote this cause. 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.”
And we are glad that she did. The world has taken its time, and in so many other parts is still taking its time to accept the fact that love after all has no gender. But with her coming forward and announcing it on a global platform to send across the right message, is definitely a leap forward for the LGBTQ+ community and everyone else out there who wants to believe in change.
Soon after coming out of the closet, she took to instagram to proudly stand by her sexuality and put a collage on her social media account with the pride flag, that made us want to cheer for her, even more. She also went ahead and said, “I have that platform that, if I say that I’m a lesbian, it will have a big impact on the LGBTQ community back in Burma (Myanmar). The difficult thing is that in Burma, LGBTQ people are not accepted they are looked down on by other people and are being discriminated against.” As it happens in a lot of countries. But maybe with this we are closer to change than we’d hope for. Of course it took 67 years to get to this, but it is a start.
As for her own family’s reaction over the topic, she shared,”At first, they were mad. They didn’t accept me. But later, when they found out more about the LGBTQ community, they started to accept me.” And we’d say, it was about time. It is time we open our minds a wee bit to see and accept and at the least, respect if not fully understand the LGBTQ+ community.
Even though, having witnessed how Miss Universe demanded the crown back from a woman who was found to be a single mother we did not expect them to be understanding or supportive of this either, but we are glad they did not pull out on this contestant, as she yearns to make the world a little inclusive.