Cebu's Beatrice Luigi Gomez made history last week as the first Miss Universe Philippines queen who is openly a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. But while she takes great pride in it, for her, "it's not a big deal".
"Honestly, I haven't been highlighting my LGBTQIA+ advocacy kasi nga for me, we should normalize it. 'Yung idea na we exist," she told journalist MJ Marfori.
"So to be the first ever crowned LGBTQIA+ member, for me, it's not a big deal. People should appreciate it and learn from it," she added.
Gomez has been in a six-year relationship with girlfriend Kate Jagdon.
When she won Binibining Cebu, the answer that sealed her win was her openness about her queer identity and having tattoos, two characteristics that are often frowned upon in predominantly Catholic Philippines.
"My bravery and being true to myself. To tell you guys honestly, I have a girlfriend, I have tattoos," she said then, responding to the question, "what makes you beautiful?"
In June 2020, she opened up on Facebook about the struggles she's been facing post-win.
"I’ve been criticized a lot for winning the Binibining Cebu crown for being gay. I just didn’t feel like I owe anyone my identity because the people who knows me personally loves me just the way I am especially my family whose opinions matter to me the most, and so I decided to always be true to myself," she said.
Having bested 28 other candidates, Gomez will represent the Philippines at Miss Universe 2021 in Eliat, Israel in December. If crowned, she said she'll advocate mainly for the rights of children caught in armed conflict.