Netizens questioned Miss Universe Philippines 2016 Maxine Medina’s participation in the annual MEGA Ball, which this year is dubbed, the “Equality Ball.”
The said ball, hosted by Mega Magazine, follows the equality theme relating to the LGBTQ (Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning) rights. It was held at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza, last Wednesday, June 12, which also coincided with the country's annual Independence Day celebration.
Thus, the star-studded MEGA Equality Ball, did not only cater to the country’s freedom celebration but was also held in light of Pride month, which is also celebrated this June.
The former beauty queen posted a photo on Instagram, as per the lifestyle magazine’s social media campaign, representing her “stand in visible solidarity for equality for all mankind.”
Her full Instagram caption read: “On this day of independence, we are breaking barriers. More than just nationalistic pride, today marks a freedom of self—where we dismiss the fear of being judged, show the world who we truly are, and stand with confidence in our truth.
“With self-assurance and humility in skill, patronage in advocacy, as well as to demonstrate #HMLoveForAll—regardless of gender, race, status, and beliefs—we are all equal. True freedom is about equality.”
She continued, “More than just a photograph, this is a stand in visible solidarity for equality for all mankind. A call to #ReignWithPride, a necessary rejection of labels and breaking away from stereotypes, this is an earnest pledge to exercise our human ability to tolerate, accept, and love in equivalence to each other, engaging and fighting for it today, and for the #NextGeneration. I am MAXINE MEDINA, and this is my stand, my state of pride.”
The actress-beauty queen’s words have drawn wide criticism from the netizens and the LGBTQ community due to her alleged transphobic remark in an interview in July 2018.
Back then, she was asked about her opinion on Spain’s Miss Universe representative Angela Ponce, who made history as the first transgender woman to join the prestigious international beauty competition.
“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,” said Maxine in a video that went viral at that time.
The 29-year-old former model did not address nor issued a public apology for her comments then.
But she did now.
Maxine Medina who didn’t want transwomen joining Miss Universe early this year now poses for a photoshoot that screams equality. Character development ba ito or just plain hypocrisy?— Rhuss (@rhussellfamy) June 13, 2019
Responding to the Netizens’s aggressive comments on her equality post, Maxine explained on her recent IG post that her statement last year, which resurfaced now, “was misinformed, and lacking in empathy and understanding.”
Maxine wrote: “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 also claimed that she salutes Angela for being such an inspiration and a beacon of change to everyone.
She went on: “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 a better future for all.”
She added that she is willing to know and understand more about the importance of equality in beauty pageants.
“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.
“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.”
Having apologized and accepted her misgivings, Maxine is now getting positive comments from the netizens and from the members of the LQBTQ community. Some even go as far as saying to give her a chance.
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