What does it mean to be called Queen?
For these transgender women, its more than just a title but a responsibility to serve.
As a writer, I’ve had my share of interviews with politicians, celebrities, businessmen and a lot of other famous personalities, but last week as I sat in front of the winners of the Queen of The Philippines, I felt like a rookie reporter once again, uneasy, unsure a little bit nervous.
For one, all of them were stunning in their gowns and second, they spoke with such confidence answering all of my questions with firm conviction–unrehearsed and with genuine emotion. A far cry from all those other pageants which aimed to entertain rather than advance the plight of the LGBT community.
They spoke eloquently about their advocacies, had a clear understanding of what needs to be done for the SOGIE Bill (Sexual Orientation And Gender Identity Or Expression) to be approved, and most importantly the conviction to live up to their titles of being Queens of the Philippines.
For Queen Mela Habijan, a queen is “such a wonderful word to actually live by because it means you are a ruler. You rule a certain nation a certain aspect but in our case we are not rulers, we are leaders. We are leaders because we have voices that are actually deserving to be heard by the people. All of us are eloquent and articulate. For me these queens have the capacity to lead to become role models and to become important people in this society. So being a queen, right now people can look up to us, young transgender women can look up to us we can give inspiration more than that we can actually have a purpose in life. And that is being a queen for me to live with a purpose.
Grand winner Queen Ivern Arcache adds, “When you say queen you are supposed to be sitting on a throne and wearing a crown. But what queen fights for the rights of other people? What queen fights for transgender rights? Supposedly dapat kapag reyna ka na, you are the one giving directions. But as a queen, and a transwoman, we still have to fight to show people that we are worthy to be respected, says Queen Ivern Arcache.
“Even though when we say queen we are supposed to be respected. The title alone demands respect. But no, we still have to earn the respect, to make everyone see that we are supposed to be respected. Wouldn’t you want us to work for you? To be in your front desk, to serve you in planes. We are eloquent. We are beautiful, and we have the capacity to serve. We have the right to have normal and decent jobs just like everyone else.” she pointed out.
Watch our complete interview here:
The Queen of the Philippines is an LGBTQ+ pageant that aims to celebrate the Filipino spirit and beauty that can be found in everyone. From hundreds who auditioned only the top 25 made it to the grand coronation held last March 3, 2019 at the Valenzuela People’s Park Amphitheater.
Ivern Arcache from Tarlac was crowned the very first Queen of the Philippines 2019 with Casey Paculan of Quezon City as first runner up; Aya Garcia of Dumaguete as 2ndrunner up , Mela Habijan of Marikina City judged third runner up and Queen Bolong of Manila as the 4thrunner up while Chichay Castro won the Star Image Artist award.
The Grand Winner of the Queen of the Philippines 2019 will be dedicated to spearhead community awareness in all aspect for LGBTQ+ growth and development in a national level and participate in various charitable causes. They will also be tasked to help promote the country’s LGBTQ+ community and be involved in the socio-civic, health and wellness, and other advocacies of the pageant.
For more information about the Queens, follow their official social media accounts.