Showing pride

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THE transwomen contestants of the Queen of Quezon City, a pageant that recognizes the valuable contributions of the members of the transgender community.

After two years of absence, the regal and gender-fair pageant for transgender women of Quezon City (QC) is now making a comeback, this time with a stronger aim of empowering LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, queer) community, stopping discrimination and promoting respect, equality and pride.

Twenty-four transwomen made it to the official candidate list of Queen of Quezon City after passing through rigorous screenings, headed by QC Chief of Staff for Administration Teresa Mariano along with Police Senior Insp. Rene Balmaceda, the first openly transgender cop of the Philippine National Police.

This year’s candidates are mostly call center workers, who were witty in answering questions from the press during the pageant’s launching last 9 October at the Novotel Hotel. They are Erwina Tirambulo from Talayan Village, Redj Daria Espinosa of the barangay of Tagumpay, Ehm-jay Buena Tuazon of Loyola Heights, Terresa Caranzo and Samantha Garcia of Bagong Silangan. Louise Manalo and Nica Kate Sapinoso of San Roque, Cubao, Avah Torres Pineda of Pag-ibig sa Nayon, Angel Artita of Bagabag, Novaliches, Shine Rodriguez and Jhade Ellorin Soberano of Bagong Pag-asa, Naomi Fontanos of UP Village, Denine Palacio of Mariblo, Keith Legara of of Talipapa, Novaliches, Casey Banes Paculan of Pinahan, Scarlet Alcaraz and Yanyan Idalia of Commonwealth, Andrea Justine Aliman of Sacred Heart, Jhonna Castro of Holy Spirit, Maria General from Nagkakaisang Nayon, Summer Lariosa from Dioquino Zobel, Rami Hannash of Sta. Lucia Novaliches, Ghen Antolin from Sta. Monica Novaliches and Pamcee Vera Perez of Gulod Novaliches.

This year’s queen will receive a P300,000 cash prize, while her court, including Lady Equality, Lady Respect and Lady Pride, will each receive P100,000. They will be judged according to their physical qualities, beauty, intelligence and personality that embody the ideals of the LGBTQ+ community.

Present during its launch were QC First District Councilor Lina Juico, who authored the Gender Fair Ordinance 2357, also known as the anti-discrimination law for LGBT members in the said city. The pageant is organized by the QC Pride Council in cooperation with the Office of Mayor Herbert Bautista.

“I think it’s one of the platforms to share their advocacies, to give recognition to our transwomen. Our city recognizes our LGBTQ community. They are a big chunk of our citizenry and when we ventured into passing this ordinance, what struck to me was the statement of our mayor and vice mayor — that we have to take care of our LGBTQ community because of the huge contribution they give to our city, our city’s economy, and it is a sector that we need to look after and we need to empower,” Juico said.

The Queen of Quezon City had a pre-pageant on 15 October and the coronation night is on 10 November, both at the University of the Philippines Theatre in Diliman. This year’s theme is based on its logo which features the rainbow colors of the LGBTQ+ and the butterfly signifying that the Queen is ready to fly and conquer the world.

“Expect better production design, better performances, a lot of visuals in terms of photos and videos of the candidates, plus the immersions they will do. Everything will be one big theatrical experience,” creative and pageant director Bernard Maybituin said.

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