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Kevin Balot backs ‘separate but equal’; thinks trans women joining ‘traditional’ pageants is ‘asking too much’

Screencap from Kevin Balot's Instagram account

A perspective about to stir the rainbow pot.

Kevin Balot, who was crowned Miss International Queen in 2012, reiterated her segregationist perspective, saying that when transgender women ask to join beauty pageants traditionally only for those assigned female at birth, “hindi na siya equality eh, parang asking too much na (this is no longer about equality; it’s already asking too much).”

Balot made the statement in a pageant-themed online show on Tuesday, June 23.

While speaking with the female hosts – Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach, Binibining Pilipinas International 2014 Bianca Guidotti, and Mutya ng Pilipinas Intercontinental 2010 Carla Lizardo – Balot said: “We trans women always ask for equality… And I believe us transgender women joining sa mga Miss Universe is not equality anymore eh. Hindi lang ako sang-ayon sa mga ganoong bagay kasi we have our own pageant.”

Balot then cited the Miss International Queen pageant, which she branded as “the most prestigious transgender beauty pageant.” This is why Balot said that she wants public support for transgender platforms such as the Miss International Queen pageant.

Balot’s opinion on the issue starts at the 43:00 mark in the video below:

But seemingly contradicting herself, she also said she wants support for “the fight for equal rights.”

Balot, nonetheless, said she’s leaving it to pageant organizers if they eventually accept transgender women to join pageants for those assigned female at birth. But that they should not be pressured to let transgender women join.

“We have to respect each other,” she – ironically – said.

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In closing, Balot stressed her “separate but equal” perspective by saying that “kailangan lang namin ng mas marami pang suporta para mas ma-boost ‘yung platform namin. Kasi platform niyo na ‘yan eh (we just need more support to boost our platforms; the traditional pageants are your platform),” she said.

This isn’t the first time Balot highlighted her way of thinking.

In 2012, when transgender contestant Jenna Talackova was included in Miss Universe Canada’s roster of aspiring beauty queens, Balot was quoted as saying that transgender women should give way to ‘natural born’ women in such competitions. “Parang mag-respect na lang tayo sa mga woman and meron tayong mga sisters and mothers (Let’s respect women because we have sisters and mothers),” she said then, insinuating that the search for equality is disrespectful. “Siguro kailangan ‘yung mga transsexual eh ireserve na lang ang… respect sa mga natural born woman (para sa mga ganong kompetisyon) [Perhaps transsexuals should just respect that such competitions are just for those assigned female at birth].”

According to Ms Naomi Fontanos, who helms Gender and Development Advocates (GANDA) Filipinas, “in 2018, many Filipino gay pageant fans opposed a trans woman’s inclusion in the #MissUniverse just as a high-profile trans beauty queen is saying now. There are #LGBTQIA people who cooperate in their own oppression. It doesn’t mean we should. They’re on the wrong side of history.”

In a Facebook post to answer this issue, Shane R. Parreno, who helms Transpinay of Antipolo Organization, stated: “As we push and fight EQUALITY, Transgender woman joining (a ‘traditional’) pageant like Miss Universe is not ‘asking too much’; it’s been approved by the organization.” Since “they honored and highlighted the participation of transgender women… it simply shows that trans women are welcome. And it’s about time for us to accept the fact that transgender woman are women.”

She added that “as long she will undergo the same process and compete fair and square,” then a trans beauty queen should be allowed to join these pageants. “After all, we’re looking for the best to represent our country. It’s not disrespecting ‘natural born’ women, but this is all about FULL ACCEPTANCE. ❤️ 🏳️‍🌈 🌈”

  • ARTICLE AMENDED AT 11.17PM TO INCLUDE THE STATEMENTS OF MS NAOMI FONTANOS OF GANDA FILIPINAS.
  • ARTICLE AMENDED ON JUNE 26, 9.22AM TO ACCOMMODATE THE STATEMENTS OF MS SHANE R. PARRENO OF TRANSPINAY OF ANTIPOLO ORGANIZATION.

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