CULTURAL POTPOURRI| Queen of the South 2015

IT SEEMS that every purok, barangay, city, and province of the Philippine Islands have their own gay beauty pageants that you’d think it has become an exciting part of Filipino culture. Beauty pageants have practically become a way of life among Pinoys.   And the country’s gay beauty pageants, which are usually big entertainment extravaganzas, have also become popular and such a tourist attraction.

     Last August 22, 2015, Davao City’s “Queen of the South: a Third Gender Quest” was held at the Almendras Gym to a, surprisingly, SRO crowd. Two days earlier, a pre-pageant night of fabulous and so colourful festival costume competition and talent showcase was held at the Gaisano Mall’s The Peak which was attended by an audience composed of people coming from all walks of life.

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MISS Queen of the South 2015 Stacy Biano with her court

     “Today marks a significant milestone in the history of gay pageantry in our beloved City. We present to you the biggest and the grandest gay beauty contest in Davao and Mindanao as our way of celebrating human diversity. We are setting the bar higher in this year’s celebration of the Kadayawan sa Dabaw Festival by showcasing all things beautiful. Davao City is truly a melting pot of culture and a land of diversity. With its 11 tribes comes the 12th kind—the gays who are part and parcel in the process of assimilation of the different peoples that comprise the citizens of Davao….This second staging of a ‘beau-con’ like no other is the ultimate dream come true for us. This is our legacy. We are motivated by our passion and fuelled by our love and utmost concern for the LGBT community,” President Lloyd Edward Salazar of the Garbozas Group expressed ever so emotionally with the complete approval of his constituents composed of VP Morfo Plenos, Sec. Norman Brillantes Baloro, Treas. Emmanuelle Wadab Babao, Bus. Man. Deo Antojado, PRO Jesse Barcoma III, and Creative Dir. Arnold L. Alvarez of SiningTala Dance fame.

     For indeed, the Queen of the South 2015 beauty pageant was such an entertaining extravaganza which showcased the beauty, creativity, artistry, talent, and intelligence of the 23 gay candidates who joined the competition. If only the lighting director was competent enough! What a shame that the stage was badly lit all throughout the show. People weren’t there to watch a shadow presentation ala El Gamma Penumbra so brighten up!

    For Filipino gays, joining a beauty contest is a passion, an ultimate dream since “the essence of a Filipino gay is best expressed in gay beauty contests.” It is no wonder then that some gays become addicted candidates who would not hesitate to travel by land, sea or air just to join a gay beauty contest. “I join gay beauty contests as I am committed in raising the peoples’ awareness, acceptance, and respect for gays; and the empowerment and advancement of the LGBT community in the country. I am a transgender person which means I have a gender identity which differs from what is associated with the sex I was assigned to at birth. We transgender people are making significant contributions to society. And just like any other human being, we pray for ‘normal’ people to treat us with respect as we face all kinds of discrimination, harassment, and even violence and abuse in our everyday lives,” revealed the pretty, articulate and friendly Nikki Normanson, alias Georgina Wilson, of the National Capital Region. Nikki/Georgina is the first titleholder of the Queen of the South 2014. The gorgeous one is a UP Diliman graduate.

     “Being gay is my destiny rather than a choice. Why would I choose a kind of life which is beset by ridicule and discrimination? Why should I endlessly struggle for acceptance if I had a choice? I was born this way and whatever I am in life, I should stand for something valuable and relevant to society. Know your best attributes, and learn to use them for the betterment of not only yourself but also of those around you. Define your goal in life and strive to make it come true,” answered Krismond “Stacy” Biano who was ever so composed and regal all throughout the stressful stages of the three-day competition. Biano got the loudest applause from the minute this towering candidate entered the stage to the time when he was crowned Queen of the South 2015. Standing at 5’11” (without high heels), Biano divulged that it was the international fashion designer Cary Santiago who discovered, mentored, and transformed him to the gay beauty queen that he is at present. He also takes pride in the fact that he has made history in Cebu’s fashion scene by being the first transgender to join Cebu’s roster of in-demand ramp fashion models.

     Biano’s court is composed of “Bea Alonzo” (1st runner-up); “Alex Gonzaga” (2nd runner-up); “Maja Salvador” of Zamboanga (3rd runner-up); and “Sam Pinto” (4th runner-up). Mind you, but it was only Biano who didn’t use any showbiz alias.

     Thank you, Jerrypons Maignos for the data. Thank you, director Arnold L. Alvarez, for inviting me as chairman of the board of judges. Congratulations, Garbozas and sponsors, for a successful show.

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