Maxine Medina faces backlash for being part of MEGA Magazine’s equality campaign

Rappler.com
Maxine Medina faces backlash for being part of MEGA Magazine’s equality campaign

Rappler

People note that Maxine had spoken against transwomen joining pageants in the past

MANILA, Philippines – MEGA Magazine held their annual Independence Day celebration, the MEGA NewPH Ball on June 12, anchoring the festivities this year on the theme of equality.

The theme seemed apt for Pride Month, which is also being celebrated this June – and the magazine’s pre-ball social media campaign only hammered home the idea that the campaign was as much for LGBT Pride as it is for Philippine Independence.

As part of the social media campaign, various celebrities and individuals posed for photos that bore the words “We are equal,” and that were stylized with streaks of light in rainbow colors – the rainbow flag being a well-known symbol for LGBT Pride.

Many prominent LGBT celebrities, allies, and icons posed for their own photos as part of the campaign, including Tim Yap, Javi Martinez, Issa Pressman, Marga Bermudez, Jaya, and Regine Velazquez.

The campaign, however, received backlash for the inclusion of Miss Universe Philippines 2016 Maxine Medina, who posted her version of the photo on her Instagram.

In the caption, she wrote: “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.”

“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 stereotype, 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,” she continued.

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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. 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 stereotype, 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. #MEGAForAll #MEGAEquality #Hm

A post shared by Maria Mika Maxine Medina (@maxine_medina) on

However, some people noted on social media that Maxine’s previous opinions on transwomen joining pageants seemed contrary to her posing for and posting about equality.

In July 2018, Maxine, in a video interview posted by entertainment writer Allan Diones, answered a question about what she thought about transgender women competing in pageants.

“Well kung gusto nila talaga sumali, may mga pageants naman na for them, na right for them, so let’s give them an idea na meron namang pageant for them, para naman equal din sa girls diba,” she said.

(Well, if they really wanted to join, there are pageants for them, that are right for them. So let’s give them an idea that there are pageants for them, so that it’s equal for girls, right.)

Siyempre may mga gusto din tayong i-share lalo na sa women (Of course, there are things we want to share, especially to women),” she said.

Addressing the backlash, Maxine posted on Instagram and admitted that her earlier statement 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 said.

She said that she was “actually proud” of Angela Ponce for having the courage to join the pageant and represent transwomen. 

Maxine also said she has a lot to learn, and that she is “willing to do the necessary next steps to more understands [sic] 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,” she said.

Having been made aware, I am humbling myself as a human being,” she said. “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.”

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Pride month and yesterday's #MEGAForAll and #MEGAEqualityBall saw a resurfacing of a statement I made last year regarding my opinion on Angela Ponce, the first transwoman to join Miss Universe. 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. 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 the better future for all. 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 wo man, you can do anything to be the queens you want to be.

A post shared by Maria Mika Maxine Medina (@maxine_medina) on

Maxine was crowned Miss Universe Philippines in 2016, and went on to represent the country in the Miss Universe pageant that same year, making it to the Top 6. – Rappler.com

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