MANILA, Philippines -- The recent achievements of Filipino transgender beauty queens Kevin Balot and Michelle Montecarlo in pageants abroad have ignited debates on social media.
While many say they should be lauded for their beauty and courage, others contend that they serve as signs that the country is going to the dogs.
Catholic-dominated Philippines has always been known as a conservative society, where the Church strongly opposes contraception, homosexuality, divorce and same sex unions. The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, meanwhile, has also consistently cried discrimination--even abuse in some cases--due to their chosen sexual orientation.
Just recently, a debate was fueled on social networking site Facebook and micro-blogging site Twitter after Filipino transgender Kevin Balot was crowned Miss International Queen 2012 in Pattaya, Thailand.
Transgender beauty queen Michelle Montecarlo was also a finalist in the same pageant.
Some Filipino netizens were all praises for both Balot and Montecarlo.
Facebook user Patricia Marrie said, "Wow galing ng pinoy...even sa ms gay beauty contest...nakukuha iba tlaga ang pinoy...proud 2 be pinoy."
Mary Ann Machate, meanwhile, congratulated Balot, "Yun congrats kevin balot gnda u tlaga hehehe."
@junenigma posted on Twitter, "Congratulation to miss kevin balot for winning the crown of MISS INTERNATIONAL QUEEN 2012... Don't change girl...more power..."
However, some social media users said Balot's victory was actually a disgrace to the Filipino community.
Facebook user Kaio Ken posted, "Baklang beauty queen... pinoy... Nakakahiya!! Ano ang susunod? Lesbian na Mr Universe??"
Neil Cañete, likewise, said, "Di sya kapuri-puri!"
Sviatoslav Richter then asked fellow netizens, "Ano dagdag nito sa ekonomiya?"
Answering Richter's post, Lei de Leon said, "Just congratulate the winner.... Ur not even helping yourself."
"Kung makapangutsa ibang tao jan...why not keep ur envy to urself...at least may na achieve ung tao...well to the winner na kapwa ko Pililipino...congrats sau," Facebook user Rhea Dupaya posted.
In the case of Montecarlo, who said she left her ex-husband in Egypt after his family found out that she was not a woman, some netizens empathized with her and just said she should have just been honest from the start.
Arnold Tividad Delos Reyes said, "Dapat xe wala siyang nilihim nung una palang."
Likewise, Lyn Enore said, "Saklap nmn dpat umpisa palng cnabi na nya."
Netizen Ljay Colon posted, "Wla snang pblema kung nsbi nya ng maaga pra alam niya agad ng maaga kung anu khinatnan ang gnwa nya at nkhanap sya na better guy to accept him the way who is he."
Facebook user Kaio Ken said, "I hope gays will see this is as an eye-opener.. that they are living a LIE: living and acting like women when they are in fact MEN."
Some netizens also took to social media and joked about migrating to the US where same-sex marriage is allowed in some states.
Some also expressed their joy over US President Barack Obama's re-election. Obama has openly expressed his support for same sex couples' right to get married.
Twitter user @hasunnyboy said, "Maybe i would want to migrate to the United States and have a gay marriage there where it's supported. I'd feel happier."
Netizen @detania, likewise, tweeted, "@BarackObama's speech is so convincing that it makes me think to migrate to the US if I decided to become a lesbian one day."
"Congratulations @BarackObama Standing tall for #GayRights #WomensRights & ALL RACES," tweeted Somaya Reece.
Belieber 8, whose username is @KidrauhlSlayer, said, "'If Romney wins, none of you are invited to my wedding. Bc I wont be able to have one.' That is the saddest thing I've heard. #GAYRIGHTS."