A beauty pageant contestant in the Philippines is being praised for her honest answer to a question about her love life. When the hosts asked Maria Izobel Taguiam, 17, if she has a boyfriend, she answered that she does... except her "boyfriend" is actually a girlfriend.
"Yes but not a boyfriend but a girlfriend," Taguiam told the competition hosts, according to BuzzFeed. "Because I believe love does not see gender and if you love someone, go for it."
Since her answer, Taguiam has been inspiring people who love the way she handled such a heteronormative question.
Taguiam followed up on her answer with an interview in the Cebu Daily News last week, saying that she just wanted to be honest and "answer from the bottom of my heart."
“I’m just proud to have her. I just want to tell people it is indeed okay to love someone regardless of gender," she said. "She’s someone worth loving, she has a beautiful soul."
For some people, though, her answer was about so much more than just being honest. One person tweeted an article about Taguiam's answer saying, "Heteronormativity, IDK her." They're pointing out the fact that the hosts just assumed Taguiam would have a boyfriend rather than a girlfriend, just because she's a pretty girl in a beauty pageant.
Heteronormativity can sometimes be a difficult concept to grasp, but at its most basic definition means that society is set up to assume everyone is straight, and to favor the people who are. In asking Taguiam if she had a boyfriend, the hosts of the show ignored the possibility that she could be a queer woman.
It would have been just as easy, and less awkward and news-worthy, if they had just asked her if she is in a relationship. Instead, she had to correct them and prove that not only does queerness exist, but that even a 17-year-old beauty queen can be gay.
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