TV actress and host Dawn Chang agreed with transgender beauty queen Kevin Balot‘s previous remark against transwomen joining pageants, which the latter have already retracted, and subsequently placed herself in hot water on local Twitter.
In a pageant-themed podcast via Facebook called “Queentuhan,” Balot said that the desires of transwomen to join “traditional” pageants might be too much and not considered equality anymore.
After she drew criticisms online, Balot, who was crowned Miss International Queen in 2012 and is a known advocate of LGBTQIA rights, changed tune and apologized for her words that appeared to be invalidating transgender rights.
However, Chang suddenly joined in the discussion on Twitter and argued that Balot didn’t say anything in the first place.
“Kevin Balot didn’t say anything wrong. She shared her perspective and those choices just like ours must be respected. It is her prerogative and is a basic human standard,” Chang tweeted.
“You can disagree with her all you want but that doesn’t mean you can invalidate her,” she added.
Kevin Balot didn’t say anything wrong. She shared her perspective and those choices just like ours must be respected. It is her prerogative and is a basic human standard.
You can disagree with her all you want but that doesn’t mean you can invalidate her.
— DAWN CHANG (@thedawnchang) June 23, 2020
Chang vs LGBTQIA advocates
Known online LGBTQIA advocates tried to school Chang that Balot’s earlier words were perceived to go against the equal representation they had been fighting for in the first place.
Spoken word artist Juan Miguel Severo pointed this out in his comment.
“Hi Dawn. Fan of that Tommy vid. Anyway, brush up on your feminism! Kevin’s statement has now given credence to the transphobia of many. If you’re the ally you say you are, be better. Your defense of an individual is not an excuse for you to empower the oppressors of a community,” he replied to Chang’s tweet.
However, Chang responded anew to this and made a confusing point on feminism and women’s rights.
“I don’t need to be branded as a feminist to support women’s rights. I will support anyone I deem necessary. After all, we want equality, but we have to make sure we’re not compromising someone else’s rights as well,” she said.
I don’t need to be branded as a feminist to support womens rights. I will support anyone I deem necessary. After all, we want equality, but we have to make sure we’re not compromising someone eslses rights as well. https://t.co/XNe0AjkQre
— DAWN CHANG (@thedawnchang) June 24, 2020
Feminism is the belief and the movement of women’s rights based on equality of sexual orientations, including transgender people.
Others questioned Chang for her tweet despite Balot having already corrected her statement.
“Okay, but Kevin took back what she said, she admitted she misspoke. What are you still trying to prove? Do you still agree with her initial statement that trans women are asking for too much?” Twitter user @ribsrefresh said.
Chang, however, went on and continued to reiterate her stance on the issue that people should just respect some opinions against transwomen in beauty competitions. However, this belief runs counter to LGBTQIA’s advocacy for equality.
“Right and wrong is subjective to an extent. Like I said it is someone’s prerogative to have their own viewpoint. Everybody has their own unique perspective. Just coz someone’s principles don’t align to yours doesn’t mean he or she is wrong,” she said to one user.
In a separate tweet, social media personality and doctor Jai Cabajar, meanwhile, urged the public to support Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray instead.
He attached a video of an interview with Gray in 2018 wherein she voiced out her sentiments on the inclusion of 2018 Miss Spain candidate Angela Ponce as the first transwoman in the prestigious pageant.
Anyway, stan Catriona.pic.twitter.com/zLaqli3pYZ
— Jai Cabajar (@jaicabajar) June 23, 2020
‘Mali ako for saying too much’
In the “Queentuhan” episode streamed live last Tuesday, Balot told hosts Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach, Binibining Pilipinas International 2014 Bianca Guidotti, and Mutya ng Pilipinas Intercontinental 2010 Carla Lizardo her opinion on transwomen joining pageants which she said were meant for natural-born women.
This podcast was led by a Facebook page called Trypod Network.
“We transwomen always ask for equality… And I believe us transgender women joining sa mga Miss Universe is not equality anymore eh,” she said.
“Hindi lang ako sang-ayon sa mga ganoong bagay kasi we have our own pageant. We have the Miss International Queen pageant which is the most prestigious transgender beauty pageant. Hindi na siya equality eh, parang asking too much na,” she added.
Balot, however, clarified that she has nothing against large competitions such as Miss Universe for accepting transgender individuals.
She said that she would rather ask the public to support their own platforms such as the Miss International Queen pageant, a contest she won.
After her remarks drew criticisms and confusion, Balot later apologized in a series of tweets saying that she shouldn’t have stated that transwomen joining the pageant is “too much” and not about equality.