Filipino crowned in first ever Miss Trans Global 2020
Filipina transgender Mela Franco Habijan
STAR/ File
Filipino crowned in first ever Miss Trans Global 2020
Charmie Joy Pagulong (The Philippine Star) - September 14, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Filipina transgender Mela Franco Habijan was crowned Miss Trans Global 2020 in a virtual grand coronation on Saturday.

She also won several special awards, such as, “Eloquent Queen of The Year,” “Super Model of The Year” and “Glam Beauty of The Year.”

Runners-up for the virtual pageant are  Rebeckah Loveday, Australia (1st runner-up); Veso Golden, Ghana (2nd runner-up); Semakaleng Sma Mothapo, South Africa (3rd runner-up), and Danielly Drugge, Sweden (4th runner-up).

Other awards were Drugge as Queen of Hearts; Golden as Stylish Star of the Year and Gifted Idol of the Year; and Niña Marie Similatan, Miss Trans Global Philippines, as Popular Goddess of The Year.

Miss Trans Global is an “international online pageant for trans and gender nonconforming people from all backgrounds, which was started to raise awareness on transgender and LGB issues around the world,” according to its website.

Habijan was a former writer for ABS-CBN, an actress and LGBTQ advocate.

In her Instagram account, Habijan thanked her supporters.

“My heart is grateful for the messages of love that I have been receiving from everyone! Maraming, maraming salamat sa inyo (Thank you all)! Inspirasyon ko kayong lahat (You are all my inspiration),” she wrote.

“While going through the competition, I only had one thing in mind: to represent the Philippines in the best way I can. I really wanted to make every Filipino proud and be worthy of carrying our flag. Having this motivation made me put my heart and soul to every single challenge,” she said.

“Though the journey was tough because it was a digital pageant in the middle of the pandemic, the fire in my heart was ignited by my family, friends and supporters who firmly held my hand and believed that I could make it to the top,” she added.

Habijan also honors slain transgender Jennifer Laude and other trans Pinays.

“This is truly a defining moment in my life – a childhood dream that came true, a celebration of my truth, a testament of the love and acceptance that I get from the world, and my little way of honoring the life and dignity of Jennifer Laude and other trans Pinays ridiculed and oppressed by the society,” she said.

“While there are a number of people who look down and laugh at us for being trans, I will always stand tall for my trans community. I will always try my best to represent them well. And I will always live by my beautiful purpose: to never give up, to never be bothered, and to never get tired of making my family, my friends, my country, and my God proud!” Habijan posted.

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