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Winner of modelling competition says coming out as trans was “liberating”

Luke Mintz May 30, 2017

Modelling shows have become increasingly popular in recent years. Getty: rayand

The winner of a major modelling show has said it was “liberating’ to come out as transgender.

Model Peru Merona won The Fiercest of Them All – the Filipino version of America’s Next Top Model – on Monday, beating local and international models throughout a gruelling television contest.

She then gave an interview on Facebook Live, in which she discussed her identity as a transgender woman.

After winning, Merona – who is Filipino and was raised in Canada – released an interview on Facebook Live in which she discussed her identity as a transgender woman.

The interview was promoted by the television show, which airs on Filipino channel News TV, as “a revelation”.

She later took to Instagram to thank her supporters.

“This was a liberating moment for me,” she wrote.

“Thank you to my [Fiercest of them All] family for the love and support.

“For no discriminating at all. For acceptance. I love you guys.

“To my family, friends, fans, supporters, followers, thank you so much.

Merona, who goes by the Instagram name ExoticBeautyPeru, said that coming out as a transgender woman was a “new beginning of a my journey”.

“I know it’s not going to be easy,” she added, “but I’m blessed and lucky to have amazing people surrounding me who have my back.”

The Philippines’ record on LGBT rights has faced criticism in recent months.

Earlier this year the Filipino President, Rodrigo Duterte, broke his promise to support same-sex marriages, and refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of transgender people, saying in a speech: “Wherever God has placed you, stay there”.

Duterte also sparked international outrage when he called the US Ambassador to the Philippines, Philip Goldberg, the “gay son of a whore”.

Filipino President Duterte called the US Ambassador a “gay son of a whore”

Away from politics, however, many Filipinos are energetically supportive of LGBT rights, with a moving video produced by a group of trans Filipinos going viral earlier this year.

More: Asia, duterte, Peru Merona, Philippines, Philippines, Trans

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