Times are a-changin’, and thank God for that. Just a few decades ago, it would have been scandalous to hear of a pageant contestant in a same-sex relationship. Today, two-time Miss Spain winner Patricia Yurena Rodriguez has received an outpouring of encouragement and support for coming out as gay to her followers on social media.
Rodriguez was crowned Miss Spain in both 2008 and 2013. Now Rodriguez has another crown to add to her collection: She is the first openly gay beauty queen in Spain. The 24-year-old Miss Universe runner-up chose to announce her same-sex relationship with her partner, Vanessa Cortes, by posting an intimate picture of the pair to her Instagram account, captioned “Romeo and Juliet.” Rodriguez and DJ girlfriend Cortes are seen in bed together, locked in a passionate embrace.
Coming out on social media is ballsy, even for a celebrity with a following. The beauty queen stereotype is even harder to break, considering the anti-gay laws that plagued the Moscow Miss Universe pageant in 2013.
Posting this picture could not have been easy for Rodriguez, but fans can breathe a collective sigh of relief. Rodriguez’s Instagram followers embraced her announcement with open arms. Miss Spain tweeted to her supporters, “Thanks to everyone for their comments. I published the picture spontaneously and in an impulsive manner.” She added, “I don’t regret what I did and I did it because I am happy about what’s going on in my life.”
As a blogger, I am no stranger to the world of anonymous internet hate. I often cringe in empathy when I see these types of announcements. Rodriguez was brave and open as she shared her personal life with the public in an attempt to break harmful pageantry stereotypes. Fortunately the majority of her fans’ comments were positive and uplifting, including, “Beautiful couple such an inspiration” and “Good for you! #Equality.”
This is an important move for the pageant world, where “imperfect” contestants are often shamed. The first pageant contestant with tattoos was seen just last year, in 2013, and a former Miss Kentucky winner revealed she was gay in 2014.
Rodriguez has been praised for her courage to open doors for gay women in the pageant circuit. She shares a refreshing perspective on her personal blog: Lesbian beauty queens should not be an anomaly. They have just as much right to the crown as any other contestant.
Rodriguez says, “If you want to see that ideal become a reality… you have the courage to change history.”
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