Meet the First Trans Woman to Represent New Zealand in Miss Intercontinental 2020

Arielle Keil
via @neptuniamoon and @robinsmithnz

Arielle Keil has made history as the first Filipina-German and first transgender woman to represent New Zealand at the Miss Intercontinental beauty pageant.

The 26-year-old beauty contestant and creative advertising student won the title of Miss Intercontinental New Zealand on Oct. 12, according to Angelopedia.

Keil, who grew up in Auckland, represented New Zealand at Miss Intercontinental 2020 as the first Filipina-German and transgender woman. She will compete overseas to represent New Zealand in 2021.

The beauty queen told Metro that coming out was a terrifying experience for her, but she pressed on.

“Coming out as a gay man was nowhere near as terrifying as coming out as a transgender woman,” Keil, who was born in Davao City, Philippines to a Davao-native father and a Filipina-German mother, said. “Your whole life changes and so does the way people will see you forever.”


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I made peace with the monsters inside of me and the flames that used to burn, now they’re guiding me 🔥✨💘

A post shared by ARIELLE KEIL (ARI) (@arielle.keil) on

“I knew that being openly transgender meant that a lot of the world is going to think I’m some sick freak of nature but I always think of this when making decisions – ‘when I’m 70 and on my deathbed, is this something I’m going to regret doing or not doing?’”

The answer to that question, she said, was crystal clear. Keil added she had already spent her childhood as the wrong gender, but she refused to spend the rest of her twenties in the wrong body.

“This way of thinking really helped me come out to my parents because I knew that whatever their reaction was, this was something I needed to do for myself,” Keil said.


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This dream is all I need cause it’s all I ever had 🌈✨ 📷 @brickandjim_official 👗 @judygaocouture

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She decided to undergo a transition in 2012, but her father rejected the idea and gave her an ultimatum.

“I was given the option to stop transitioning or get out – so I said ‘okay, I’m out,” she told Newshub.

Years after coming out to her father, he finally came around and was present when Keil won the title last month. He said he was proud of her and that meant more than winning, she said.

“He was raised super conservative Catholic, so he was raised to believe that people like me are evil and disgusting – but when you have a child who is queer, or who is trans, then you’re forced to reassess those thoughts,” Keil said.

Keil asked parents of gay children to reflect on their views of the LGBTQ community, Philippine Star reported.

“My message to the parents would be to look at why you have those views around transgender people, around gay people, whatever, and then ask yourself, ‘are those views more important than the child I raised?’”

Feature Image via @neptuniamoon and @robinsmithnz

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