A transgender woman whose family disowned her because of her gender identity has gone on to make history by being crowned Miss New Zealand. Arielle Keil’s traditional Filipino family refused to accept her for her beautiful self, and when she began transitioning in 2017, the 26-year-old found herself completely missing out on their acceptance and support for a while. However, now things are looking up for Arielle and she’s not looking back!
- Yes, Arielle’s family eventually came around. She told Metro that thankfully, her dad now fully supports her as his daughter, which is a wonderful feeling. “I can see on his face that he is proud of me, like genuinely proud of me,” she said.
- Revealing her transgender identity was incredibly difficult. “Coming out as a gay man was nowhere near as terrifying as coming out as a transgender woman,” she admitted. “Your whole life changes and so does the way people will see you forever.” It’s especially difficult when you make such a courageous move, only to be shunned by those you love and who are supposed to love you.
- Arielle knew she had to embrace her true self. As she explained, “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?” She knew the answer was easy. She had spent so much of her young life already living in the wrong body and didn’t want to do it anymore. “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,” she added.
- Now, Arielle is a pageant queen! She recently made history by becoming not only the first Filipino Miss New Zealand but the first trans woman to take the crown as well! “The pageant was an amazing experience. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for the longest time so to actually live out my dream has been amazing,” she said. “I would say to any Filipinos going on a similar journey to stay true to themselves always. Don’t ever let people’s opinions dilute your soul as a person. You only have one life, live it on your terms!” You get it, girl!