First Gay Miss Universe Contestant is From anti-Gay Country

Swe Zin Htet. Photo via Swe Zin Htet & Miss Universe Facebook

Miss Myanmar, Swe Zin Htet, is Miss Universe’s first openly lesbian contestant, but she hails from a country that isn’t accepting of her sexual orientation.

Homosexuality is still a crime in Myanmar, also known as Burma, according to People. Htet came out as lesbian on Nov. 29 in a post on the blog, Missology, just days before the Dec. 8 pageant. 

“I have that platform that, if I say that I’m a lesbian, it will have a big impact on the LGBT community back in Burma,” Htet told People. “The difficult thing is that in Burma, LGBT people are not accepted, they are looked down on by other people and are being discriminated against.”

Htet has been dating Burmese singer Gae Gae for three years, People reported, but had not come out publicly until last month.