Kwentong Chinoy, Lifestyle

Chinoy LGBT In The Philippines: Breaking Pageant Barriers

Vince Aseron Redefines Pageantry As Chinoy LGBT in the Philippines

Vince Aseron Redefines Pageantry
As Chinoy LGBT In The Philippines

In the vibrant sea of cultures in the Philippines, one stands out vividly— the Chinoy community. This community weaves a rich and complex pattern, shaped by its unique culture, values, and traditions. Steeped in conservatism, Chinoy families are distinguished by their deep-rooted adherence to traditional Chinese ethics from the early generations to this day.

This conservative viewpoint is like a lens that colors how they see social issues, especially LGBT matters. As society changes, letting go of old ways and accepting new ones, the dialogue between these old beliefs and new views becomes an interesting story worth looking into.

For this month’s Pride Special feature, I had the opportunity to interview Vince Anthony Aseron. The experience left me utterly spellbound and profoundly inspired to write this article the way I observed him. 

Back in 2022, Vince (24) didn’t just participate in the pageant; he revolutionized it. His dazzling confidence and charisma were nothing short of mesmerizing. Yet, his pioneering journey was marked by a bold act of bravery that stood out from the rest — his daring choice to be the pageant’s first openly LGBT candidate.

Vince Striking A Pose

Photo Courtesy of Vince Aseron

His journey on the runway didn’t merely begin with the pageant—it was sparked during his school days. Vince, who identifies himself as androgynous femme-presenting non-binary, had his own branding ‘The Queen of Runway’ among his classmates; it was as if almost everyone around him could sense an innate talent for presentation and a sharp eye for pageantry critique. As he matured, his fascination with Mr. & Miss Chinatown Pageant (MMCP) only grew stronger, transforming into an encouragement that spanned years. Eventually, he made a daring decision. He asked himself, “What do I stand to lose?” and mustered the courage to join – a bold leap into the unknown.


Breaking Barriers

A spark ignited in Vince as he applied to join the MMCP during 2021 after hearing that the pageant was looking for people who were willing to break barriers. His heart soared when he was accepted, only to have his dreams put on hold when the event was postponed due to the after effects of the pandemic. 

Originally, he thought 2022 would not be his year, as his schedule was overflowing with commitments like completing his academic thesis and starring in indie films. However, life had a sneak peak of success waiting for him. While on vacation, a call from CHiNOY TV came through. Even amidst the hustle and bustle, he recognized this as his golden ticket. He recalled,

“It was like one of the biggest moments of my life. Sabi ko nga, ‘Excited ako sa reveal noon.’”

Upon his return, he sprang into action, gearing up for the journey ahead. What followed was a dizzying whirl of events – his introduction as an LGBT candidate sent shockwaves through the MMCP scene. 

Suddenly, he was thrust into the limelight, splashed across various media outlets. He knew his actions would ignite discussions. But what mattered to him was the ripple effect he had initiated. He had sparked a change, a significant stride forward not just for the Chinoy community but for the LGBT community as well.

Photo of Vince During MMCP

Photo Courtesy of Vince Aseron

Vince was on a quest – to elevate his fellow LGBT peers, to empower them in a predominantly traditional landscape. 

He was set on breaking the mold, shattering the perception that pageants were exclusively for conventional, heteronormative participants. He also had an ambition to be the beacon for those yearning to see their own community represented. And most importantly, he was resolute to shake up the heteronormative views of pageantry, showing the world that someone like him could also steal the spotlight and be recognized for more than just being the “comic relief.” 


Shaping His Identity

Vince’s Chinese heritage is primarily inherited from his Amah. But with her marriage to a Pinoy, the Chinese roots weren’t directly instilled in their family. However, his involvement in MMCP opened his eyes to the significance of his Chinese lineage. Through this platform, Vince discovered more about his Chinoy heritage, both involuntarily and voluntarily, with the connections he made. MMCP was his bridge and his path to understanding his roots.

From childhood, Vince was profoundly influenced by the iconic Heart Evangelista, a luminary in the Chinoy community. He was captivated by her effortless elegance, her undeniable sophistication, and her unwavering confidence in her field. He aspired to emulate her, not just in aesthetics but in influence, aspiring to become an inspiration within the LGBT community, much like Evangelista is in hers.

The runway enigma candidly shared that he often grappled with seeking external validation in the past, despite his potential and desire to challenge societal beauty standards. But at the end of the day, he realized that the only source of validation that matters is the one that comes from oneself.

Vince Receiving Award for Second Runner-Up

Photo Courtesy of Vince Aseron

When the 2022 candidates were revealed, Vince’s appearance caused quite the stir. MMCP is a prestigious national pageant; and although there were LGBT candidates in the past, most presented themselves in a more masculine manner. Vince, however, took a leap of faith and decided to present his true authentic self. He states,

“It’s a beauty pageant, I cannot fake everything that I have… I’ll do my thing because it’s a once in a lifetime [opportunity] to be in a national pageant.”

Fully aware of the unique opportunity, Vince was resolute to unmask his genuine self to the world. He harbored a hope that his actions would resonate with those who shared his experiences, inspiring them to follow in his footsteps.

His authenticity, passion, and confidence won him the title of 2nd runner up, a testament to the power of believing in yourself and what potentials you hold. Truly, beauty and grace aren’t bound by societal norms, but by confidence and individuality.


Diversity in Pageantry

Vince expressed his profound gratitude for the evolving world of pageantry. He’s incredibly thankful for the new doors opening not just for members of the LGBT community, but for all Chinoys, regardless of their shapes and sizes.

Vince Photoshoot with The Hustle Moment PH

Photo Courtesy of Vince Aseron | The Hustle Moment PH

Seeing the MMCP catching up with international pageants that had long been inclusive filled him with a sense of pride and hope. The year 2023 marked a significant shift in the pageant world, demonstrating an openness toward inclusivity that was previously unseen. He mentioned Luis Portelles, an LGBT candidate who made strides in Mister International PH, and later clinched victory in Mister Supranational Canada 2023. He also brought attention to Jane Dipika Garrett, the first plus-size Miss Universe candidate from Nepal, and Marissa Teijo, Miss Paso del Norte, who rewrote history as the oldest contestant in pageant history.

Diverse Candidates

Photo Courtesy of Luis Portelles’ Instagram | Jane Dipika Garrett’s Instagram | Marissa Teijo’s Instagram

Through these examples, Vince highlighted the beauty of the pageantry world’s evolution, which has grown more accepting of all shapes, ages, and sizes, encouraging individuals to proudly represent their communities.

Reflecting on his journey, Vince shares that he is incredibly grateful because he truly reaped what he sowed. He has since become a beacon of inspiration for many aspiring young people, who have reached out to him, seeking advice on how to dominate the stage with the same confidence and grace that he exudes. As he blazes a trail in the pageant world, Vince continues to inspire others to embrace their authenticity and confidently shine in their own unique ways.

Screenshot About Fil-Chi Openness

Photo Courtesy of Vince Aseron | Screenshot from Republic Asia


The Best of Both Worlds

Vince’s story unfolds at the vibrant crossroads of both his Chinoy and LGBT identities. This dual identity doesn’t just set him apart, it allows him to bring a unique perspective to his social circles outside of the communities he’s in, sharing stories and creating deeper connections.

Far from feeling marginalized, Vince takes pride in his dual identity. He sees no reason to conceal or feel distinct because of it. To him, his Chinoy heritage and LGBT identity are sources of motivation and pride, driving him to excel in every endeavor.

“We should never dwell on this. Being LGBT has nothing to do with our careers. Be it in business and also with other industries. Harmony, love, and acceptance will always win. We can achieve success and family harmony with love.”

Vince, with his family as a shining example of inclusivity, hopes that all families can demonstrate the same level of love, acceptance, and support. As he navigates his journey, Vince continues to inspire us to celebrate our unique identities and the beautiful diversity that they bring to the human experience.


A Pioneer in the Pride Movement

Vince, a revolutionary figure in the Chinoy community, advocates for further innovation and breaking away from traditional norms. He envisions future MMCP seasons that delve deeper into the heart of its participants. He believes that the beauty pageant should highlight more backstories and personal journeys, shedding light on why candidates join, what their communities say about them, what they aim to represent, and their aspirations post-victory. He asserts,

“Of course, we all know that it’s a beauty pageant. The glitz & glam will always be there. But I wanted to see an MMCP wherein each and every one has something new to offer on the table,”

Vince and I agreed on many things, but one thing I really liked about his stance on this matter is how the current Chinoy community is all very diverse. Nowadays, there are more of those who have chosen less conventional paths, stepping away from the expected business or doctoral route.

Vince perceives MMCP not just as a beauty pageant, but as a significant medium. He sees it as a bridge that connects the younger and older generations of Chinoys, specifically by helping candidates gain exposure and establish connections in the industry they wish to be part of.

Vince During Ruby Wong Photoshoot

Photo Courtesy of Vince Aseron

In addition to the exposure from MMCP, Vince dreams of seeing a Pride Event specifically for Chinoys. The event would feature successful Chinoy LGBT individuals who have made their mark in their respective industries. Through this platform, the community can challenge traditional notions and demonstrate that being part of the LGBT community in the Philippines is not a hindrance to success.

Imagine having influential figures like Michelle Dee, the girl boss, or Tim Yap, a thriving host and actor, inspiring and becoming role models for younger Chinoys. Vince’s vision seeks to foster an environment where each individual, regardless of their identity, can thrive and succeed.


Where He Is Now

Two years into his reign, Vince Aseron is ascending the ladder of fame. Signed under VP Global, he’s been featured in films like Netflix’s “Keys to the Heart” and “Can’t Buy Me Love.” Furthermore, Vince has proven himself more than just an upcoming star or a fashion model, he also serves as key opinion leader, lending his voice to crucial issues and initiating important dialogues with campaigns that support HIV/Aids awareness, a task he fulfills with the organization Red Whistle. Each of these roles Vince plays not only highlights his versatility but also underlines his deep commitment to making meaningful contributions to society.

Vince Photoshoot with Headshot Clinic

Photo Courtesy of Vince Aseron | Headshot Clinic

Vince’s journey is a compelling narrative that underscores a vital message to each and everyone of us: Our identities, be it Chinoy, queer, or otherwise, should never be seen as limitations. Instead, our identities should be the very reason for celebration and pride. It’s high time that we realize breaking norms and being unapologetically yourself is the first step to achieving true success and happiness. Because the bravest thing you can ever truly do is be yourself.


If you’d like to learn more about LGBT in the Philippines and SOGIE, read all about it on 👉 

Monica Kua Author Bio for CHiNOY TV

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