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People Are Loving This Pantene Philippines Ad Starring A Transgender Beauty Queen ❤️

A new ad by Pantene in the Philippines is going viral. The ad depicts the empowerment of a woman as she grows up in a world that doesn’t understand her.

That woman is Kevin Balot, the transgender beauty queen!

The ad, titled “Strength knows no gender,” starts with Balot describing the confusion of trying to grow up unsupported by the people around you. She speaks directly to not give up against a feeling of hopelessness. Her words touch on a message that is both universal and very specific to the experience of someone discovering they’re trans.

“They say it’s just a phase… maybe. Or maybe you’re confused. No one knows. The fact is, you are still discovering who you really are and that is OK.”

It is a moment to be proud.

The video ends with a shot of Balot and the three young people portraying the doubt of youth. She gives the powerful message,

“When they don’t see to understand you, there will be others who do. Find them. Be good. Be grateful. Be happy. Talent, personality, kindness, wit, style, everything beautiful about you has nothing to do with your gender. The journey won’t be easy, but I know you will be stronger. Like me.”

The ad is particularly important due to where it’s being run. The Philippines is a highly religious country that does not formally recognize transgender people. While the country isn’t necessarily persecuting anyone who is LGBT+, it has also been an uphill battle to enact protections for them.

This campaign comes after the success of another trans-inclusive ad Pantene launched in Thailand earlier this year. The “See beauty, not gender” ad showed people in different professions and asking the audience if they “only [saw] her gender?”

It’s enough to get you emotional.

Even Ellen Pompeo can’t hold back the tears.

The ads have proven popular with the one from the Philippines at over half a million views and very positive comments. We can only hope this leads to a greater acceptance of the trans community in the Philippines and around the world.

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Written by Ben Acosta

Ben Acosta is an Arizona-based fiction author and freelance writer. In his free time, he critiques media and acts in local stage productions.