Miss Bhutan 2022, Tashi Choden Chombal, will compete as her country’s first representative in the Miss Universe pageant later this year. She is also Bhutan’s only out lesbian public figure. Indeed, the country’s only openly gay or lesbian public figure.
An amazing leap forward for a country that only decriminalised homosexuality in February 2021.
Tashi Choden Chombal’s maternal aunt and grandmother took her in at 14 following the death of her mother. She’d lost her father a decade before. Tashi began a successful modelling career a year later.
The 23-year-old told The Bhutanese she originally came out as bisexual on Facebook at the age of 15. But she later realised she was solely attracted to other women.
“Initially, I came out as a bisexual person on my Facebook account, but as I did more research and reading, I realized that I am actually a woman comfortable in my body and attracted to other women.”
On International Pride Day 2021, Tashi came out to her family. She said her conservative aunt and grandmother reacted strongly to the announcement but came around within a month or two.
Miss Bhutan 2022
Tashi Choden Chombal received mainly favourable feedback on winning Miss Bhutan 2022. Despite the country only decriminalising homosexuality in 2021, local LGBTIQA+ activists say Bhutan is a tolerant country. In fact, no one ever faced prosecution under the old law for adult homosexual acts.
Bhutanese Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering personally contacted Tashi to congratulate her on her win.
Tashi said that as a Miss Universe contestant she would need a cause to represent and hers would be her own community.
“I have had some discussions with Sir Karma Tshering (Founder and Director of Miss Bhutan Universe), and my first priority is the LGBTIQ community and Pride for the community.”
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