With its first Queer Beauty Queen crowned Miss Bhutan, this tiny ‘traditional and conservative’ country, sends a message in inclusiveness to her larger South Asian neighbours.
Out and proud 23-year-old Tashi Choden Chombal was crowned Miss Bhutan 2022 and is now all set to represent the country at Miss Universe 2022.
During the competition for Miss Bhutan, Chombal competed against 24 other contestants. Sonam Pelden was the first runner-up and Eden Zangmo was the second runner-up. The national beauty pageant was aired on June 4 on Bhutan Broadcasting Service (BBS)
Tashi Choden was born in Nagaland to a Bhutanese mother and a Tibetan Khampa father.
She is confident and a proudly identifies as lesbian.
Miss Bhutan 2022 was raised in Nagaland till the age of three. Her mother – Kinley Wangmo – hailed from Shaa region in Bhutan, Tashi’s father – Chombal was a Tibetan Khampa businessman from Nagaland.
The couple met in Thimphu – the capital of Bhutan – then later married and moved to Nagaland.
Tashi and her mother moved back to the Shaa region in Bhutan, as Tashi’s father used to constantly travel for business.
Tragedy struck Tashi early in her life.
Her father fell ill and died when she was just 4 years old. Ten years later, when Tashi was just 14 years old, her mother also died.
The girl found support from her maternal aunt, maternal grandmother and her stepfather and her two half siblings.
Tashi started modelling at the age of 15. She developed a passion for modelling and took part in shows and pageants.
She participated in pageants outside Bhutan, like the Northeast Fashion Week. Tashi also won the Miss Indo-Bhutan pageant.
In 2018, Chombal participated in Miss Asia 2018 and represented Bhutan. She competed against 24 contestants and was awarded Miss Congeniality. She competed against 26 candidates in the Miss Supermodel Worldwide 2019. She represented Bhutan and was placed in the Top 15
She is a talented actress and has featured in Bhutanese movies like Singye and Nyingtob.
A Proud Lesbian
Tashi was among the very first few people in Bhutan to openly come out as a lesbian.
“Initially, I am 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,” Tashi told ‘The Bhutanese’ news site.
She received positive reactions from her friends who congratulated her, and they said that they kind of knew it as she gave a certain vibe.
The only struggle was to come out to her own family, which she did on the International Pride Day on 2 June 2021.
She said her family is very conservative minded, and the reaction was strong form her aunty and grandmother, but after a month or two, they also accepted the fact.
She said she and her female partner spend time together and do things that couples do, but they also give each other space.
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