First lesbian Miss Great Britain finalist vows to use platform to raise tackle anti-LGBTQ+ hate

Emma Jay Webber has made history as the first openly lesbian finalist of an international pageant.

The first openly lesbian Miss Great Britain finalist has promised to use her platform to raise awareness of LGBTQ+ issues, amid a rise in hate crime

Emma-Jay Webber, from Gloucestershire, started entering beauty pageants to boost her self-esteem after the break-up of her marriage in 2016, first entering Miss British Beauty Curve 2018. 

The 41-year-old mother-of-two has since reached the final 10 for Miss Great Britain in her age category, and won the Miss United Kingdom World International contest this year.

She is now preparing to take part in the Miss World International competition, in Florida, in August, aiming to “take this platform to the world stage” and raise awareness of some of the issues facing the LGBTQ+ community. 

“It still doesn’t quite feel like it’s happening… I’m still very much buzzing but nervous,” Webber told Yahoo.

“With everything happening in the world, and the massive increase in hate crimes against LGBTQ+ people, I thought this has to be the next step. I need to take this platform to the world stage and use it as a huge megaphone.”

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And she told Nottinghamshire Live: “Out of the hundreds of girls who do pageantry, there has to be more from the LGBTQ+ community who take part, but I don’t think they are very visible at the moment.

“Now is the time to bring a light to those people.”

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Webber explained that she also wants to help empower plus-sized women, claiming she lost her confidence when she gained weight after having children.

“I had no self-esteem,” she told Yahoo. “I lived in big, black hoodies and jogging bottom. One day, I just thought, ‘I’ve had enough of this.’

“I googled how to improve your self-esteem and saw an ad on Instagram for Miss British Beauty Curve… I loved the fact there were women on stage who looked like me.

“The fact I’ve been able to have children is a miracle in itself, and I’m proud of my stretch marks and mummy tummy.”

Webber, who works in construction, driving a forklift truck, explained that she is proud to prove you can be “beautiful and feminine” while working in a traditionally male-dominated industry. 

She added that as well as shattering stereotypes at her day job, she also wants to change people’s views on pageantry. 

“People need to be open-minded to pageantry, as it’s not what it used to be,” she said. “Feminism has taken over, it’s all about sisterhood and being in an army of positive women.”

Webber’s success comes as Miss Argentina and Miss Puerto Rico announced that tjhey married in October, after keeping their relationship secret for two years.

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Mariana Varela and Fabiola Valentín met at Miss Grand International in 2020 and started dating in secret, before tying the knot and sharing a montage of their relationship on Instagram.

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