Kiss me Hello

They have this statistic where they say the average woman swallows a total of 1 pound of lipstick a year (or maybe just half a pound, I didn’t really make an effort to remember). That’s 1 pound of oil, coloring, fragrance, and lots of those many chemicals we can’t even pronounce. I’m really not a lipstick person much more than I don’t really wear pink, but wearing that dark chocolate (Revlon I think?) lipstick last Saturday opened that door for me that can never be unopened.

Trust me, I'm wearing clothes.

I think I looked great in it. I think. (It’s that or the teddy bear) It was then that I set my hunt to have my own though with two qualifications; 1.) It must be a dark chocolate shade (this rule was then bent to “just dark”) and 2.) It must be organic, natural, or from a company who supports the organic/all natural “cause.”

I dropped by The Body Shop last the other night to look for a dark chocolate lipstick for me to try out. What they had however was this purplish shade that wasn’t really dark and wasn’t really my color so I got out of there feeling disappointed because their lipsticks were on sale (40% off! Hurry up girls!) and cause I can’t think of any other place that would meet my 2nd qualification aside from them. Apparently, I was wrong.

Just earlier, after deciding to check out The Beauty Bar at Gateway, I decided to ask the saleslady if they had a lipstick in a dark shade. I really wasn’t planning on it (and it was actually not in my shopping list of urgent “important” things) but since I’m the god of my own money, who cares? So she gave me this dark purple thing which I tried, bought, and took with me.

Giving up on my 2nd requirement after trying it on, I discovered that it was actually even better than what The Body Shop had. It’s Bloom’s Mineral Plus Lipstick in “Swing” (how appropriate for the shade) and according to their website and its package which I just read,

“Bloom’s Mineral Plus lipsticks have been made with the goodness of natural minerals, Jojoba and beeswax…”

"sealed with a kiss"

What a score! The last time I went to The Beauty Bar was that time I got my ever so reliable and totally gorgeous eyeliner from Prestige, and Human ❤ Nature’s chocolate lip balm. Now that I think of it, could all of The Beauty Bar’s “beauty stuff” be organic/natural? Well, that’s something I’ll need to know. For now though, I’m quite happy with my “Swing” lipstick. Being an “eye person” when it comes to makeup, it will definitely change things. I’ll post some pics when I get the chance. And oh! Please do share, what Beauty Bar treasures have you found? Feel free to comment below!

L-G-B-T getting J-O-B-S

I just saw this post from the Society of Transsexual Women in the Philippines (STRAP) Facebook group page:

We all know it, getting a job right now is already hard as it is. Sure, you can always just apply at some random place and get a job but of course it’s not all about that. You need to think of whether you actually would like the job in the first place, if you’re qualified for it, if you think you would enjoy it, and if you think it’s something you can start a career from, etc.  Now, things get much more complicated if you’re a part of the LGBT community, especially so in this country. We don’t exactly have the legislative protection from employment discrimination and even then, employers can just say you weren’t qualified for the job in the first place, even if you were.

For the L, G, and B people, it’s hard. But imagine what it’s like for the transmen/women who are looking for jobs. Like that post above for instance. Especially when you’re already in the middle of transition. The thing is, whether or not your lesbian, gay, bisexual, heterosexual, cisgender, or transgender, it shouldn’t even matter. We don’t work with our penis/vagina do we? But of course, we all know that for some, if not most people, it still very much is an issue.

When I graduated a year ago, I was still very much in bum mode. Not only that, I was also clueless and direction-less as to what I wanted to do next. Do you know how it feels when you have plans and all of a sudden, you discover that those plans no longer fit you? Well, that’s what happened to me. From the time I graduated til the time I got my first job at Greenpeace (a timespan of 4 months), I have been to 4 interviews, counting the Greenpeace interview. It’s not a lot, I know I didn’t look for much but of those interviews, 1 interviewer asked me if I was male or female (of which I answered I’m biologically male but identify as female), 1 conducted a 10 minute interview on me and never called back, and 1 panel of interviewees (for a research analyst position and upon seeing my resume) insisted I probably would not like working for them. Eventually, I did get the Greenpeace job and it was great. I worked for four months and I quit last June for reasons I am not willing to blog about. From the second week of June until today, I have been jobless. During that time until now, I have only been to one serious interview and I didn’t get the job (for some unknown reason).

Given that much interviews though, one can’t really infer that I got rejected based on my gender expression. But the thing is, one of the reasons why I haven’t gone to interviews that much in the first place, is that fear of rejection. I just can’t bear to know and be really sure, that I got rejected for a job post simply because I was a transwoman. I have been to some interviews and I know I’m very very much fortunate enough not to have some “incidents” happen to me, but it just freaks me out that those employers might be having some other thoughts at the back of their heads. Paranoid much? My mom doesn’t seem to think so. She tells me it’s one of the reasons why I’m still jobless. She tells me that the mere fact I’m trans automatically signals a red flag to employers out there not to hire me. And it sucks. My mom is all ok with the trans thing but evidently, not as 100% ok as I am. We even fight because of it; me insisting that me being trans is not the cause of the issue, and her insisting that it is. She’d go on saying, “Oh, don’t dress up too much.” or “Don’t wear makeup.” And I’d go thinking.. WTF!? Does my mom think I go in drag to interviews or something? Is that really how she sees me, just because I’m trans? It’s just frustrating. VERY frustrating.

The main point is, it scares me. And it’s unfair. I shouldn’t be feeling like this. No one should. Everytime I go out to an interview, I always have that worry that me being trans will be an issue when it actually shouldn’t. Why should it? It’s sad. I preach about LGBT empowerment and all that when in fact, I can’t even empower myself at times. No one should be feeling like this. I’m trans. Just like someone has blue eyes or curly hair, it’s just one part of me, along with many others that define who I am. I am a person who happens to be trans. Not a transwoman who happens to be a person.

The Curious Case of Hideo Muraoka

Here are just a few of the MANY Tumblr posts I have of Brazilian-Japanese model, Hideo Muraoka. If you don’t know him, shame on you.

I really don’t know why but ever since I first saw him way back in PFW S/S 2011 (2 seasons ago), I’ve started obsessing about him. Well, not obsess in a ‘Fatal Attraction’ kind of way but maybe more like in a “super duper devoted fangirl” way. I remember when I first saw him almost a year ago, he and his wife (I know, this just breaks my heart) were being interviewed by all these reporters and I got the courage to ask him for a picture with me. He just smiled, stood next to me, and put his arms around me. *sigh* If only his wife wasn’t around.

My first ever picture with Hideo. No judgments. It's already a year old and I looked different. And oh, I remember my friends taking a picture with his wife while I was having this taken.

They’re just so perfect. Hideo and his wife (whose name for some reason has always eluded me). They even have a baby. There was one time I saw Hideo being interviewed and his wife was just standing by, with their baby. When Hideo’s interview was over, his wife smiled at him and handed the baby to him from afar and Hideo made this just oh-so-adorable thing where he was walking towards his wife and kid in a crouching, whatever, oh-so cute way. The picture of a perfect family. Two perfectly beautiful people together. Two articulate models, not the stupid types, together. Two very very nice people, stopping for anyone who approaches them, together. And of course, I can only assume but I’m confident of it, two loaded people together.

I think it’s what makes me attracted to Hideo; his so-called “perfection.” I can’t even see a flaw, no matter how hard I squint and try, I just can’t. Why do these people have everything? Looks, brains, a nice attitude, a great network of friends and acquaintances, and *ehem* money. It’s just these types of people that make me wonder why I am where I am right now and why are they where they are right now? Is it fair? Or is it just, the way things are? I wonder…

One last eye-candy for this post. Me with one of the "other Brapanese models," Daniel Matsunaga. Sure he's also one them "perfect people" but he's still a boy though. That's why I don't find him as appealing as Hideo, who is every bit of a man. *hihi*

She

I came cross this video on Facebook. It’s a “documentary” on transwomen featuring no other than Ms. Adri Pangilinan, a member of the Society of Transsexual Women in the Philippines (STRAP).

I must say that I am very much in awe how all of STRAP’s ladies always present themselves with great elegance and poise, and Adri is no exception. She explained the topic of transsexualism very well and I think it’s a good reference for those who are wondering, or simply curious about transsexualism. I’m actually also very pleased that they added another perspective in this video which is that from Adri’s boyfriend, Colin. All in all, I thought that it was a very good “documentary” clip and *minor* video production issues aside (advertising graduate here), it delivered on it’s main purpose: to answer many questions most people have on transsexualism, and even bring to light those things that most people are not even aware of about it. I hope I can either be a part of or, hopefully soon, make a video as enlightening and insightful as this one. So for all of you who have no idea what transsexualism is, or someone who is aware about it but remains confused, please go ahead and watch this video. It’s 17 minutes that will definitely be well-spent.

Eye(sore) Candy

I just chatted with a friend of mine and one of the things we’ve discussed is looking good. Literally looking good. All of us have our own insecurities when it comes to our looks, but it seems that society has always placed a heavier burden on women on having to look “pretty” or “sexy” or “hot” while men can look, and I’m using the term loosely, “rugged” without any regard for their looks and can totally get away with it.

So we were talking about his going to the gym and his insecurities about “that little fat” on his tummy when he said one of the sweetest things I’ve heard:

“Zoe has her hormones and therapy thing going and I work on my body, it’s just fair.”

Ok, it wasn’t really sweet but he does make a very good point. He also said many things like:

“What kind of guy wouldn’t want to look good for their girl?”

“If I just wanted to become single, I don’t care about it (looks). But if I’m looking for a girl, I want to offer her something.”

“Those American guys are just fastfood victims. You try and look pretty for them but they just stay fat and munch on their burgers.”

“I want to be able to carry my wife after the wedding and I certainly can’t do that if I’m like one of those fat American guys.”  (Ok, I think this is a valid sweet line)

 I’m not into racial stereotyping but I was just quoting what he said and well… Anyway, the whole point of it is, why do men think they can get away looking the way they look without even exerting any effort in looking any better? Is it from their assumption that they already look good? Really?

Hideo's Brazilian-Japanese so he doesn't really count. My point is, have you seen many guys like him (50%!?) walking the streets of Manila? Huh? Huh!?

Sadly, that may just be the case. According to this survey, “48 percent of Filipino males felt they were sexually attractive, coming a close second to Americans, 53 percent of whom felt the same about themselves.” 48 percent. That’s almost 50% or 1 in 2. I’m not trying to degrade the looks of the Filipino male but of the many guys I see when I do go out, I’m most definitely sure I don’t find 50% of them attractive. Heck, the moment I see that many guys I’m attracted to in just one day, I might as well just die and go to heaven (or wherever if you don’t believe in that).

Women go to all these lengths, even more,  just to look good: shaving, waxing, makeup, facial creams, lotions, diamond peels, etc. Men on the other hand can just get out of bed, shower for 5 minutes, then be all “good” and decent to everyone’s eyes (or at least that’s what they think). If a woman doesn’t wax “down there”, it’s gross; for a guy, it’s totally normal. If a woman doesn’t have makeup on and she has this tired look on her face, she looks old; for a guy, he looks “respectable.” If a woman has even the slightest of hair growth on her face, it’s weird; for a guy, even if there’s a forest of hair growing on his chin, he just looks “rugged.” Think about it. Is it really fair?

No conformity. No entry.

I just read this post a while ago:

Until where is my right if not as gay or a human, atleast  as a resident of Baguio City or a customer of SM or a citizen of the Philippines for that matter to complain against descrimination and harassment from authorities???

 I have had some problems and experiences and incidents with security guards of SM when it comes to being frisked at the entrance of the said mall which i never experienced in other establishments. To site an example there is this one lady guard i have always had an encounter with everytime i go to the female side and she would always force me and reiterate to go to the male side when i am in a hurry when the male side is full because they are so carefully frisked with their bags and other stuff.

 Is it mandatory for a male or a female to be frisked by a male or to a female guard? Or is it  mandatory for both genders to be segregated when you get to be frisked by both? Why is it that in some entrances of SM they don’t practice that? I am not asking for special treatment i am not an important person. I am just practicing my common sense especially when you are in a hurry getting inside and there is a full line at the entrance while the other isn’t. There were other experiences i had with them when there was a long line at the entrance when this voluptous sexy lady with a big bag wasn’t frisked at all while the old lady next in line and the following were frisked. And i noticed that if you are well dressed and look decent they wouldn’t dare frisk you while if you look shabby and untidy (most likely a stereotyped individual) or look like you’re a “promdi”  and you get frisked more? And until where is their right to frisk you? Do they need to frisk you two (2) times? Is this how it feels like when you’re country is in martial law?Now i know why some are afraid of this scenario. Marami pa ako tanong at experiences pero maybe i would blurt out my experiences when there is a discussion about this. Just need some insight lang po.

 While I have been fortunate enough not to be hassled by guards whenever I take the ladies’ line in mall entrances (yes, I’m talking about SM), not everyone has been. First of all, I really don’t understand the necessity for separating men and women when all they’re going to do is just check their bags. It’s impractical and for me, just downright stupid. To be honest though, especially when I was just starting on my transition, I was always intimidated by the segregation. I was always worried where I should line up and if I do choose to line up at either one, the question in my head is if I will be subject to some kind of hassle if the guards think I shouldn’t have lined up on that certain line. Imagine, if just entering a mall can cause someone to have all these worries, what more at other places like restrooms, the MRT, or other places where gender segregation is followed?

It just makes me think; I’m very lucky to have experienced what it seems to be only the slightest inconveniences regarding my gender identity/expression as compared to all the stories I have heard. Some have been stripped at airports, denied entrance to clubs/bars, and other humiliating experiences that anyone, no matter who they are or how they express themselves, should never experience. It just makes me wonder why society is so intolerant at even the slightest of deviations that they forget the bottomline: that despite anything and everything, we’re all human. Just human. We’re just people who happen to be transgender, or Asian, or dyslexic, or whatever. Not the other way around. Segregation certainly doesn’t help with things but I do acknowledge its necessity in some situations, and a mall entrance is not one of them. If a mere mall entrance is segregated according to people’s gender (or any other factors that don’t have anything to do with entering a mall for inspection purposes) just what exactly does that tell our society? Or what our society tells to other people?

P.S.: I think the person who made the post is still confused with being gay/lesbian versus being transgender (but I’m not really sure). I already sent him (or her) a message on Facebook for “inquiry.”

Luscious Luggage

So I just recently came home from a 4 day workshop (details of which I have yet to blog) and I had with me my plain old black luggage that I had always used since I left for Subic last 2009. It serves it’s purpose; it’s sturdy, holds my stuff in, and bottomline, it does it’s job.

It's really not that bad (pardon the image quality, I haven't been able to take decent pics ever since my camera got broken)

 Since I’ve started travelling more and more frequently though, or actually as far as I can remember, I’ve always dreamed of having to tote those Louis Vuitton luggage in the Damier pattern with an attractive looking bellboy whisking me off to my 5-star hotel room. Of course I know I can only have one thing at a time and those LV luggage have always been a target for thieves or whatnot so I was absolutely thrilled when I saw these from the Vogue UK website.

Aren’t they adorable? I’m not really into animal print in my clothes but it does look great in luggage. We often overlook where we put our stuff in when travelling just as long as it keeps our stuff. On the other hand, I for one fully believe that luggage can make or break your whole “travel ensemble” and it’s never a bad thing to always look your best. Am I right?

‘Like’ like your Life depended on it!!!

Just minutes ago, I saw a tweet from StyleBible.ph and I saw this ad from Folded and Hung.

Now this should make all those chauvinistic Manila mayors insecure

I’m sure you’re already all well aware of the whole ‘billboard fiasco’ (that is if you’re from Metro Manila) and may I just say I really missed those billboards from the Philippine Rugby Team. They’re all that I look forward to when I ride the MRT and it’s cute seeing all the people in the train half-looking at them like they’re embarassed to have people know they’re actually looking when in fact, everyone wants to look, who are they kidding? But of course, leave it to some insecure mayors who feel their masculinity being challenged to have an order to take down all “indecent” billboards in EDSA. Now I don’t know about you but I miss those billboards! I miss those men in underwear and fine, I miss the girls too. Now’s our chance to take it all back! Folded and Hung is going to have a dialogue with the Advertising Standards Council (ASC which I know all too well from my AD-___ classes in college) to have the picture above put into a billboard in EDSA (or at least I’m hoping). Just ‘like’ Neil Etheridge’s wall photo in Folded and Hung’s Facebook page and we’re all set.

I didn't bother blurring your name. Everyone deserves to know who you are.

Now of course it’s not 100% certain that with enough ‘likes,’ we’ll be seeing Neil Etheridge’s juicy billboard in EDSA soon but it’s a good start. With people like “Dheo” over there though, it’s become clear that our society has become obssessed with censorship. The latest issue surrounding Mideo Cruz’ “blasphemous” artwork is yet another example of a “conservative” society that imposes to its members what’s wholesome or not. It’s an underwear ad for Pete’s sake! You want the product shown in a ‘sampayan’ or something? So to everyone who’s going to read this, please click ‘like’. This isn’t just some marketing campaign to boost Folded and Hung’s Facebook page visits, it’s a campaign to reclaim our right to free speech. If they started with “indecent” billboards and “blasphemous” artworks, who knows what they will censor next?

Lost in Identification

Last night, I got an email from a Facebook post from one of many NGO groups (STRAP) I belong to. It said there was this 27 year old transwoman from Zamboanga who died from complications due to Hepatitis B, which later on caused her kidney cancer. Her body was put, and still remains, in the hospital morgue. Now the caveat is (yes, there still is one), the girl has no known family members in Manila or well, basically no one knows where her family is. She ran away from home when she was 14 or 15 and now she’s dead. 3 days in a morgue, with no one to claim her body and have her buried. I simply dismissed it thinking, “What can I do?” and went on with what I was doing and went to bed.

In the morning when I woke up, I saw the Facebook post has gotten a few more replies and it was then that I saw things were even worse than I had thought. The people at the hospital advised my friend not to take her out in case the family does appear and claims the body. If that happens, they might get in serious trouble for burying their friend without her family knowing. Now I didn’t know this but apparently, morgues (or maybe just that one in particular) hold onto the dead bodies they have for 60 days and after which, they couldn’t care less what happens to them. That’s how long my friend has to wait to be able to bury her friend without any consequences and that’s a very long time. I can already imagine the body being a bit decomposed and well.. It’s not really pretty as we all know. ANOTHER thing is the girl doesn’t have any IDs and her birth certificate is also missing. She doesn’t have anything to prove her identity. All she ever owned or had was a small suitcase full of clothes, makeup, a flat iron, and a curling iron. We have all suggested many things from raiding her phone (which wasn’t of much help since she ran away when she was 14/15), looking through her documents (she had none), to asking or contacting someone from Zamboanga who might be able to help. My friend is currently trying to do all that she can right now and we are all trying to help her too but it just made me think.

What if I was in a situation like that? What if I suddenly died and no one knew where my family members were and no one knew of my identity? What would that be like? It’s just sad when I think about it. Morbid even. But I just can’t help but think if I were in that person’s situation. It must be very hard, and scary. I can’t imagine myself in a situation like that. I refuse to. It’s something I wouldn’t want to happen to anyone. I can only imagine.

I hope sooner or later that we find the family. I’m trying to help out because I don’t want anyone to be put in that situation. I just don’t.

Skydrive Overdrive

I’m one of those people who are into making online accounts without even thinking if I’ll need them or not. To date I have 2 GMail accounts, 3 Yahoo! Mail accounts, Multiply, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Formspring, Vimeo, and just earlier, WordPress. I’m sure I have a lot more than those I have just listed above (VERY SURE) and a lot of them have done their job well. Except one. I remember way back when I signed up for a Hotmail account. I didn’t really need it, I just wanted to have yet another email or account just so I can maybe one day tinker with it and find out it has a lot more going on for it. And that it did. See, when making a Hotmail account, you just don’t make a new email, you make a Windows Live account giving you not just email but also instant messaging, a social profile (yes, Google+ wasn’t some innovation, surprise surprise), and what I’m really thankful of right now, an online file-sharing service.

Windows Live Skydrive's photo gallery puts Flickr's to shame

I’ve lost (and broken) countless USB drives for the past few years and lately, out of frustration, I stopped buying a new one every few months and have been USB drive-less for more than a year now. I also never really saw the need for me to have an external HDD (well, I did, I was just broke) so I pretty much just have all of my files on one place: my PC. Now I’m well aware of the importance of backing up your files in case something goes wrong but without external drives at my disposal, where else can I go? And that’s when I fell in love with Skydrive.

In addition to 25 GB of online storage space, you have 5 GB alloted for Windows Live Mesh, where you can sync your files automatically without having to worry about manually uploading files for backup

First off, I know there are a lot of online file sharing services out there and I acknowledge that. I even use some of them (Syncplicity and Dropbox). However, there are lots of things that give Skydrive that edge against its competitors:

  • 25 GB of online storage space (I haven’t seen sites that offer that much)
  • Automatic syncing of your files via Windows Live Mesh (up to 5 GB)
  • A cool online gallery for photos and videos
  • For regular Hotmail users, the convenience of not having to sign up for a dedicated file sharing service

Sure you can always just get an external HDD or just a regular USB drive but for those of us (I would like to think I’m not the only one in my situation) who have no other choice but depend on online file-sharing services, Windows Live Skydrive is one of the best, if not the ultimate file-sharing service that I have ever tried. It has saved me from losing my files when my laptop died (may it rest in peace) and now, it still serves as a cool place for me to drop my files knowing a PC crash won’t harm it (Windows Live Mesh automatically syncs your files to the cloud for backup), share pictures and videos with it’s very refreshing gallery, and more.

It is not without faults though. For the long time that I have tried the service, the one thing I’ve noticed about it is it’s dependence on the Windows Silverlight plug-in for bulk uploads but other than that, I can’t think of any other fault Skydrive has. Try it for yourself and let me know what you think. And oh, despite my praises for Skydrive, I still never use my Hotmail account. No one company’s perfect right?