Entry #03312012: Climax of my 21.xx year life

I was a participant to this Public Speaking and Writing Seminar last Mar. 30-Apr. 1, 2012. It was fun; I learned a lot and met lots of new friends. Many months after that fun long weekend, I barely remember what we exactly did during the seminar until I stumbled into this:

 That one point after which, I was never the same person.

I was cleaning my room when I found the old notebook we were given at the seminar. One of the exercises we had was to write, in 5 minutes or so, the “climax of our life.” And so I went to write:

It was the summer of 2009, I was reading randomly on the Internet when all of a sudden, I came about the subject of transsexualism. I researched and read more about this and soon enough, I realized that I was in fact, a transsexual woman and not a gay man. A few more months have passed and I was still learning a lot about the topic. (I even came to a transsexual dating chat site where I would meet my boyfriend of almost 2 years). By October, I attended my first STRAP support group meeting. I felt inferior, ugly, and totally like a guy. With these thoughts running through my mind, at exactly Nov. 1, 2009, right after my 2nd STRAP SGM, I started my journey to transition.

I will never forget this moment. It was at this time in my life when I took what will most probably be the sharpest curve of my life, and steered myself into a totally different direction; one where I am myself. I’ve never really shared this out loud or in public with anyone. That time at the seminar made me think of pushing my boundaries and opening myself up to people, to possibilities. Life has never been the same. And when you come to think of it, it really shouldn’t be.

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.

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.

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.”