Make it Happen
In Every Issue
MIMI LUCAS GINEY VILLAR LAUREL FANTAUZZO DET NERI DOC CDRS
Libay Linsangan Cantor @tanginatibs
Interview with Cindy Aquino
ang sikretong mundo
the invisible lesbian
ni tangina tibs
AC Martin BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR Film review by Jonette Valenciano
In this issue
sison for feist
the lesbian heart
FALLING IN LOVE WITH
SPRING CLEANING YOUR
WHAT TO DO WHEN
A STRAIGHT GIRL
YOUR FRIEND COMES OUT TO YOU
The question is not who is going to let me
itâ€™s who is going to stop me.
MAKE What we have are stories of courage and empowerment. We have created FEIST as an avenue for sharing lesbian stories of life, love, loss, and hope.
IT Who we are is not defined by mere words or incoherent phrases strung together by men in sandos downing bottles of gin on a street corner. The lesbian Pinay is more than the stereotype she’s learned to grow up with and the labels she’s confided herself in.
HAPPEN Coming out is just the first step, and it’s the most difficult one yet. But we’re here. We’ve made it through and we know you could, too. Join us in this crazy wonderful adventure, would you? Let’s go Make It Happen.
Love, THE FEIST TEAM
The FEIST team
EDITOR IN CHIEF
libay linsangan cantor ac martin m. wu
EDITORIAL CONSULTANT CONTENT EDITOR EDITORIAL ASSISTANTS
kacy samaniego shakira sison
nariese giangan a. cari単o
jonette valenciano ashley a. jamie kate adoc
kat sanchez kaye opulencia samantha yaneza
ALL EFFORTS WELCOME Shakira Sison
no ba yan, LGBT na naman? Para naman
For the most part, any disdain for LGBTQs is uttered under
silang aping-api parati. Nakakasawa na, iba naman!
breaths or behind our backs.
Whenever there is a gay-focused effort, it isn’t
uncommon to hear exasperated sentiments from an audience
Many people think that this treatment should be enough for
that is so tired of LGBTs “making a scene.”
us, and that we should be thankful we’re not physically hurt as much as gay people usually are. They believe that we should be
Why do they need to label themselves and call attention to their
satisfied with this coexistence and just shut up, so any mention
efforts when they can just blend in and exist quietly? They’re
of gays in media makes them cringe because it annoys them
just creating trouble for themselves! Of course it’s comforting
that we feel significant enough to speak.
that the presence of gays and lesbians is no longer met with a confrontation or a violent act.
Sison for Feist: All Efforts Welcome
It makes total sense that none of these topic-exhausted folks
would be safe to say the likelihood that they would be fine
are gays or lesbians. Gay people know that any effort, march,
without reading anything I wrote or without meeting me was
publication, project, performance, or statement from the
high. Making a point to be there on one of my five days in the
LGBT community is not enough. We know that we’re either
Philippines was an effort. I definitely didn’t have to be there,
underrepresented or misrepresented.
and there is no compensation for most of what I do except for a warming of the heart. I am sure someone out there said that
We know this because everyday one of us is told it’s a good
I was nakakasawa na (they were so tired of me), just like it’s
thing we’re not “obvious,” or asked if we’re men or women,
nakakasawa na to see any effort to bring together, inform, and
or boxed into some kind of gender stereotype that is not only
empower young people in the LGBT community.
outdated, but also offensive to our families and invalidates our private lives.
Meanwhile, it was one of those tired and repetitive gatherings that brought together the strangers Eby and Loreen, striking
I met Loreen Ordoño and Eby Kangleon on a warm afternoon
a friendship that gave birth to what you are all reading right
during my whirlwind trip to Manila last year. I’d been in many
now. FEIST is a visually pleasing account of collective lesbian
rooms full of strangers, but never one where all the strangers
sentiments in a modern medium that is accessible to anyone
were there to see me.
who takes a look. I’m excited about this project because it has so much potential, and its possibilities are as limitless as its
I was terrified and wanted to crawl under a table. I felt
nauseous when my wife said I should circle the room and say hi, secretly hoping that a meet-and-greet meant I didn’t have
Eby and Loreen do not have to do this either. They have
to meet or greet anyone! Eby and Loreen were among the
families and lives that will not be directly impacted by any of
first people in the room, and I shook their hands even if I was
these efforts. But they still do it because they know that there
terrified. That day, I spoke to a room of young people as I read
is work to be done, and also because there is such comfort and
from my crumpled speech with my shaky voice, having some
reward in indirectly helping a younger person get through the
misguided audacity to talk about courage. I didn’t have to. In
difficult parts of coming out as a lesbian or as a gay man.
fact I lived so far away from everyone in that room that it
Sison for Feist: All Efforts Welcome
So now you may ask - when will our
There is a reason you’re reading this today,
initiatives no longer be necessary? When
and a reason you are strong enough to seek
will efforts like this be considered useless?
the thoughts of more women like you the
Unfortunately, while someone is still afraid,
way you are doing right now. It’s because
when someone still needs to be closeted, and
someone touched your life and showed you
people are still losing jobs, getting kicked
that there is another way to live and love
out of schools or their homes, or are feeling
that is not shameful nor kept a secret. Any
hopeless and depressed - I’m afraid we are not done. Our efforts are not enough until they’re no longer labeled part of some gay agenda, until same-sex marriage is simply called marriage, and until teens are still bullied for not conforming to gender roles. Until then, it is our job to carry on and represent even the smallest minority within our minorities, and as fellow LGBTQs in our community, we must welcome any voice that
“ YOU CAN’T CROSS THE SEA BY MERELY STARING AT THE WATER. ” Rabindranath Tagore
effort to reach out is meaningful, and any attempt to bring together a marginalized community is worthwhile. A step forward that stops there is better than no step at all. Remember that the world keeps moving, and if you don’t go along with it, you’ll surely be left behind. Congratulations to Eby and Loreen, and more power to FEIST Magazine! I am looking forward to more of this beautiful initiative and I’m honored to be part of it. Thank you.
is brave enough to speak. Shakira Sison writes a weekly column in Rappler on LGBT issues and the Filipino diaspora. In 2013, her essay won First Prize in the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature. She works in finance and lives in New York City with her wife and their furry entourage. Twitter: @sahakirasison | facebook.com/sisonshakira
THE SAPPHIC SPECTRUM SEGREGATION Where are you in the hue? Libay Linsangan Cantor
’M A GIRL. I ALSO LIKE GIRLS. WHAT AM I? I’ve heard this line countless times before. Women, girls discover that their hearts beat for others like them, their loins lust after people who have the same body parts as them, and whose souls
get excited by like-gendered souls, the inevitable question of who or what they actually are pops in next, ever so fiercely.
Queery Query: The Sapphic Spectrum
OF GOLD STARS AND SILVER BELLES For those of us who were not fortunate enough to realize that
For some of us who were lucky enough to realize who run the world,
we love women early on, we had to go through what theorist/
as Beyonce sang, a transitioning need not happen. It’s just girls
poet Adrienne Rich called “compulsory heterosexuality.” Unlike
bursting out of the closet or girls waking up one day and realizing
you goldstars* who didn’t sleep with men, ever, some of us silver
that girls rule our world. Perhaps this is an easier route for some,
foxes or silver belles had to go through the whole heterosexuality
but there are still those who need some sort of road map to navigate
shebang. Maybe we had a small “girl crush” back in grade school,
this uncharted region called lesbian love after the initial discovery.
high school or college, and we weren’t brave enough to pursue those “But, wait — am I automatically a lesbian if I like girls?”
feelings to have a deeper meaning other than it being a “passing phase.”
Again, this is another fairly common question I hear from girls. Is it We got stuck with having boyfriends until we realized that we bat
automatic that if you feel for girls, then you are part of the lesbian
for the same team. Or maybe some of us waited to be financially
community? Check your hues to see if you indeed fit.
independent before we could face these things that embroil within us, ever minute of our waking time.
BISEXUALS ARE OFTEN RIDICULED WITHIN THE COMMUNITY FOR SAFELY STRADDLING THE LINE BETWEEN HETEROSEXUALITY AND HOMOSEXUALITY.
Queery Query: The Sapphic Spectrum
Aside from looking like men, there are also some butches who
WHO ARE YOU?
act like they have to be “the man” in the relationship, like they have to be the providers, the strong one — the head of the family, etc. While some lesbians like that, some don’t. They see
If you are a girl who accepts being a girl and you fall for
it as mimicking the heterosexual relationship of a man-woman
girls, then yes, you are a card-carrying lesbian. Have that ID
setup. What’s the point of being alternative, they argue, if the
countersigned for complete access to the community. But being
supposedly more progressive partnership still becomes sexist
a lesbian is not that simple.
Within the lesbian spectrum, there are different nuances
But that shouldn’t be the case. If that’s the relationship
of identity. There’s the butch if you prefer to self-present as
dynamic that works for a couple, then so be it. Let’s just hope
more masculine than feminine. The more masculine you look
that they become less machismo-sexist, though, and treat the
and act, the more stone butch you become. For those who are
relationship on equal footing for both parties. But just because
not that hard on being too masculine, you are termed as a
a lesbian looks and acts like a butch doesn’t mean that she
soft butch. Being a butch has its nuances as well. Aside from
identifies as one, so be mindful. Sometimes, some lesbians
dressing up in a masculine fashion, there are butches who
just like dressing up in masculine clothes because it’s more
accept that they are girls but they don’t make any moves to
comfortable for them.
transition to become men. Or maybe some want to challenge the status quo in fashion, In a way, these butches just like self-presenting as men and
want to gender-bend it a little to have their own statement.
they don’t want to be reminded of their womanhood — and
Some lesbians who reject these lesbian-divide notions usually
this is evident in the way they act or have sex (the proverbial
use the term queer for themselves. Queer people generally
one-way or two-way). For those who want to transition or to be
don’t like to be categorized or boxed much in these subnuances
identified as men already (partly or in full), then they already
of the butch-femme identity. Or they just like to toe the line of
fall under the transgender category, specifically transmen. And
such divides, mix them up or challenge them.
that’s another hue of discourse altogether.
Queery Query: The Sapphic Spectrum
EMERGING TERMS AND NON-IDENTIFICATIONS
For those who like meshing up their masculinity and femininity in one package, they usually fall under the spectrrum of the androgynous or andro for short. A newer term for andro is also called genderqueer where queer
In certain circles, emerging terms of identities are throwing a
people either reject the existence of the man/woman gender
wrench at these established terms of identities. We have heard
construct or embrace their being masculine and feminine at
of women who sleep with women who, in their preference to
the same time. So yes, they could have boyish haircuts but they
be discreet about their identity, use the term bi or bisexual.
wear dresses and blouses. Or they could dress and walk with
Strictly speaking, a bisexual is a person who could be with
that manly swagger but they could wear bright red lipstick and
either a man or a woman. And that’s perfectly okay.
be soft-spoken feminine as well. However, some discreet women who want to hide their If you wave your femininity like a flag, then you could be
lesbianism use the term bi. For them, the term “lesbian”
considered as a femme lesbian. If you look very girly and prefer
automatically means “butch” and their term for femme or
to wear make-up, they also term that as lipstick or lipstick
lipstick dyke is bi-femme (or, bifemme).
dyke. I guess it’s perfectly okay to be discreet about sapphic relations. But unlike the hard/stone or soft butch, there is no hard or soft
However, I think using bisexuality to disguise one’s lesbianism
femme to speak of. You’re welcome to invent a term, though, as
is a way of discriminating against bisexuals.
a friend of mine sometimes refers to herself as a “hard femme” when she wants to look super-fierce and fab. I also know of
More often than not, bisexuals are often ridiculed within
a queer-identifying lesbian who refers to herself as “futch”
the community for safely straddling the line between
meaning a more femme-looking butchy lesbian. Hey, to each
heterosexuality and homosexuality. Granted that there are
her own! The more the merrier, right?
indeed some bis who act this way, it is not polite to assume that all bisexuals are like that.
Queery Query: The Sapphic Spectrum
But then again, there are also femme-looking straight women
Some of them who are into femme-to-femme relationships
who are proud of sleeping with fellow women. Yet when asked
sometimes use the term GBF to refer to their “girl boyfriend.”
to label themselves, they abhor being called a lesbian or bi. These women say that they have “boyfriends who are girls” or
While it’s quaint to hear of these newer terms, it’s also
it’s their girlfriend who identifies as a lesbian but not them.
disappointing that they still frame relationships within a malefemale/man-woman construct, as if that is the only legitimate
These women often use the term TBF to refer to their “tomboy
existing form of relationship from which to pattern other
boyfriends” (meaning butch lesbians who are their girlfriends).
WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER Yet no matter what you flaunt in your self-presentation or
Sometimes, we still have to struggle with our own identities in
no matter how you identify within the lesbian spectrum, the
order to negotiate our daily lives. Whether we live inside the
bottomline still remains: that we have to be respectful of each
closet our outside of it, perhaps we should focus on loving our
other’s identities no matter what. Some definitions might not
selves more. Label or no label, the bottomline is that we are
work for some while others will continue to grapple with self-
comfortable with who we are and that we are not hurting other
labels. Let them.
people with our self-identifications, more so with our actions.
In the end, what matters is that we are all in this together. For
So live and let live, and just let labels be.
as long as we are women who love women, then the thing we have to focus on is our own selves.
Libay Linsangan Cantor is a media literacy and gender rights advocate, an award- winning literary writer, and a card-carrying two-way genderqueer. Email her at email@example.com.
In Every Issue: Advice ni Tanginatibs
advice ni tanginatibs
Dear @tanginatibs, any tips sa mga lesbians na magiging intimate sa partners nila for the first time? Thanks!
• Cut your nails. • Brush your teeth and clean your tongue. • Mag-shower muna o basta make sure na malinis at mabango ang kemperts. • If you want to make a good impression, SHAVE! • Wear your best underwear. Alam ko huhubarin mo rin yan pero dagdag self-confidence pag alam mong maganda ang tipans mo. • Be yourself. • Go with the flow.
Kung may katanungan kayo
• Be open to criticisms and suggestions. LOL
tungkol sa pagiging lesbiana,
• Tanungin mo ang partner mo kung ano ang gusto
paglaladlad, sex, at kung
niya at kung saan. Pwede ring kung paano.
anu pa, gora lang, teh!
• Pero wag mong tanungin kung bakit kasi ang tanga mo na nun.
• Tandaan mo turo ni Usher: NICE AND SLOW
CINDY AQUINO TANGINATIBS THE INVISIBLE LESBIAN BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR
NOVEMBER 2013 — The Kanto Artists-Run Space at The Collective in Makati showcased a hauntingly beautiful collection of black- and-white photographs depicting the
LGBT community. The week-long exhibit titled DOS Espiritu: Isang Quadro Trianggulo sa Sulok ng Mundo by 2013 Pride Photo Award Grand Prize winner Cindy Aquino, aimed to
promote gender sensitivity and raise awareness about the life and struggles of the Pinoy LGBT. “It tackles issues faced by the LGBT community in a culturally conservative Filipino society. It aims to break through the social barriers and create a culture free of discrimination.” The exhibit included the award-winning photo “Bond,” which showed an intimate moment between the two lesbian subjects.
“[The story behind Bond] is a little bit complicated,” Cindy explains. “I was informed about the contest a bit late already and I only had more than a week to find subjects and shoot. I
Isang Quadro Trianggulo sa Sulok ng Mundo
asked a few friends and couples but they can’t meet me in time for the deadline.” Thankfully, she found two women available for the shoot. One
An interview with CINDY AQUINO by Loreen Ordoño
is her husband’s college friend, Onek. The other one is The Dandimites vocalist, Thalia. The first photo idea was about shaving one’s hair but since Thalia had already shaved her hair, Cindy had to think of something else.
Feature: Cindy Aquino
L–R CLOCKWISE Lito In His Eyes (1) Dos Espiritu
Feature: Cindy Aquino
“I asked them what were the ‘normal’ things that lesbians do, and the use of Bandage came up – rolling a bandage around their breasts to flatten their chest.” Cindy submitted the piece because she felt that it was how she would describe the photo series: “like everyone else in this world, the LGBT community just wants to find love, bond with others, and live a happy life.” Cindy also shared stories behind her other photos: Tago/Taguan: hiding one’s gender to conform to societal norms; LITO: the feeling of confusion between coming out and staying in the closet; Dos-Espiritu: a belief rooted from the Native Americans about a person having two spirits; PARTNERSHIP: a photo she dedicates to all the LGBT couples fighting for the right to marry; and her personal favorite, IN HIS EYES: the photograph of a boy, who, at a very young age, identifies as gay and is brave to face the community with no hesitations at all. Cindy Aquino’s love affair with photography started with her first analog camera in 2006, the Nikon F55.Since then, her love for the craft never left. “As in all kinds of love, it’s never easy. Hard times came by. Having an analog camera on a field that’s turning digital, having to learn everything by myself, being a late bloomer on things like Photoshop and Lightroom were some of the things I had to endure, all for the passion of taking photographs.”
Feature: Cindy Aquino
Everything paid off in the end. She was hired as an Assistant Photographer at Pic-a-boo in 2007, and in a couple of years became a senior photographer, and eventually a Manager at Zoom Out in 2010 and Studio Supervisor at Blow Up Babies. She also garnered a nomination for an award in cinematography at her school. Ever since winning the 2013 PPA Grand Prize, she was featured in CNN, Rappler, GMA-7 News On Line, Says Philippines, Outrage Magazine and Fringe Magazine. â€œToday, the pursuit of meaningful subjects never ceased. The odyssey of freezing life through a lens shall continue as long as this life permits me to.â€?
Top: In His Eyes (2) Left: Partnership
ANG SIKRETONG MUNDO NI TANGINATIBS
ILIPINA — Ito ang nakalagay bilang paglalarawan sa
Twitter profile ni @TanginaTibs. Nabuo noong Pebrero 2012, ang @TanginaTibs account ay meron nang 3, 698 followers sa Twitter at nakasagot nang 6, 204 na
tanong sa Ask.fm na account nito. Ngunit para sa mga hindi nakakaalam, sino nga ba
si TanginaTibs? Bilang isang proyektong gustong himukin ang mga lesbyanang maging “pinaka-” ng mga sarili nila (magaling, mabuti, mabait – puro positive lang ha!) , minabuti ng FEIST na makipanayam ang lesbyanang patuloy ang pagtulong sa mga kapwa miyembro ng LGBT community, ang lesbyana sa likod ng account na TanginaTibs sa Facebook, Twitter, at Ask.fm: Nariese Giangan.
Feature: Tangina Tibs
SINO SI TANGINATIBS? GAANO SYA KALAYO O KALAPIT
binabasa yung mga gago pero matatalinong sagot niya. Tapos
SA TUNAY MONG PAGKATAO? Si Tangina Tibs ay isang
biglang may mga nagtatanong na rin sa kanya about lesbians
lesbyanang sinusubukang maging aktibo sa mundo ng
e beki siya e. Kaya naisip ko, okay sige, gagawa nga ako. At
showbiz, este, ng LGBT community. Siya at ako ay iisa.
sa first two days pa lang, nakatanggap ako ng more than 500
Mas seryoso nga lang ang tono at medyo bastos kaya
napagkamalang butch nung umpisa. Tingin ko nga wala talaga ANO NAGING IMPORTANSYA NITO SA’YO, BILANG ISANG
sa itsura ko na ako si Tangina Tibs.
LESBYANA? At first, honestly, bukod sa inaaliw ko ang sarili ko KAILAN ITO NAGSIMULA AT BAKIT MO NAISIPANG GAWIN
sa pag-tweet ng mga nakakatawang stuff about lesbians, medyo
SI TANGINATIBS? Sinimulan ko ang Tangina Tibs noong
ginagamit ko rin siya to meet girls. LOL. Pero nung tumatagal-
February 2012. Yun din yung time na nauso yung Tangina Bro,
tagal, naisip kong hindi ako dapat lang puro patawa, dapat
Tangina Mars at Shutangina Beks sa Twitter. Tapos naisip ko,
mang-educate din ako ng ibang tao, ‘di ba? Nung mga unang
may beki nang gumawa ng Tangina account, bakit wala pang
buwan ng Tangina Tibs sa Twitter, syempre andyan yung
para sa mga tomboy? Saktong kakalabas ko lang sa relasyon
maraming gustong mameet ako, yung namimilit magpakita ako
nun at ang dami kong oras na pwedeng ilaan sa internet kaya
ng picture, etc.
ako na ang nagmarunong. At bakit Tibs, bakit hindi Tangina Tomboy o Tangina Lez, ‘di ba?
May mga imbitasyon naman na pinagbibigyan ko pero sobrang mapili talaga ko. At doon ako natutong maging bongga sa
Ewan ko, siguro para sa’kin mas fun gamitin ang tibs.
pakikipag-socialize. Kasi sobrang awkward ko talaga pag
Kumbaga pwedeng mag-identify sa salitang tibs ang mga
nakikipagkilala sa mga tao e.
madlang tomboy pati na yung mga altang tomboy. Tsaka mas nakakatuwang pakinggan yung Tangina Tibs, mas masarap
So na-develop yun kaya isa talaga yun sa mga pinasasalamatan
ko. Tapos syempre pa, naimbitahan din akong sumali sa Task Force Pride na isa sa mga naging daan kaya naging active din
Yung ask.fm account naman, sinimulan ko last year lang. May
ako sa LGBT community. Kagaya nga ng lagi kong sinasabi,
paborito kasi akong account dun, as in almost everyday ko
masarap maging tomboy na may silbi.
Feature: Tangina Tibs
NAKARANAS KA NA BA NG MGA HOMOPHOBIC SLURS OR
Dun na rin ako nagsimulang manligaw ng babae. Wala namang
REMARKS MULA SA IYONG MAMBABASA? PAANO MO SILA
yung madramang usapang naganap sa’min ng nanay ko kasi
KINAKAUSAP O SINASAGOT? Wala naman. Feeling ko takot
gets niya na agad e. Lahat naman halos ng naging girlfriends ko
na yung ibang mambasag nang ganun kalala kasi binabasag ko
e tinanggap niya at ng pamilya ko.
rin sila. E tapos pag nagsimulang bumaha ang pagtatanggol ng ibang readers, ayan na. May iba naman dati na personal ang
Hindi naman sila yung tipong pinipilit akong mag-boyfriend.
atake sa’kin. Na tipong parang wala naman daw talaga akong
Pag may pinapakilala ako, mabait naman sila. Dumating na
alam, ganyan. Na may pagsundot na nagtatanong about my
nga sa puntong pag namimili kami ng damit, diretso agad ang
past. Wala naman talaga silang mahuhukay. Nasunog ko na
nanay ko sa panlalaking section. Tapos lately, sinasabi niyang
okay din naman daw dahil dati gusto niyang magkaroon ng anak na lalaki. E ngayon mayroon siyang girl, boy, bakla, at tomboy. Kaya sobrang ayos talaga.
Isa sa pinakaayaw ko rin e yung, for example, nung nag-come out si Charice, may nagpost na parang ayaw niya raw kay Charice kasi nga dahil sa itsura kaya hindi raw siya welcome
MAGKAKAROO’N KA BA NG FAN’S DAY? MEET AND GREET?
sa lesbian world. Ay, teh, pinagalitan ko nang bongga! Kung
Nakakaloka pa rin yung Meet and Greet na yan. Sa totoo
mayroon akong mas ayaw e yun yung internal homophobia.
lang, gusto ko rin naman kaso hindi ko alam kung pa’no
mag-organize ng ganyan kaya nga nagpapatulong ako sa’yo. Hahaha. Pero ayoko yung may Q&A portion kasi nakakahiya.
KAILAN MO NALAMAN NA ISA KANG LESBYANA? PAANO
Masyado akong barubal magsalita, baka magsiuwian ang mga
MO SINABI SA IYONG MGA MAGULANG O KAIBIGAN AT
tao. Parang ano lang, party party lang tayo, ganyan. Normal na
ANUNG NAGING REAKSYON NILA? Bata pa lang naman
kunwari birthday ko lang. Sana matuloy!
ako boyish na talaga ko. Pero ako kasi yung boyish na nakikipagpatintero pero naglalaro pa rin ng Barbie kaya rin siguro dedma lang yung nanay ko nung una. Tapos nung high
Nariese, as part of Spectrum MNL, organized a prom for the LGBT titled Queerspotting, happening at April 12 in Excess Superclub, Morato.
school ako, doon ako nagpagupit talaga nang maikli para nga naman mapakita ko na sa mundo kung ano talaga ko.
the invisible lesbian
It was Ellen DeGeneres, also an out and proud lesbian, who first brought Charice to America, and this proved to be the start of a successful international career for Charice. In June of 2013, Charice, in a sit-down interview with a local talk show host, tearfully admitted on national television that she was a “tomboy.” Aside from Aiza and Charice, there seems to be no other opportunities for lesbians to be visible in the television industry. Although some shows have female characters who are initially portrayed as boyish and are into rough physical activity, these are only used to make their transformation into beautiful, proper ladies more dramatic. In
the end, these characters outgrow their boyish phase and end up with the male lead.
here are only two known lesbian celebrities
On October 7, 2013, Showtime, a noontime show on ABS-CBN,
on television - Aiza Seguerra and Charice. Aiza
started a segment called That’s My Tomboy. It is a segment
Seguerra started out as a child contestant in Little Miss
where two gay women are made to walk around the stage, pose
Philippines on GMA 7 when she was three years old. She then
for fake paparazzi, show their talent, exchange pleasantries
had a career as a child star, participating in several movies
and jokes with the hosts, and answer a question. It is the first
and TV shows. As a teen, she started her career as a singer and
pageant for lesbians on a big television network, when all
songwriter, and released several singles. In 2007, she publicly
previous pageants for gays were exclusively for gay men.
came out as a lesbian. Charice is a singer who rose to fame through YouTube. A video of her singing on a Korean show
There was one incident where one of the male judges
garnered millions of views and was spotted by producers of The
commented that one contestant was “too soft,” which led her to
Ellen Show, an American television talk show.
lose that day. This caused an uproar from lesbians on Twitter
Feature: The Invisible Lesbian
and was viewed as enforcing gender normative standards:
If the show will use the male standard as the basis for judging
judging the female contestants on how well they emulate being
the lesbian contestants, then is this not a display of male
a male. One tweet said, “I hope #ThatsMyTomboy sparks a
control over women?
wider discourse about LGBTs and lesbians. Is it due to this standard that is imposed on them, that to be Currently, the context is too patriarchal. But it’s a start.” The
a lesbian means to be as close to being a man as possible? Is
offhand comments and questions of the hosts and judges also
it because lesbians are stereotyped as not feminine, cannot
displayed very limited knowledge on what being a lesbian is.
be shown in outfits that bare their cleavage or legs, and thus cannot be used for sexual objectification by men?
THE MALE GAZE Laura Mulvey, in her 1975 essay “Visual
In television, the image of the woman
metry that is apparent from the male
Pleasure and Narrative Cinema,” intro-
is designed to flatter the man, to serve
gaze maintains the patriarchal order.
duced the concept of “the male gaze” as
as an erotic object. The camera lingers
Men look at women in a sexualized
a gender power asymmetry in film. The
on her breasts, on her buttocks, on the
way, and women watch the men watch
male gaze assumes that the film is made
curves of her body. In advertisements,
women--women are powerless in this
for the heterosexual male viewer. She
the woman is not only endorsing the
set-up. The other male characters on
uses the Freudian concept of scopophil-
product, she is also endorsing herself--
screen only serve as the alter egos of the
ia, associating with taking other people
buy this product and you buy me as well.
male, the instrument through whom
as objects and subjecting them to a con-
Even during sex scenes, the woman has
they can project the act of conquering
trolling gaze. By treating the woman as
more skin exposed than the man. These
the female they are watching. Man’s
an object, specifically a sex object that
scenes are intended to be pleasurable to
control of the camera can be interpreted
serves the man’s pleasure, then the wom-
the male viewer, and the woman is the
as patriarchal control over society at
an is sexually objectified.
giver of that pleasure. The power asym–
large; the camera can be seen as an
Feature: The Invisible Lesbian
instrument of patriarchal subjugation.
serve as an object of desire, does not
are also invisible in Philippine
It is worthy to note that the homosexual
serve the role of the subject that the man
television. Mulvey mentioned that
woman is not included in the discussion
behind the camera wants his audience
women are symbolically seen as the
of the male gaze. Where capitalism led
to see. There can be no pleasure derived
bleeding wound, the symbol of the
to a sexual division of labor, there is now
from a woman who dresses like a man;
castration threat, and so she raises her
a heterosexual division of labor when it
she does not fulfill any fantasy. The
child into the symbolic desire to have a
comes to being on camera thanks to the
lesbian does not serve to satisfy the male
penis. The feminine lesbian, due to her
male gaze. The heterosexual male viewer
preference for women, will not have a
who controls the camera prefers the
child; thus, she will not fulfil her role
heterosexual female in front of it. The
Man is in control of the camera. His job
in reproduction, and she will not have a
heterosexual male viewer wants nothing
is to look, while the role of the woman
child which she can raise to make up for
from the lesbian woman.
is to be looked at. Since lesbians do not
her lack of a penis.
provide the male heterosexual viewer an
THE INVISIBLE LESBIAN
object for their sexual fantasies, they are
The feminine lesbian, therefore, will
given few roles and minimal exposure
not contribute to the continuation of
and are rarely placed in front of the
patriarchy. Add to it her lack of interest
camera and in front of the male gaze.
for men, and she is likewise shunned by the male heterosexual viewer. The
The male gaze may explain the absence of lesbian characters in television. The
They do not thrive in the television
lesbian is also the polar opposite of
cross-dressing, masculine woman does
industry because it is usually males
how the Church, the most powerful
not appeal to the heterosexual male. She
who are behind the camera, who
patriarchal institution in the country,
does not display the characteristics that
conceptualize shows, who direct, who
wants women to conduct themselves.
the heterosexual man wants to see - bare
produce, and these males see no place for
skin, cleavage, smooth and long legs.
the lesbian in front of the camera. Even
The Church wants women to emulate
Men are not sexually stimulated at the
feminine lesbians, those who do not
Mary, the ultimate symbol of femininity
sight of a lesbian, so the lesbian does not
cross-dress and who do not act butchy
and subordination, who sang praises
Feature: The Invisible Lesbian
when she learned that she would carry
Any talk about sex is confined in
Like sex, sexuality is also a taboo topic
a child for nine months, who endured
shadows and corners and whispers,
because of religion. Filipinas are told to
travelling on horseback while nine
because sex is wrong. Filipinas are
emulate a virgin, expected to act ultra-
months pregnant, who gave birth in a
taught to save sex for marriage, and
feminine, and called out if they exhibit
manger, and who raised no objection to
pressure is put on them not to lose their
masculine traits. To be a masculine
any male figure in her life.
virginity before that.
woman is to be the antithesis of Maria Clara, and is therefore frowned upon by
More importantly, Mary was a virgin.
Otherwise, the woman will be called
Philippine society. So many restrictions
She is pure and untainted because she
a flirt or having loose morals. When it
are placed on how the Filipina must
did not have sex. Filipinas are raised to
comes to homosexual sex, then the topic
act by the Church and the patriarchal
believe that sex is taboo and should not
becomes even more abhorrent.
culture of the Philippines.
be talked about within the household.
A RESOLUTION Lesbian women in the Philippines are oppressed by three
Judges must inhibit from using masculinity as the main
factors: patriarchy, capitalism, and religion. In the television
criteria for determining who wins the contest. They must
industry, they become oppressed by a fourth —the male
first see that lesbians are women, and they must be accepted
gaze. These severely limit opportunities for lesbian women to
for who they are. Second, the television industry must stop
appear in the television industry because she opposes major
reinforcing the idea that women are sex objects whose main
institutions which act as tools that perpetuate male dominance
purpose is to please men. This industry plays a big part in
in Philippine society. While That’s My Tomboy could be the
socializing people into stereotypical roles and personality
groundbreaking show that finally opens doors for lesbians —
traits; as such, they must start the shift from using a male gaze
both masculine and feminine — in the television industry, it
to one that is non-sexist.
must first learn to stop viewing butch lesbians as females who are trying to be male.
dèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos) lives her life as many other teens her age do -- sitting through her classes, hanging out with friends, even
going out with that hot senior who’s had his eye on her for a long time. However, things just don’t feel right with her ever since she locked eyes with a blue-haired girl arm-in- arm with
BLUES BURN COOLER FOR LONGER
another woman on the street crossing. Adèle’s new feelings give way to questions, and soon enough, she begins to see more and more of her blue-haired fairy. Emma (Léa Seydoux) in time opens up Adèle’s world to the sweetness and pains of love. Abdellatif Kechiche’s adaptation of the French graphic novel puts you right in Adèle’s breathing space. The narrative is told from Adèle’s perspective, and this places us, the audience, within her personal space — her emotions, her decisions, and her thoughts as she goes through everyday tasks and
A look inside Abdellatif Kechiche’s BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR By Jonette Valenciano
obligations. From her blank spaces of boredom to her break-down crying jags to her physical intimacies with Emma, we are right in the room with her, and being thisclose to her raw feelings leaves us just as vulnerable to feel ours in response to hers. Your mileage may vary, of course, but it is still two hours and fifty-two minutes of close-quarter intimacy.
Feature: Blue is the Warmest Color
DRAMATIS PERSONAE Misses Exarchopoulos and Seydoux are
From the very minute we see her
roaming the streets, all runny-nosed and
naturals at what they do. Their execution
chatting with her friends, to her first
sobbing like a lost five-year-old doing
of the characters feels so seamless and
Pride March with Emma, to her hosting
her best to keep the wailing in. This is
real, watch- ing this movie almost feels
her first dinner party, there is a certain
particularly interesting for me, be- cause
voyeuristic, like peeking in on lives and
“lost”-ness and unsurety in her eyes.
it’s not every day you see an actress so
episodes we are not supposed to be privy
After all, this must be all very new
dedicated to the emotion, she just dives
to. Seydoux’s Emma is a laid-back and
to her, and she must navigate these
into it — snot, whimpers, and all. She
incredibly smooth charmer who takes
unfamiliar waters mostly on her own.
goes on getting by through Life one day at a time, and up until the end, there
the things and people she loves very seriously. Exarchopoulos’s Adèle, on the
However, we see her quite invested when
is an air of lost-ness about her, albeit
other hand, is very consistently playing a
she teaches school kids and discusses
now with a sense of finality and self-
“lost little girl” in life.
literature. As things sour, we see her
COLOR / FORM / SOUND For music, the movie takes much from the ambient sounds of
cheeriness of Emma’s parents, and the same thing applies
the places Adèle finds herself in — the bars, school yard, the
to their style choices. Emma’s family is quite the contrast,
quiet spots in the park — to make the scene feel closer to real
compared to Adèle’s; we see reserved colors and furnishings in
life. The scene dressing gives the audience interesting clues to
their home, and our observations are confirmed when Adèle’s
the character’s per- sonalities. The cozy lighting, paintings on
father puts his two cents in about living off the arts.
the walls, and warm kitchen colors reflect the warmth and
Feature: Blue is the Warmest Color
Costume choices and their eventual changes drop more hints
or at least, in her face. She wears it in the messiest of topknots
for the audience: Emma’s relaxed, tomboyish look fits her
I’ve ever seen, and despite her scrunchie’s best efforts, sizeable
personality like a glove. Her blue hair, with its fading hue,
wisps of hair still manage to find their way across her face.
tousled ease, and visible roots, complements her personality.
This is a visual cue for me about Adèle’s coasting through life,
Later on, we see her grow out her blue, settle into her natural
and is perhaps what Emma considers one of her charms. Later
hair color, and later adapt a more polished, put-together look,
on, we see it worn, smoother and tidier as she goes deeper into
which speaks volumes about the role she later chooses for
adulthood and her relationship with Emma.
herself. I have very strong feelings about Adèle’s own style, and how it changes through the course of the film. I think the
Finally, she chooses to wear a mature pinned-back hairdo, “so
biggest part of Adèle that characterizes her at the earlier stages
they’ll take me seriously”, but the escapee wisps of hair are still
of the movie is her hair. It’s practically all over the place —
THE MEAT OF THE MATTER Let’s talk about the sex. There is sex
and holding back as Adèle (Clementine,
However, the movie has us watching
in this movie — twenty or so compiled
in the book) and Emma finally come to
their playful kisses in the grass, then
minutes of it — and mostly of the lesbian
terms with each other, themselves, and
cuts to ardent kisses in the nude and
persuasion. In an interview, author Julie
their honest feelings. From a reluctant
tumbles into unabashed physicality
Maroh mentions the sex scenes felt “very
goodbye in the streets to a confrontation
for the next fifteen-odd minutes. The
pornographic’, and I can understand
in Emma’s room to loving in the sheets,
sudden shift from playfulness to passion
her sentiments. In the graphic novel, the
this scene is powerful and earnest, and
does seem like a bit of a leap, and one
sex is a vital part of the story — it is the
provides a stable foundation to their
that does not prepare the viewers for the
happy release after so much confusion
intensity that comes next.
Feature: Blue is the Warmest Color
Although the film does deviate
There’s the contrast of the two attitudes
considerably from the original graphic
toward LGBT people from Emma’s and
novel, it also does well in including
Adèle’s families. Most importantly,
new scenes that focus on a number
there is also much to be seen about what
of important aspects to a lesbian
makes a relationship work: honesty,
life. There’s Adèle’s self-discovery,
communication, and trust.
questioning, and eventual coming-out.
Blue Is the Warmest Colour is both
There’s deal- ing with prejudice and
disarming alarming, and renders us
verbal bullying from others, even from
vulnerable to its raw emotion. It is
supposed friends. There’s also the sultry
unapologetic in its honesty, and keeps
and infectious liberty of a Pride March,
you in a tight, intimate relationship with
and the camaraderie of Emma’s friends
its characters — especially when it hurts
in the LGBT and art community.
Coming Out Stories
COMING OUT I was a freshman and she was a senior. I had this
“Speak the truth in love.” In holding back this last piece
huge crush on her and I thought it would just stay like that.
of truth about me from my family, they can never truly feel how
Then we started texting and talking on the phone. And pretty
much I love them. How can I completely give myself to them
soon, she became my girlfriend. My siblings didn’t go to the
in love if I deny them the real me? There’s no way of knowing
same school as I did so it never crossed my mind that my family
how things will turn out once I’ve let them in this little secret
would find out. Until the day I left phone on the computer table
I’ve kept from them. There will always be reasons in keeping
and my sister read a message of hers. “Mommy may tumatawag
such secrets. All I know is that soon, I’ll be coming out to them
kay ate na baby oh”, she shouted. My mom called my girlfriend
“speaking the truth in love” because I want them to know that
and told her, “Layuan mo ang anak ko. Sinisira mo buhay niya.”
in completely knowing who I am and of course the woman I
Funny how those words turned into “Okay naman ang taste mo
love, they would be able to know how much I truly love them.
eh. Magaganda naman ang mga inuwi mo dito.” and “Sayang.
In doing so, I hope that they would be able to see that it is my
We liked her.”
love for them and their significance in my life that has given me the courage to let them in and to tell them the truth.
A. CARIñO 31
Coming Out Stories
SEQ. 1. INT. CAR, ON THE WAY TO CLUB FILIPINO IN GREENHILLS. NIGHT 1998. LIBAY, 24 years old, is driving while her MOMMY is seated at the passenger side.
tapos na-inlab, tapos naging sila. Love story ng lesbiyana.
â€˜Ma, alam niyo naman itong Film Development Foundation Beat
of The Philippines, Inc. awards at winners eh laging sinusulat ni Nestor Torre sa PDI column niya, di ba?
Baka kasi kapag nabasa ito ng mga kamag-anak natin sa
Oo. Minsan nga may picture pa ng mga nanalo.
Inquirer, baka magtanong sila kung bakit ako nagsusulat ng screenplay na pelikulang tungkol sa mga lesbiyana.
LIBAY Beat. Longer this time.
Tapos sina-summarize niya ang kuwento ng mga script na nanalo, di ba? Sinasabi niya kung ano ang kuwento ng
pelikula, sino ang mga characters sa script, di ba?
Kapag tinanong nila kung nagsusulat ako ng kuwentong MOMMY
lesbiyana eh dahil ba sa lesbiyana ako, sabihin niyo na lang
Oo. Sinasabi rin niya kung ano ang maganda at bakit nanalo.
na oo, lesbiyana ako.
Judge din siya, di ba? A faint nod could be seen done by Mommy. A faint smile graces LIBAY
Libayâ€™s relieved face.
Yata. Kasi itong honorable mention kong script, kuwento ito ng mga lesbiyanang yuppie, na nagtatrabaho sa Ortigas,
Coming Out Stories
SEQ. 2. INT. LIBAY’S PARENTS’ HOUSE, SALA. SAME NIGHT. Libay’s exasperated Mommy is seen talking to Libay’s PAPA, who just silently nods and listens to his wife’s ramblings.
SEQ. 3. INT. LIBAY’S PARENTS’ HOUSE, DINING ROOM. DAY 2001. A 27 year old Libay is seen talking to her Mommy while her Papa is talking to Libay’s 33 year old girlfriend MIA as they both smoke Marlboro lights.
Balak na nga po sana naming bumili ng bahay, e. Para di na kami rent ng rent. Sayang po ang pera, eh. Tapos hindi rin
naman sa amin ang ginagastusan.
Oo nga, para malapit-lapit na kayong nakatira dito sa amin.
A panic-stricken Libay hears the conversation and freezes.
Aba, eh may lote kami diyan sa Cogeo, tig-isa na silang magkapatid diyan. Gusto niyo kunin niyo na ang isa,
patayuan niyo na lang ng bahay.
Coming Out Stories
There wasn’t any difference
I took a breath. “Opo, girlfriend ko na.”
from all the other times I asked their permission to go out.
“Naubusan ka na ba ng mga lalaki?” A tiny, silly smirk gave him away. Mama
I tried to act casual, but really, what else
swatted him lightly, reprimanding him
can I do but stand around and wait for
to be serious. I let out the breath I didn’t
“Ma, late akong uuwi kasi magddinner-out
my parents’ reaction. I didn’t think about
know I was holding.
ako.” The conversation may have started
what they would say, just that I wanted it
with something like that. Honestly, I can’t
over with, and I couldn’t bear them not
Papa wanted to know when she was
remember exactly what I said. I mean,
knowing (even though it’s been a couple of
coming over and Mama wanted to know
it wasn’t witty, or clever or even special,
months since I started going out with girls
if she would like lunch (at least, I think it
just me telling them I’d be having dinner
already). Ma looked up, peered at me
was lunch, but it may have been dinner
with my then-girlfriend. I didn’t even use
over her glasses.
too). I sat on their bed and talked.
“..Ah. Masaya ka naman diyan?”
No, there wasn’t any difference at all.
the word, I think, just her name. “Sino ba yan? Lagi mong kasama na. Girlfriend mo ba?”
Of course that would be her first question. I should have expected that,
Mama wasn’t even looking at me - she
but I don’t even have to think about my
was reading something - and Papa was
answer though. I nodded. Papa muted
watching the news beside her. They were
the TV and looked at me, a serious look
in bed, and I was standing just inside
on his face.
their bedroom door. It was a familiar tableau, one that my siblings and I are accustomed with. While some families talked on the dining table or in the kichen or even in the sala, we did our family talks inside our parents’ bedroom.
A dinner with my family. Mama won’t have to cook
And of course, my other brother comes in a bit late ‘cos he had
anything ‘cos she knows I’ll bring someone over and we’ll
to fetch his girlfriend and bring her over as well. The two of
bring food that we’ll personally cook – roasted chicken plus
them have already met you and know about us by then, so they
baked stuffed fish, her favorite. Then your specialty cupcakes
were thrilled about this dinner when we talked to them about
with a little twist ‘cos we’d have to add Jake and the Neverland
it. We’ll talk about random things and joke and laugh at the
Pirates designs on them to make them more appealing to my
shenanigans of the little guy beside Mama. (He still can’t get
little brother. Although I doubt if he’d want to chew off even
over the fact that he has edible Gold Doubloons!)
Cupcake-Captain Hook’s face. After dinner, we’re left with Ma to fix the table. She pauses then At the dinner table, my parents will smile at our clasped hands
hugs both of us and tells us that she only wants me to be happy,
but Papa will tell us that we’d have to drop them ‘cos you
and that she’s never seen me any happier with someone. As
know, spoon and fork and food and yeah, good luck on who
we pass by Papa at the living room while he’s flipping through
gets to have the best part of the chicken, “No fair game for you
channels on the TV, he nods and smiles at us. That knowing
but if it means I can have the speed advantage, then I’m not
smile which says he’s just glad that we’re happy.
M. WU Send your stories to firstname.lastname@example.org Questions? Hit us up at @feistmagazine feistmagazine
MIMI LUCAS GINEY VILLAR LAUREL FANTAUZZO DET NERI DOC CDRS
HOW DID YOU COME OUT?
HIS GRADUATING STUDENT
of Industrial Engineering in UP Diliman is a feisty woman that’s
more than meets the eye. Mimi Lucas is a SEA Games medalist, triathlete, Frisbee player, businesswoman, and just recently, winner of the Rappler x Rexona Do More Awards. Besting two others in the Challenger category, Mimi is a passionate individual with plans
THE GAME CHANGER
of helping and teaching less privileged children the sports closest to her heart. In an interview with Rappler, Mimi shares that doing more isn’t just about doing something for yourself, but
MIMI LUCAS interviewed by Loreen Ordoño
finding fulfillment in the achievement of others you have helped inspire. And here, at FEIST, we couldn’t agree more, Get to know Mimi – the athlete, the student, the lesbian.
Back in high school, there was a time that my parents were called to meet with my “tutor” (in my school kasi, tutors were not the tutors for academic assistance, but more of for personal development guidance). Then laging issue that I am too boyish, tas eventually in 4th year, a month before graduation, I admitted that I had a relationship with another student (I came from an all-girls school). Then, ang daming effect sa school life, I was fired from the student council, I was not allowed to join my batchmates for grad practice. Instead, my school required me to go to spiritual direction, mass and even appointments with the school psychiatrist. I wasn’t even allowed to join our batch retreat. My parents understood and felt how depressed I got, I was also disqualified from receiving my academic award and it was really sad for me because I really worked hard for
interview: Mimi Lucas
that, because I wanted to graduate with
You won a bronze medal in the
a medal. But my parents made me feel
2007 SEA games, while a college
they are always gonna be there for me
freshman. How did you DO IT?
no matter what. That they love me as their daughter and they support me, just
I started joining swimming competitions
make sure that I don’t do anything that I
when I was 7 years old, eventually
will regret later on in life.
shifted to triathlon when I was in grade 7, was part of the triathlon national team
Do you feel it important for
until I was a college sophomore.
lesbian athletes to come out? Right now, I join Frisbee leagues but I I honestly think that, well, it shouldn’t
do it just for fun. I was also part of my
really matter. Come out if the person
HS’s football and basketball varsity but
feels comfortable coming out. But in
I never really got to train consistently
terms of achieving their goals, wala
for those sports ‘cos I had to focus on
naman effect sa skill, talent, endurance,
or whatever they need to be good with to win or achieve their goal if they came
When I started doing triathlons, I had
out. BUT if in anyway, it [coming out]
to train almost every single day of the
turns out being something that made
week, sometimes, even twice a day.
any aspect in their life harder or more
Then eventually, just for the SEA Games,
difficult to achieve, let it be more of their
the association sent us to Thailand two
motivation sana. Something to make
months before the competition where
them work even harder, ‘coz in the end,
our training was really intense, I could
it’s gonna make them feel more fulfilled.
manage to eat a big box of cereal with a
large box of milk, then a full plate every single meal, drink softdrinks but still managed to lose at least 10 lbs. Have you always wanted to be an athlete? Do you have any pre-competition rituals? I was a competitive kid. Even with just the street games (tumbang-preso, agawang base, etc.) that I played when I was young, the drive to win has already been in me. I am lucky enough to have a sporty dad who made me go with him when he works out. Eventually, when my parents made me join competitions na, I found an outlet for the competitiveness. So yeah, I realized that being an athlete is something I’ve always wanted. For rituals, ngayon wala na. But when I was still a serious athlete, aside from get enough rest, eat good food, wala naman na ata.
interview: Mimi Lucas
What have you been up to after
Do you have any advice to
winning the Rappler x Rexona’s
young lesbians in the sporting
Do More Awards?
industry? Do you have any advice to lesbians, in general?
In the College of Engineering in UP, we have our Engineering Week every
Just always try to do the best that they
December. And I don’t know how to
could in whatever they are doing.
actually describe that week other than
Magpakatotoo sa sarili but it’s always
by saying intense. It’s a week where
gonna a better world if mas maraming
organizations in the college compete
tao ang masaya, so if kaya to be the
in different sports like frisbee, soccer,
more understanding one, be that person.
volleyball, basketball, etc. And there are
Lastly, I got this from my parents but
a lot of other games and challenges that
I wanna share it too: do anything that
really test the mental and physical skills
makes you happy as long as you won’t
of the participants.
regret anything later on in life.
Aside from those, every night, there are major performances like Awitan, Indakan, Dulaan, etc. for the whole week and these are the type of performances that the performers prepared for for months. So I’m explaining the event because I was active in those games and I joined Indakan and making sure I helped my group stay fit for the activities involved in the event.
Prior to her culinary career, Giney is an LGBT advocate, and worked for
HE OLD HOU WAREHOU
RESTAURANT in Kalayaan QC,
THE CULINARY ANTHROPOLOGIST GINEY VILLAR interviewed by AC Martin
different NGOs from the 90s to the early 2000s which allowed her to travel to different provinces. She has been
Adarna Food and Culture Restaurant
involved with various feminist and
serves not just historical, regional, and
LGBT groups, and is a board member of
heirloom cuisine but also provides a
GALANG, “a lesbian-initiated, lesbian-
testament to our country’s rich design
run feminist human rights organization
heritage with its various capiz and
that works with lesbians, bisexual
wooden furniture and other vintage
women, and trans men (LBT) in urban
memorabilia. At the helm of Adarna
poor communities, or women who either
Food and Culture restaurant is multi-
self-identify as lesbian or bisexual and/
awarded chef extraordinaire Ma.
or have relationships with women but
Georgianna Villar, or Chef Giney.
self- identify as heterosexual, as well as persons labeled as females at birth but
Together with Democratic Socialist
self-identify as male (trans men).”
Women of the Philippines’ National Chair Elizabeth Angsioco, they opened
She tells more about her background as
Adarna in January 2008, a year after
a chef and her experience as a lesbian
Chef Giney entered the American
activist, and gives advice to young
Hospitality Academy in Makati where
lesbians who are still searching for their
she graduated with a diploma in
Culinary Arts and Entrepreneurship.
interview: Giney Villar
WHAT WAS LIFE LIKE BEFORE BEING
WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO TAKE
kitchen side 30% of the time, but I really
A CHEF? WHAT DID YOU DO BEFORE
UP CULINARY ARTS? HAVE YOU
enjoyed all the new things I learned so I
MANAGING ADARNA FOOD AND
ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A CHEF?
actually spend more time in the kitchen
now. My going to culinary school was really
After doing lesbian rights activism, I
in preparation for putting up the
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE DISH ON
spent the next years working on two
restaurant. I knew how to cook but the
community health projects under a
art and science of running a restaurant
bilateral country program. I regularly
was not the same as merely picking up a
I have several! Chicken Relleno with
travelled to more than 40 provinces as
turner and flipping an egg.
Salsa Monja because I am really proud
part of my work. Through my work, I
of this recipe which dates back to the
gained an even greater appreciation of
I did not want to go into something
40s. It really tastes like something from
our people and our culture.
without any preparation. School was
the past. The Sulu Piassok, because after
fun and I gained many friends along the
tasting it, patrons suddenly become more
interested in Southern Filipino food and
I used to document two things every time I visited a province for the first
culture. Adobong Batangas ala Adarna
time—the oldest church and the food.
As the president of our school said,
which I had to reconstruct from
I was documenting food before it was
bonds are stronger when you have
someone’s memory. Our Feliz Chocolate
popular to do so.
broken bread together. Culinary school
Cake, that can still make me get up in
is probably the only place where you are
the middle of the night for a slice. The
required to eat in the classroom.
Bunuelos, or suspiros de monja, light
I guess the cosmos knew that at some point in my life I was going to work in
pastry balls rolled in butter and sugar,
a restaurant and those notes came in
I never imagined studying for and
best dipped in our hot Rico Tsokolate
working as a chef. Even during my
application interview, I told the dean that I only planned to work in the
interview: Giney Villar
DID YOU ENCOUNTER ANY TYPE
and find myself alone and unhappy later
them. The bookstore was run by the
OF DISCRIMINATION AT CULINARY
on in life if I ‘stayed’ gay.
Writers Involved in Creating Cultural
SCHOOL OR AT WORK?
Alternatives (WICCA), located along AS A PIONEER IN THE LGBT RIGHTS
No, I was very lucky that I did not
ACTIVISM, HOW DID YOU GET INTO
encounter any homophobic episodes
Estrada St. in Manila. WICCA became a sort of intellectual
in school. The school was very strict but
home for me. I met many writers and
at the same time had a very accepting
One night in the late 80s, in an exclusive
became good friends with the book
culture. We all came from different
disco, I was staring at the dance floor
store manager, Pia Arboleda. Pia then
backgrounds and it was fun to get to
when I heard myself ask, “Is this it?”
introduced me to Lorna Israel, who
work with people of various persuasions.
I meant, have I relegated myself to
invited me to a small group of lesbians
Chefs can be very intense and goofy at
Saturday nights? Surely, there must have
who were beginning to meet. This
the same time. I also have not personally
been other lesbians who were thinking
small group later became The Lesbian
encountered a homophobic customer.
of the same thing—being open to society
Collective—the first out-lesbian group to
Perhaps because I spend more time in
about our sexuality, forming families,
march during the International Women’s
getting and keeping jobs, stopping
Day March of 1992.
violence against lesbians in all its forms. HOW DID YOU COME OUT TO YOUR PARENTS/FRIENDS?
WE FOUND OUT YOU WERE ONE I began to write in the hope of getting
OF THE AUTHORS OF THE BOOK
published so I could reach out to other SANTOS.
I did not have to come out because if you
lesbians and form a support system at
know me, I fit the stereotype. But I would
the very least and some form of shift in
say, my mother’s acknowledgement
the way we/they think about lesbians.
I was planning to write a book. I
happened when I was about 23 when she
I came across an article in a magazine
introduced myself to Aida Santos,
talked to me about her concern that I
about a feminist writers’ collective that
who was suggested to me by Pia. Aida
might be discriminated against at work
ran a bookstore and decided to write to
suggested that we form an anthology
interview: Giney Villar
collective to get more voices. I thought it
WHAT ADVICE CAN YOU GIVE
was a fabulous idea to have more women
TO THIS NEW GENERATION OF
and therefore, voices involved in the
LESBIANS? DO YOU HAVE ANY
project. Unfortunately, there were
ADVICE FOR THOSE JUST COMING
concerns about the repercussions of coming out, the ‘novelty’ of the concept, and many others. For a while, the project did not seem to be going anywhere. Finally in 1994, Aida and I decided to publish the book ourselves in time also for the International Feminist Book Fair in Melbourne. We had a small launch there and I spoke in the panel, ‘In Print by 30’. I guess it was still a big thing then to be in print before you hit 30. DO YOU HAVE ANY PLANS OF RELEASING A LESBIAN-THEMED BOOK IN THE FUTURE? I would like to. I keep writing down my ideas and thoughts but my load
“ Your sexuality is a big part of who you are, but don’t make it your career. ”
now makes it difficult for me to plan
OUT OF THE CLOSET? Have a goal. Find out what you want in life but be clear about why you want it. Draw up a plan to achieve your goals. Be independent. Go to school. Travel. Be silent. Learn to have a healthy relationship with money. Choose your friends. Honor your family. Use each day as an opportunity to learn more about yourself and do more for the world. Use your lessons to achieve your goals but in the process, remember to be fair and respectful. Your sexuality is a big part of who you are, but don’t make it your career cause it is not. Do not waste your youthful anger in useless pursuits. Use your anger to fuel your passion for living life the best way you could.
on something in the very near future. But who knows, I just might decide to surprise myself.
Laurel is an Italiapina, born of an Italian
given to Laurel Anne Fantauzzo for her
attended an extremely conservative
piece Under My Invisible Umbrella,
Catholic school, and was surrounded
which won second place in the Essay
by Filipino relatives who were very
category. She also received the Astraea
N SEPTEMBER 2, 2013, the
father and a Filipina mother. She grew
Carlos Palanca Memorial
up in suburban Southern California
Award for Literature was
during an extremely conservative time,
Lesbian Emerging Writers Award in
THE MULTI CULTURAL WORDSMITH LAUREL FANTAUZZO interviewed by AC Martin
2010, became a Fulbright Scholar in
She was seen as someone so promising
2011, received the Stanley Award and the
in the faith that she was made to attend
Philippine American Press Club Award
a religious retreat for youth who were
and completed her Iowa Arts Fellowship
seen as potential leaders in the Church,
in 2012, and was an Obermann Graduate
whether as lay people or administrators
Fellow in 2013.
of Catholic colleges or sisters. It turns out that every year, someone comes out at
Now she is an instructor at Ateneo de
the retreat, and that year, it was Laurel
Manila University, teaching creative
who continued the tradition.
writing and fine arts and is also in the middle of writing “an emotional
For the most part, her coming out was
detective story”. These are quite a lot of
embraced by the other teenagers with
achievements for someone who’s only
wishes of finding love and happiness,
but there were others who forwent their one-son-one affirmation exercise with her because of it.
interview: Laurel Fantauzzo
HOW DID YOU TELL YOUR PARENTS?
BUT YOU WERE STILL LIVING WITH
I remember that was the first time
DID YOU TELL THEM IN A GRAND,
THEM WHEN YOU TOLD THEM?
I realized how much of a Catholic,
conservative Filipina mom she was. For Well my parents are divorced, so I was
I told my mom in the car…
the most part she wasn’t.
like living with my Mom and also visited my Dad. I also did a lot of sleepovers.
HOW DID YOUR OTHER FILIPINO
I was a junior in high school, so that
I had a best friend who was a boy so I
FAMILY MEMBERS REACT TO YOUR
meant I was 16. I think I was 16. I told
would sleep over at his house and sleep
her and she said, “No you don’t know that
over at a couple of other girls’ houses, so
because you haven’t spent enough time
I was sort of wandering around all the
They all already called me a tomboy so
around boys. You just don’t know.”
time in suburban California. And again,
they didn’t really care. I didn’t get the
since I didn’t get into drugs or drinking
derogatory sense because they all just
I told my Dad because he’s Republican
and I had good grades, they didn’t really
had me ...and they would ask me who
and Dick Cheney was the vice president
I was seeing. Mostly they gave me crap
at that time and his daughter is also lesbian. And I was like wow, Dad, you
for not making enough money, that was, BUT YOUR MOTHER IS A FILIPINA?
and Dick Cheney have something in common, and he just laughed at me.
everybody’s top concern was how much money I was making, whether or not I
She’s Filipina. One thing she hated was
owned my own house, or I would be able
when my friend Brett came over. I had
to own my own house.
I think my parents just have their own
the door closed while I was hanging out
lives happening, so they didn’t really,
with him and listening to music. She
I think that was the biggest value for my
as long as I got good grades and I had
hated that, she insisted that he never go
family. Not really religious but because
a part-time job and seemed relatively
upstairs into my room again. And that
they were lower class, low wealth family
together, they didn’t really mind.
was before I came out to her, after that
here in the Philippines. In the States
she didn’t really care.
their goals were to own their own house and to be comfortable financially.
interview: Laurel Fantauzzo
The moral stuff, it didn’t really (it took a
when you gave each other compliments.
When I went back to school, every senior
backseat) to the economic well-being. Of
Everybody kept saying I hope that you’re
was in charge of doing the social justice
course they were all very Catholic, they
happy and I hope that you find love. This
talk for the 7th graders and the 8th
went to Church every Sunday.
is a Catholic retreat, so that was a very
graders, for the junior high students. So
the senior high students were around
DID YOU ALWAYS GO TO CHURCH?
17, 18 and the other junior high students But there were other people who didn’t
were around 14.
Yeah, I did. I was confirmed in the
really talk to me one-on- one anymore; I
church and I went to Catholic school for
can sense that they were just not having
I remember I went in with 2 other
7 years. They thought I was so promising
it. There were some people who came
classmates, and we started up the talk by
as someone in the faith that they had me
up and said “When did you decide you
saying how many of you say “That’s so
go to an exclusive religious retreat for
were gay?” There’s an argument that
gay!” as an insult or to say something’s
teenagers who they thought would be
says even if somebody does decide, that
really dumb, and they all raised their
leaders in the church in some capacity,
they’re going to try dating the same
hands. So I said okay, how many of
whether sisters or like lay people or
sex that that shouldn’t be grounds for
you say “That’s so straight?” And they
administrators at Catholic colleges or
disqualifying a quality, right?
all started laughing. And the laughter
whatever. It was called the SAW Retreat.
wasn’t a bad laughter, it wasn’t a mean
S-A-W but I forgot what that acronym
Even if there are some people in the
laughter. They were laughing because
means. I ended up coming out at that
world who do choose to experiment
they finally realized how silly it was that
retreat, and it turns out that every year,
or choose to engage in a same-sex
they were using sexuality as an insult.
one person comes out at that retreat.
relationship even if they identify as mostly straight. I just asked that
At that point the teacher stopped us
And I’ll never forget that the, I mean
person, “When did you decide you were
and told us to get out of her classroom. I
people come up to me and they would
straight?” She was very open so that
never forgot. I mean the students were
just say during these affirmation
seemed to reframe it for her.
very open, and she immediately shut
exercises which took place one on one
interview: Laurel Fantauzzo
I didn’t have as much anxiety as other
Here you are expected to be connected
HOW DO YOU COMPARE THE
people had within my family. My family
to your family for the rest of your life
LESBIAN COMMUNITY IN WHERE
had plenty of other anxieties, but my
or to stay with your family until you get
YOU’RE FROM AND HERE?
dating women was not one of them
married. I think in that sense, it’s hard
possibly because there were so many
I think it’s a smaller country here? I
other problems. That might’ve worked weirdly in my favour.
would guess that it’s a little harder But I have friends whose parents were
to break up with someone here? But I
very accepting, and those friends tend
think lesbian communities are small
HOW DO YOU COMPARE COMING
to be of a higher wealth status and are
anywhere. They talk about that even
OUT IN THE STATES VERSUS HERE IN
better educated. I have friends who
in New York or in Seattle or LA or San
are kind of having a détente with their
Francisco. There’s the same parties or
parents in that their parents will never
hang outs and you just run into each
The family is such a powerful institution
accept it but they don’t really talk about
in the Philippines. My theory is that it’s
more powerful than government, it’s
I think that there’s some interesting
more powerful than your individual
I don’t personally have any friends
similarities in that everybody knows
who’ve dealt with violence here in
the tags. If you like Tegan and Sara, you
the Philippines. In other places I have
have a certain haircut, if you wear these
To try to transcend a painful family here
friends who were quite violently
button downs. The signals are similar
I think is ten times harder than it is in
rejected. I know it exists here because it’s
both here and in the States. I think it’s
the States because the States, I mean it
still a very Catholic country and I think
unnecessarily gendered here. I feel
just has more of a narrative of people
Catholicism has done a lot of damage to
like there isn’t a lot of room for lesbian
going on their own and making their
people who live outside the heterosexual,
women who are traditionally feminine
own lives than people have here in the
acting and there isn’t a lot of room for
gay men who are masculine acting because in the States it’s the opposite.
interview: Laurel Fantauzzo
If you’re a very feminine lesbian, they’re
YOUR GREATEST CONTRIBUTION TO
somebody’s writing, to understand it,
much more accepting of you. If you’re
THE LESBIAN COMMUNITY?
and to say yeah, me too. I think that’s my
a very masculine gay man, like very
macho, then they can accept that. But if
Oh gosh, I don’t know. I’d like to think
you are a very butch lesbian or a very
that somebody can read something I
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR
feminine gay man, those are the people
wrote and say “Oh yeah that’s me, too!”
LESBIANS WHO FEEL LIKE THEY’RE
who encounter the most violence. If
whereas previously they might have
STIFLED OR DISCRIMINATED WITHIN
you’re a trans person, forget about it. You
felt kind of silenced or like there was no
still encounter a lot of violence.
room for them, that they can come to one of my pieces and say “Oh yeah, me too!”
Here, it seems like there’s this tacit rule
Your life is going to be much harder and I sympathize with you, but even though
that says okay you’re gay, that means
Even when I wrote an essay called
you’re in a country where social life
you’re gonna behave the traditionally
An Openly Gay Letter from a Filipina-
revolves around the family, you can find
opposite gendered way. People have
American to Manny Pacquiao. I had a
your other family. You can find your
tried to categorize me as soft butch.
lot of straight white men who wrote
sane family. Economically it might be
I don’t know. I feel like I’m on a very
to me and said I really understand
very difficult and emotionally I’m sure it
in between part of the spectrum. I’m
your longing for a wife, like my wife is
will be very difficult, but it is your life.
not comfortable in a dynamic where
everything to me, so even they looked at
somebody is definitely more masculine
my work and were like “Yeah, me too!”
You can make those hard decisions and
acting and somebody’s definitely more
which is not to say that their attention is
you can look to mentors, you can look to
more valuable, it was just an interesting
other friends, you can draw up an active
thing I noticed in a pile of letters I got.
plan for yourself. Live the way you were
That would not work for me. I think that,
called to live.
I would encourage gay couples to think
I do think it’s valuable for lesbians and
outside of that binary. There’s really no
lesbians of color and for people in the
need to re-enact it.
Philippines to be able to look at
interview: Laurel Fantauzzo
TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR BOOK.
WHAT DID YOU FIND INTERESTING
Sometimes I wonder, I wish I could offer
ABOUT THAT STORY?
a class on healthy relationships and like
What I’m working on, it’s called The
good communication and stuff like that.
First Impulse: Notes on Love, Film and
It really bothered me because I also
But I think that could go for heterosexual
Death in the Philippines. It centers
really love the Philippines and I also
couples here in the Philippines as
around two young film critics who were
recognize that there are risks to loving it
well. It’s just harder for the lesbian
in love and who were killed together
and it seemed to be my worst nightmare.
community when there’s no real social
after moving to the Philippines. And
And I also wanted, I also empathize
or familial support because then you’re
it’s an unsolved murder. His name is
with them really deeply and I think the
kind of doing it all on your own with a
Alexis Tioseco and the rest of his family
whole work is really an impetuous act
lot of pressure and a lot of extra stress
lived in Canada but he really loved the
of empathy. I wanted to illustrate their
that heterosexual people don’t realize in
Philippines so he chose to stay here. And
lives. It’s a very haunting case, it bothers
the context of this country.
he met his partner NikaBohinc at a film
a lot of people all over the world.
festival in Rotterdam, and she was from
But lesbians be good to each other. Don’t
Slovenia. So they moved here together
DID ANYTHING ABOUT THE LESBIAN
go for the drama, just take care of each
and because Alexis loved the Philippines
COMMUNITY IN THE PHILIPPINES
other, take care of yourselves.
and Nika loved Alexis and they were
SHOCK YOU IN ANY WAY?
really championing the independent film scene, and then they were murdered and
Shock me? I might be hard to shock.
it’s still unsolved.
But no, nothing really shocked me. I do think that some people, no one I know
I’m examining the particulars of their
personally but it’s like stories I hear from
case, also the films that they loved and
friends of friends, about couples who are
also their lives, and it becomes about
very dramatic or they have jealous fits or
love and about their death and about
kind of they take their fights to Facebook
THE SIX-TIME PALANCA awardee DET NERI interviewed by Loreen Ordoño
imula 2006, nakamit na ni
March, bilang pagkilala sa kanyang
Bernadette (Det) Neri ng anim
pagtulong na magbigay ng positibong
na beses ang prestihiyosong
pagkilala sa sektor ng LGBT). Ngunit
Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Award
higit sa mga karangalang ito, si
for Literature. First place noong
Det Neri ay aktibista, tibo, at anak
2006 para sa maikling kuwentong
magsasaka – tatlong bagay na hindi niya
pambata category ang “Ang Ikaklit Sa
maihihiwalay sa kanyang identidad.
Aming Hardin.” Third place noong
Para sa kanya, doon nagmumula
2010 para ulit sa maikling kuwentong
ang kanyang mga impluwensiya sa
pambata category ang “Parada ng mga
pagsusulat, pagpili ng topic, at paraan
Alingawngaw.” First place noong 2011
kung paano niya naitatalakay ang
para sa sanaysay na “Ang Pag-uwi ng
kanyang tindig ukol dito. Ipinaliwanag
Alibughang Anak ng Lupa.” Second place
din ni Det ang paggamit niya sa salitang
noong 2012 para sa maikling kuwentong
pambata na “Atang sa Kaluluwa
“Pinili kong gamitin ang salitang tibo
Nina Apong Salawal at Apong Saya.”
na pantukoy sa aking identidad bilang
Noong nakaraang taon, nag-second
babaeng homoseksuwal sa kabila ng
place para sa maikling kuwento ang
derogatoryo nitong konotasyon. Sa halip
“Pamamanhikan” at third place para sa
na itakwil, maaari kasing angkinin ang
dulang may isang yugto ang dulang may
salita at i-redefine mula sa namamayani
pamagat ding “Pamamanhikan.”
nitong mapang-aping konotasyon tungo sa pagiging mapagpalaya. Nagtuturo
Pinarangalan din s’ya ng kauna-
rin kasi ako ng panitikan kaya may
unahang Gawad Ikaklit (hango sa
ganito akong ‘mode’.”
kanyang librong Ang Ikaklit Sa Aming
Narito ang aming nakakatuwa at puno
Hardin) noong 2012 Metro Manila Pride
ng aral na pakikipanayam kay Det.
interview: Det Neri
Paano mo sinabi sa mga
Nakaranas ka rin ba ng
magulang mo na tibo ka? Ilang
diskriminasyon sa ilang taon
taon ka non at anong naging
mo sa pagtuturo?
Sino si Ikaklit? Ang impluwensiya ng pagkakasulat ko sa Ikaklit ay nagmula talaga sa Baguio.
Marami rin akong naranasang
Inilathala noong sa Balintuna, literary
Isa sa mga tunggaliang pinagdaanan
diskriminasyon at ang iba sa mga ito ay
folio ng Outcrop,ang kuwento ko tungkol
namin bilang pamilya ay nang
nanggaling sa mga taong dapat sanang
sa isang batang may dalawang nanay.
maglantad ako bilang tibô. Hindi kasi
may mas malawak na pang-unawa.
Ito ang maituturing na “seed” ng Ikaklit.
ito katanggap-tanggap sa panahon ng
Sabi, halimbawa, ng isang guro ko sa
Mayroon kasing protest action sa Baguio
mga magulang ko. Pero ang mas naging
elementarya, “Aiza Segguera ka, ‘no?”
noon at may na-encounter akong high
mahalaga ay ang pagkilala nila na
Ganito na ang itsura ko noon pa man
school student na may dalawang nanay.
umiiril ito sa kasalukuyan.
(maarteng tibo) kaya hindi ako sigurado
Naisip ko, “Paano kaya ang struggles
kung saan nanggaling ang hinala niya
niya noong bata?” Ang adult kasi, ano
Hindi man ganoon kabilis ang proseso
lalo’t matingkad ang estereotipo sa
man ang ibato sa ’yo ay mayroon ka
ng pagtanggap, wala rin namang
nang tindig at kapasidad to move on at palaguin pa ang sarili. Pero paano kaya
pagtatakwil na naganap. Inirespeto nila ang kapasyahan ko sa aking identidad,
Ang sabi ko na lang, “So?” Tapos sinabi
ang bata na nasa formative years pa?
at iginalang ko naman ang panahon
niya nang seryoso, “Alam mo, kung wala
Iyon ang mas iniisip ko.
na kinailangan nila para resolbahin sa
lang asawa si … ko (ang bunso n’yang
kani-kanilang mga sarili ang usapin ito.
lalaki), ipapa-rape kita.”
Sa isang klase ko sa MA, sumulat ako ng parang draft ng Ikaklit (pero hindi pa
Bilang isang lesbyana,
Mabigat na usapin ang rape. Hindi
ito maikling kuwentong pambata). Ang
nakaranas ka na ba ng kahit
ito basta biro lang. Higit pa roon,
goal ko ay maipakita kung gaano ka-
anong uri ng diskriminasyon
guro siya e. Hindi dapat ginagamit ng
normal ang pamilyang may dalawang
kahit mula noong bata ka pa?
guro ang kaniyang impluwensiya sa
nanay bilang magulang, at ang tanging
pagpapalaganap ng prehuwisyo.
pagkakaiba lang ay ang panghuhusga ng
interview: Det Neri
ng mga tao na hindi sanay sa ganitong
Hindi lingid sa nakararami ang
Kaya sa kabila ng masalimuot na
naging hamon na dinanas ni
pagsasa-aklat ng Ikaklit, naging sobrang
Ikaklit para ma-publish, maaari
fulfilling ito sa tulong ng maraming tao
After noon, natanggap ako sa Tamaraw
mo bang ikuwento kung pano
lalo na sina Si Cj de Silva [ang gumuhit],
workshop noong Abril 2006. Na-tsugi
mo nalagpasan ung mga hamon
Jennifer del Rosario-Malonzo [ang
ang entry ko tungkol sa bagyo at baha.
nagsalin sa Ingles], at Jennifer PadillaQuintos [ang naglayout]. Si Sharon Anne
At that time, naisip kong, “Kung
Bagaman ipinasa ko ito mga mainstream
Briones Pangilinan, ang katuwang ko
tsutsugihin lang din naman, isulat ko na
at major publishing houses ng children’s
ang kuwentong matagal ko nang gustong
books dito sa Pilipinas, isa lang ang
isulat.” Noon ko nabuo ang kuwento
tumugon. Kinonsider ito for publication
Mahigit isang taon ang inabot bago
ni Ikaklit na may mga bulaklak, at
pero biglang wala na. May mga haka
natapos ang libro. Six years in the
naging kuwento na rin ito ng iba’t ibang
na hindi pa naman “daw” handa ang
making naman ang pag-iipon (Haha!).
kahulugan ng pamilya. (Ginamit ko ang
lipunan para sa ganoong klase ng
Kaya 2012 lang ito nailathala.
sunflower dahil isa ito sa mga paborito
kong bulaklak.) Sa workshop na iyon, inengganyo ako ng mga nakabasa sa
Kaya pinaghandaan ko at pinag-ipunan
ipasa sa Palanca si Ikaklit.
ang pagpa-publish nito nang full color. Nag-self study pa ako ng Photoshop dahil
Nagkataong bukas ang isip ng mga
wala nga akong pambayad sa magle-
hurado sa panahong time na iyon
layout (naisip kong ako na lang ang!
kaya nagkamit at nanalo ito ng Unang
Haha.). Pero nakakilala ako ng mga
Karangalan sa kategoryang Maikling
taong willing tumulong dahil masarap
Kuwentong Pambata noong 2006.
at makabuluhang maging bahagi ng proyektong ito.
interview: Det Neri
MERON KA BANG MAPAPAYO SA MGA MANUNULAT NA MAY BALAK GAMITIN ANG TEMANG LESBYANA SA KANILANG MGA AKDA?
ANONG MGA PROYEKTO ANG PINAGKAKAABALAHAN MO NGAYON?
1. Bago magsulat, kilalanin muna ang
madali na lang aralin yung proseso kung
sarili. Mahirap magtawid ng mensahe
paano ito ibabahagi: sa tula, maikling
Marami akong projects pero ang
kung ikaw mismo may mga bagahe
kuwento, nobela, awit, o kung ano pa.
susunod na aklat pambata ng Publikasyong Twamkittens ay “Atang sa
kaugnay ng mensaheng iyon. 3. Pagdating sa proseso ng pagbabahagi,
Kaluluwa Nina Apong Salawal at Apong
2. Kinakailangang lumampas sa usapin
hindi dapat ihiwalay ang proseso ng
Saya.” Maikling kuwentong pambata
ng kasarian at seksuwalidad. Dahil
pananaliksik. Ito ang nagbibigay lalim
ito na tungkol sa pagbali ng konspeto
matugunan man ang mga isyung ito
dahil nagiging konkreto ang isang bagay
ng gender o kasarian. Kung ang Ikaklit
ay iiral pa rin ang diskriminasyong
na produkto lamang ng hiraya. Meron
ay may bahid ng kultura ng Cordilleran
hangga’t hindi natutugunan ang usapin
kasing misconception na kapag writer
community, ang Atang naman ay hango
sa uri o socio-economic class.
ka, magaling ka lang mag-imagine. Kaya
sa Ilokano culture ng pangangaluluwa,
sobra kong dinidiin ang pananaliksik
pag-aatang o pag-aalay sa kaluluwa ng
Mahalagang buo ang konsepto dahil
kasi ito ang bubuo at magiging katawan
mga namatay. Iyan ang proyekto ngayon
kung malinaw ang gusto nating sabihin,
ng Publikasyong Twamkittens.
RAL dENT sAGA’S
VERY OWN DENTAL PRACTITIONER Doc CDRS was
one of the very firsts to quickly respond to an interview for FEIST. Bubbly, charming, and full of smiles, this petite medical professional finished dentistry in Centro Escolar University in Manila. Having always wanted to be a dentist when she grew up, Doc, like many others in her field, worked hard through 5 grueling years of Dental Medicine, reviewed months-long for the Dentist
THE INCISIVE SMILE-KEEPER
Licensure Exam, and worked 3 years as an associate dentistbefore opening up her own practice. She was open about her sexual identity
DOC CDRS interviewed by Loreen Ordoño
at a young age, which helped her fend off any discriminatory remarks that were about to be hurled her way, whether in school or with patients at work.Here she tells us her coming out story and shares some amazing advice for lesbians on success, self-love, and respect:
HOW DID YOU START YOUR MEDICAL CAREER? DID YOU EXPERIENCE ANY HARDSHIPS WHEN OPENING YOUR OWN PRACTICE? I started working as an associate dentist for 3 years. Every bit of my career was so interesting that I kept grabbing every opportunity that faced me, until I ended up working in 5 different dental offices all at the same time. It was hell of an experience, tiring, but I learned so much from it and I had a lot of fun. In between the crazy, busy schedule, I slowly turned my goals into something more of “my thing.” From there I pushed hard to build a practice of my own. And yes, it was hard and rough. Having my own means I’m on my own. In this phase of life, knowledge isn’t enough, you’ve got to be tough, inside-out, flipped backwards, upside down, put them all together and you’ve still got to step out showing your sweetest smile.
interview: Doc CDRS
WHEN DID YOU REALIZE YOU WERE
My dad somehow tried to stop me and
1. RESPECT. Learn to respect their reactions
A LESBIAN? HOW DID YOU TELL
still forced me to wear my dress. But
because they have a reason.
YOUR PARENTS/FRIENDS? HOW OLD
eventually, they probably got tired of
WERE YOU AND WHAT WAS THEIR
the talk and just let me be. I’m thankful
2. BE UNDERSTANDING, STAY CONNECTED.
and proud of my parents. They’ve always
Don’t turn your back on them, love them with all
respected my decisions and supported
your heart and make them feel that happiness
me every step of the way.
from within can bring more than what a fake smile
I was 4 years old when I first had a crush on a kindergarten girl in our school.
And I can still clearly remember how I
WHAT ADVICE CAN YOU GIVE TO
was trying to come up with a word that
LESBIANS WHO FEEL LIKE THEY’RE
3. BE STRONG. Fight for life. Work hard, study
would describe the way that I feel. It was
DISCRIMINATED BY THEIR OWN
hard. You are more than what you think you are.
only on my 1st grade that I knew it was
Success does not lie in the hands of those who
called a “crush” and I was admiring this
discriminate you — life in all aspects is what you
girl. From there, I started to ask why
That must be a heartbreak to anyone,
make it. Aim for success. Trust me, it will be your
and how I got attracted to the same sex.
regardless of the reason. But either way
all time favorite weapon against discrimination.
Lesbian would be a strong word for me
I’m sure you’ve broken their hearts too.
back then so probably for quite a while,
Your parents must’ve been excited to see
4. LOVE YOURSELF. If you’re really happy with
I considered myself “boyish”. My parents
their beautiful girl turn into a gorgeous
who you are, you will endure anything that comes
never knew about the “crush” stuff until
lady. Accept it or not, again, regardless of
along your way. Remember, you cannot share
I was in high school.
the reason, you took another route, you
something that you do not have. If you’re making
chose to take your own path and you’ve
the right choice, you should be happy alone. So
They noticed that I was starting to act
decided to live against the norms of the
build it within and then share it with them. Love
tougher than a normal little girl would. I
majority.You took the change first, so
conquers all, right?
consistently refused to wear gowns and
youtake the consequences before they
dresses during special occasions, too.
do. And if you love yourself that much,
5. CHILL. Nothing in life is permanent. So it’s either
there shouldn’t be a problem.
you change or they change.
“I’m not willing just to be tolerated. That wounds my love of love and liberty.” – COCTEAU
the A. Cariño
nsecurities and uncertainties are just among the few things I was able
to bring with me as I walked out of my first relationship. It would be exaggerated to say that I barely made it out alive back then but I guess when you finally know
what it’s like to get your heart broken, it’s the only way you can think of in describing how it feels. This was a time I could clearly remember how it is to doubt myself and feel so incapable of feeling or even thinking of love in that way ever again. It was back then that I finally understood what it’s like to feel mentally, physically and emotionally drained all at the same time. Then again I am thankful for what happened. I was a stupid girl , so naïve in
believing that things will work out in the end as I ignored the inevitable downward spiral I was headed to. But if not for all of this, I wouldn’t be free to find myself again and learn how important it is to value myself as well. It sounds cliché but trust me, it really does happen. Now that everything’s been said and done, all I can think of is how I now know better. Then again, I find myself wondering if this is a good thing.
Relationships: The Lesbian Heart Recovered
I’ve recovered well. I feel different, knowing that I’m in a better place than I was before but honestly, I’m mostly scared. It’s inevitable to be caught in the fear of getting hurt and hurting someone. I’ve been there I know what that was like. I’m scared of falling in love again and realizing the difference. No, I don’t want to be the type that compares the good from the bad. I want to be someone who appreciates all the good things and waste neither time nor effort thinking about the bad things. Recognizing the differences is just as difficult as identifying whether I’m doing the right thing and acting upon the sincerest feelings. It’s a tricky thing, knowing when and how to take things seriously in situations you’ve never been in before. I don’t want to deny myself of the happiness I know I deserve. Past pains can be very limiting. But it’s always possible to break free from such limitations. We’re all aware of these simple keys to true happiness and yet we find it easier to succumb to all things leading us away. Looking back, I was sincerely happy. I enjoyed life and love in a way I never thought was possible. If things like these happen in life, then definitely better things are just around the corner, waiting to happen. Things will just naturally fall into place. I wouldn’t have to ask any questions. Everything will feel just right. I’m working on the remaining insecurities and the uncertainties that have been haunting me but I’m more confident now. I can finally trust myself and sincerely believe that this time, things will be different.
A ITH W E OV L IN ING L L FA L GIR STR AIGHT AC Mar tin
#1 rule in the lesbian dating world: Never fall in love with a straight girl Don’t do it for the thrill of bending her. My dear Aang,
But Aang, remember that your advances may not be
you are not a gender-bender; more importantly, you
taken positively. She prefers the opposite sex, and
don’t have a sky bison. Gender-bending is not a power
she may interpret your intentions in a multitude
that can be honed with constant practice.
of platonic ways, leaving you trapped inside the inescapable cages of the Friendzone, Classmate-zone, Sister-zone, I’m-just-not-into-girls-I’m-sorry- zone.
It is explosive like firebending, destructive like airbending, rough like earthbending, delicate like waterbending, and dangerous like bloodbending.
Do not think less of yourself - some people prefer
Don’t go for a straight girl just so you could be the one
sausages, some people prefer tacos, and you knew
to convert her. Hearts are too fragile to be risked for
right from the beginning that she definitely liked her
cheap thrills. But if you really think this woman is
wieners. Hang out at Taco Bell next time.
worth the risk, then by all means. Be the Avatar.
Relationships: Falling in Love with a Straight Girl
But one day you walk into a classroom filled with a
So went your first day of graduate school.
sea of unfamiliar faces, eager to start a new life from
Group study sessions eventually led to night-long
the ruins of a memory that you desperately want to
online conversations, then to study dates, then to
leave behind. Love was the farthest thing from your
mind - the last time you loved someone, she left you “Are you seeing anyone yet?” your friends ask two
for a man, and it took you a year to recover.
months later. “No, but I have the biggest crush on this cute classmate...” “Is she a lesbian?” they prod.
Afterwards you swore never to be someone’s first girlfriend again. Now, you want to be with a woman who was sure about her sexuality, who definitely
“No.” “Don’t fall in love with her,” they say. That night,
knew without a doubt that she preferred tacos--an
your classmate reveals over dinner that she
understandable response considering where you
thinks she is bisexual after being exclusively with
men all her life.
Then this girl approaches you at the end of class. “You
Ironically, you dissuade her from pursuing a
look familiar,” she says. “Didn’t you go to my school?”
relationship with a woman. “The world is cruel to people like me,” you say. “You have to think this
You were so focused on putting your ballpens in
through, especially since you’re nearing the age
proper order inside your pencil case that it took you
where society expects you to marry and start a
a moment before realizing she was directing the
question at you. “I’m sorry?” you say. Really it was just you stalling in order to give you a moment to
And don’t rethink your sexuality just because of this
recover from the surprise that there was a beautiful
girl you say you like. Don’t make claims about your
lady looking at you with a friendly smile.
sexuality because of one person.”
Relationships: Falling in Love with a Straight Girl
She remains firm, saying she has been carefully considering it these past months, and so you just say, “Sexuality is fluid anyway.” But you remain unconvinced. Or was it a defense mechanism to not let your hopes up? Then of course the girl she says she likes turns out to be you, and you start to go out on real dates. Your past experience makes you think that this is just a phase for her, and that she’d go back to dating guys once you’re out of the picture, but your heart whispers, “Take the risk.” She is dead set on proving to you that what she feels is very, very real, and that she is serious about you, and you find validation in her eyes. When she kisses you for the first time, she steals from your lips the doubts that threaten to escape from them; when you listen to her breathing as she sleeps with her body wrapped around your arm, you know it’s the real deal. “Never fall in love with a straight girl,” they say. But it’s an entirely different story when she’s the one who falls in love with you.
SPRING CLEANING YOUR POST BREAKUP HEART
OST OF THE TIME, when weâ€™re trying to get over someone after a break-up, we tend to wallow in our sadness or self-pity and let ourselves go. Weapons of
choice may include a tub of ice cream, sappy movies that make you cry even more, or an entire bottle of Bacardi 151, and (in) activities include lyingon the bed with tissue littered around you or bawling helplessly while the world goes on. Butwhile moving on is a hard process, there are plenty of ways to keep you preoccupied. You finally have the chance to do all the things youâ€™ve wanted to do but never found time for!
Relationships: Spring Cleaning
EAT GOOD FOOD
GO OUT WITH FRIENDS
Not the sappy, cheesy kind, but the ones you
Not just because you’re binge-eating due
Don’t go to a party and drink yourself
would actually enjoy and recommend to
to depression. A study revealed that eating
silly, though. You would probably just end
friends. How about Monsters University?
good food makes your serotonin levels
up getting really wasted and start drunk
That one is bound to be a riot. You may
reach an all time high. In short, good food
calling your ex. Go to a nice coffee shop
even remember how good laughing feels
makes you feel good! So go ahead and eat.
and catch up with friends whom you’ve
You deserve it.
neglected while you were too busy feeling so alone and kawawa.
WRITE ON PAPER
Spend a day with yourself at the mall,
Just let all those feelings out and write
Your facial muscles are getting plenty
and buy that cute cashmere jacket you’ve
everything down. Yes, she is a cold,
of exercise from all that crying, but the
been slobbering over for the past few
heartless bitch who deserves to be nibbled
muscles in the rest of your body are close
months. Retail therapy will always be a
on slowly by piranhas. I hate you! Go to
to atrophy from lying in bed all day.
good cheer-upper, but be a responsible
hell! Just write it down. Afterwards, tear
Swimming is a whole body work-out,
buyer and make sure your depression
it up or burn it, and watch as your anger
which makes it a balanced one.
won’t be quickly replaced by debt.
turns to ashes. You will feel much better.
Relationships: Spring Cleaning
POST BREAKUP SPRING CLEANING
REVISIT THE PLACES YOU’VE TRAVELLED
Throw out all her memories, even the ones
Go back to the places you visited as a
you think are worth keeping. No, you don’t
couple. Create new memories of that place
need her stamp collection to remind you
with yourself, effectively washing out the
that you both love travelling. No, she is
memories you had together.
not going to reimburse everything you’ve spent on her if you keep those receipts.
READ A GOOD BOOK
It’s always good to just sit down, take a
Seeing another story unfold will make
moment, and concentrate on inhaling
you want to createanother one of your
and exhaling. Proper breathing clears
own. You need a new beginning.
the mind, thus giving you more space to think about other (healthier) things aside from the break-up.
Relationships: Spring Cleaning
You need not be scared of the Great Unknown that you now have to dive into after being in a comfortable relationship. You already broke up with her, so itâ€™s time to pack up your emotional baggage and just move on. There are a lot of things you can do by yourself that wonâ€™t require a girl by your side to make them worthwhile. Most importantly, smile, and never forget to keep your chin up. At the worst of times, there will always be yourself to turn to.
Many LGBT people constantly live in fear of rejection by their family, friends, and even loved ones. It’s not easy to have
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR FRIEND COMES OUT COMES TO OUT T O YYOU OU Jonette Valenciano
to live in an environment where negative messages about LGBT people are being bombarded at you every day. Once you understand this, it makes sense why some LGBT people are reluctant or even fearful to come out. The act of coming out itself is one that takes a lot of courage. If you’re one of those people whom your friend has decided to come out to -- well, congratulations and good for you! This
YOUR FRIEND SITS YOU DOWN AND
As you let that sink in for a few moments
means said friend has put a lot of trust
OFFERS YOU A DRINK. They seem
and take a sip (or a gulp) of your drink,
in you, and considers you a dear and
nervous, a little fidgety. They
you think: “okay, what should I do now?”
important person in his or her life. This
might stutter, sigh a lot, maybe
What should you do? You keep being the
doesn’t instantly mean, though, that they
nervously crack a few jokes. They look
wonderful friend you have been to them
fancy you, want to get romantic with
deep into your eyes, and let it drop.
all this time. Here’s how: Put yourself in
you, or want to “out” you.
“I’m gay. I’m lesbian. I’m trans*. I’m bi.
your friend’s shoes.
I’m queer. And that’s who I am.”
Relationships: When Your Friend Comes Out
decision on when and who to come
a very meaningful moment for your
out to. Do your best to not react badly
friend, and it’s always important to treat
to your friend’s coming out to you,
that moment with respect. Likewise,
especially if you have strong opinions
don’t take it against your friend if they have decided to come out to you “only now”, and most certainly, do not try to beat your friend to the punch and say “oh, you’re gay/lesbian/bi/trans*/queer, right? I totally knew it.” Keep in mind that coming out is no easy feat, and your friend sincerely and deeply needs your support and understanding right now. Recognize that your friend’s decision to come out to you is absolutely theirs and theirs alone. As they have placed their ultimate trust in you, keep that trust by not outing them to other people. It’s great that you are positive and supportive of your friend’s sexuality, but other people
This is not about you. This is a very meaningful moment for youR friend.
Note: This is not about you. This is
on LGBT issues. Keep those opinions to yourself, at least for now. Your friend has chosen this time to be truthful and vulnerable to you, and unleashing such opinions on them may end up hurting your friend and making.making them feel you have rejected them. Such wounds cut deep and cut raw, and can have lasting consequences such as damaging your friend’s self-esteem, mental health, and may even result in suicide. In the future, if you still have questions, open up a friendly and respectful dialogue with your friend in a safe environment for them. Refrain from asking questions that could come out
in your environment may not be. Protect
as rude or inappropriate within your
your friend’s identity by respecting their
friendship before your friend came out to you.
Relationships: When Your Friend Comes Out
Communicate your positive feelings to
Help your friend look for more
your friend. Tell them how much you
information on local LGBT groups,
value them and your friendship, and
communities, and events, and offer to go
that you will always be there for them no
with them if want to have a friend with
matter what. Hug them. Hugs do a world
of good. Stand up for your friend, and be an ally. Continue to be the good friend you are
Educate yourself on LGBT issues, and
to your LGBT friend, nd keep doing
learn more about the LGBT community.
whatever regular activities you two
Challenge homophobic and transphobic
enjoy. If you and your friend have Pizza
attitudes and comments, and make an
Fridays or a marathon of your favorite
effort to create safe environments for
shows on weekends, keep doing that.
your LGBT friends.
This shows your friend that nothing has changed between you and them,
If your LGBT friend introduces their
and that their coming out to you has not
other LGBT friends to you, extend the
changed the way you value and respect
same warm, welcoming, and sincere
gesture as you would to your own friend. You just might find more great friends
Support your friend in any way you can
this way, and watch your world expand
and whatever they might need. If they
and grow even richer and more vibrant.
need your help or support to come out to
Itâ€™s all about respect, encouragement,
their own family, give your support and
support, and a healthy dose of love. After
go with your friend.
all, itâ€™s what being a good friend is about.
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