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FE/ST #1

Make it Happen


queery query

Interviews

In Every Issue

Shakira Sison

36

MIMI LUCAS GINEY VILLAR LAUREL FANTAUZZO DET NERI DOC CDRS

Libay Linsangan Cantor @tanginatibs

31

coming out

16

dos espirito

stories

Interview with Cindy Aquino

20

ang sikretong mundo

23

the invisible lesbian

27

ni tangina tibs

AC Martin BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR Film review by Jonette Valenciano

Relationships

Features

In this issue

06

sison for feist

57

the lesbian heart

59

FALLING IN LOVE WITH

62

SPRING CLEANING YOUR

66

WHAT TO DO WHEN

recovered

A STRAIGHT GIRL

POST-BREAKUP HEART

YOUR FRIEND COMES OUT TO YOU


The question is not who is going to let me

AYN RAND

it’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.

EDITOR’S NOTE

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

loreen ordo単o

EDITOR IN CHIEF

Eby kangleon

MANAGING EDITOR

tintin lontoc

CREATIVE DIRECTOR

libay linsangan cantor ac martin m. wu

EDITORIAL CONSULTANT CONTENT EDITOR EDITORIAL ASSISTANTS

kacy samaniego shakira sison

COLUMNISTS

nariese giangan a. cari単o

STAFF WRITERS

jonette valenciano ashley a. jamie kate adoc

PHOTOGRAPHERS

kat sanchez kaye opulencia samantha yaneza

5

CONTRIBUTOR


ALL EFFORTS WELCOME Shakira Sison

A

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.

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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

founders’ imaginations.

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

I

’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.

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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.

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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.

and male/man-dominated?

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.

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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.

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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).

relationships.

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 leaflens@gmail.com.

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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.

TWITTER/ASK.FM

• Tandaan mo turo ni Usher: NICE AND SLOW

@TANGINATIBS

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FEATURES

CINDY AQUINO TANGINATIBS THE INVISIBLE LESBIAN BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR


5

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.

DOS ESPIRITU

“[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.

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Feature: Cindy Aquino

L–R CLOCKWISE Lito In His Eyes (1) Dos Espiritu

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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.”

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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. “Today, 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.�

Top: In His Eyes (2) Left: Partnership

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ANG SIKRETONG MUNDO NI TANGINATIBS

H

ALF

ILIPINO, HALF

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.

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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

questions agad.

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

tandaan.

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.

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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

lahat. Charaught.

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

Kakaloka!

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.

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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

AC MARTIN

T

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

23

23


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

24 24


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

heterosexual 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

25 25


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.

26 26


A

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.

27


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

determination.

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

28


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 —

there.

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

lovemaking.

intensity that comes next.

29


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.

the most.

30


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.

KINNI

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.

LIBAY

tapos na-inlab, tapos naging sila. Love story ng lesbiyana.

‘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?

LIBAY MOMMY

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

LIBAY

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

Libay’s relieved face.

Yata. Kasi itong honorable mention kong script, kuwento ito ng mga lesbiyanang yuppie, na nagtatrabaho sa Ortigas,

32


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.

MIA

Mommy Smiles

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

MOMMY

naman sa amin ang ginagastusan.

Oo nga, para malapit-lapit na kayong nakatira dito sa amin.

PAPA

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,

END.

patayuan niyo na lang ng bahay.

LIBAY

33


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.

34

EBY


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.

complaining.”

M. WU Send your stories to feistmagazine@gmail.com Questions? Hit us up at  @feistmagazine  feistmagazine

35


INTERVIEWS

MIMI LUCAS GINEY VILLAR LAUREL FANTAUZZO DET NERI DOC CDRS


HOW DID YOU COME OUT?

T

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

37


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,

triathlon.

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

38

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.

39


Prior to her culinary career, Giney is an LGBT advocate, and worked for

T

HE OLD HOU WAREHOU

URNED URNED

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

niche.

Culinary Arts and Entrepreneurship.

40


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

CULTURE RESTAURANT?

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

ADARNA’S MENU?

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

way.

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

handy.

working as a chef. Even during my

drink.

application interview, I told the dean that I only planned to work in the

41


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

LGBT ACTIVISM?

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

the kitchen.

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

42


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.

43


O

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

Catholic.

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,

turned 30.

but there were others who forwent their one-son-one affirmation exercise with her because of it.

44


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,

SIT-DOWN DINNER?

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

BEING GAY?

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

mind.

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.

45


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

interesting embrace.

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

down.

46


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

here.

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

THE PHILIPPINES?

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

other.

in the Philippines. My theory is that it’s

it.

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

destiny.

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

monogamous norm.

acting and there isn’t a lot of room for

Philippines.

gay men who are masculine acting because in the States it’s the opposite.

47


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

role.

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

THEIR FAMILY?

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

feminine acting.

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

48


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

their movement.

or Twitter.

49


S

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

tibo:

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.

50


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?

reaksyon nila?

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

probinsiya namin.

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

51


interview: Det Neri

ng mga tao na hindi sanay sa ganitong

Hindi lingid sa nakararami ang

Kaya sa kabila ng masalimuot na

sitwasyon.

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.

na iyon?

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

pagko-coordinate.

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

kuwentong pambata.

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.

52


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 konsepto.

ng Publikasyong Twamkittens.

53


o

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:

54

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.

REACTION?

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.

can do.

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

FAMILY?

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.

55


RELATIONSHIPS

“I’m not willing just to be tolerated. That wounds my love of love and liberty.” – COCTEAU


the A. Cariño

HEART

LESBIAN

I

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

RECOVERED

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.

57


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.

58


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.

59


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

movie dates.

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

came from.

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

family.

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.”

60


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.

61


SPRING CLEANING YOUR POST BREAKUP HEART

M

OST OF THE TIME, when we’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 you’ve wanted to do but never found time for!

Sam Yaneza

62


Relationships: Spring Cleaning

1

2

3

WATCH MOVIES

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

like.

You deserve it.

neglected while you were too busy feeling so alone and kawawa.

4

SHOP

5

WRITE ON PAPER

6

SWIM

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.

63


Relationships: Spring Cleaning

7

8

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.

9

10

BREATHE

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.

64


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 it’s time to pack up your emotional baggage and just move on. There are a lot of things you can do by yourself that won’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.

65


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.”

66


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.

67


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

them.

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

your friend.

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

It’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, it’s what being a good friend is about.

68


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