The first time transwoman Tam Maguad and transman AR Arcon saw each other was in February 2012, in one of the events organized by the Society of Transsexual Women of the Philippines (STRAP). Tam is a STRAP member, while AR is part of PinoyFTM, which was invited by STRAP
For Tam, “basically, it was just a meeting between the two groups, nothing more than that. I didn’t even remember him then after the event since they had lots of members,” she laughed.
For AR, though, “the memory is still as vivid as the moment it was made. She entered the door, late, simply gorgeous in shorts and plain white shirt.” But AR said that “I didn’t get to actually meet her there (STRAP’s event). She was introduced as she came in, but that whole evening, we never got the chance to talk, me and her. Or I didn’t took the chance to even say hi (torpe problems).”
The two met each other again on various occasions a few months after that, but it was always in a group setting. And in those instances, when they managed to chat, all we talked about (were) trans stuff.”
And then in November 2012, Tam invited AR to watch Twilight – it was a random invite, with Tam having a ticket to spare.
“I am no Twilight fan. I got myself a copy of the book which I didn’t even finish reading. I have also seen the first movie. The novel was a big hit to the world, but not that much to me,” said AR, who – not surprisingly – initially had to say no because of a prior planned activity. “Then I realized: ‘Did i just turn down a woman? Ang kapal ng mukha ko. Baka isumpa na ako ng Tadhana at maging single habambuhay.’ So I told her, I would go.”
Life changed after that.
“We decided to see the finale of this vampire love story, not knowing it would be the beginning of ours,” Tam said.
“After that night, I’m still not a Twilight fan, but my life was never the same again,” AR said..
FALLING IN LOVE
The going out became a weekly habit for the two. “From the movie night to the 2012 Pride March, to an out-of-town trip with common friends, then Christmas, then New Year,” AR said. At that point, “our friends started asking, and so did I: What are we?”
But Tam made it clear then, that they were just friends who were hanging out. “And that if feelings begin to sprout, we will stop seeing each other. So yeah, the whole of January 2013, became exactly like that,” AR continued. “I know it was impossible for me not to develop a thing for her since I already liked her the first time I saw her; plus the fact that we were seeing each other every single weekend. So when I felt ‘it’, I hid it because i didn’t want to stop seeing her.”
By February 2013, “we were riding this Ferris wheel in a town fiesta in Bulacan, and as I sat beside this woman whom everyone thinks of as suplada, mataray and masungit, I knew I have already fallen.”
AR’s Facebook status for Valentine’s Day said as much.
“Falling in love with a transwoman was one thing I never thought of. I was caught off guard. Inevitable in my case for she is so wonderful. This has defied all of my standards in a relationship. Falling in love with a transwoman has opened my eyes much wider to the other side of the spectrum. It has taught me more of things that fueled my call for advocacy. And has gained me back my old romantic self. I am thankful. My only hope is that she falls for me too.”
Tam eventually recapitulated, “saying the ‘L word’ around the last week of March,” she smiled.
Being in a “gender non-conforming relationship” may be challenging, but Tam said that “I haven’t really encountered any challenges because of us being ‘gender non-conforming’ to be honest. The main challenges I have would probably be personal ones that don’t have anything to do with that,” she said.
For AR, an obstacle is his being “in a religion that does not allow this kind of relationship. Ideally, I would opt to have a win-win situation; that is what I’m working on.”
There are no concrete plans for the future just yet, said Tam (though AR said that in March 2013, “I asked her if she would wanna marry me one day, and she said yes,” he beamed), but “I think that as time goes by, we’ll have more plans together,” Tam said.
For now, they’re working on what they have.
“The best thing for me in this relationship? I guess it’s finding someone my parents seem to be okay with,” Tam said. .
As for AR, “she is totally the opposite of myself. Not because I’m a man and she’s a woman, but because she has the qualities that complement what I have. One time, we took a compass personality test, she resulted to a North West, and I, a south East. She told me, ‘See, we are completely different, we ‘re not a match’. I told her: ‘That is the reason why they call it the better half’.”