This is part of #KaraniwangLGBTQIA, which Outrage Magazine officially launched on July 26, 2015 to offer vignettes of LGBT people/living, particularly in the Philippines, to give so-called “everyday people” – in this case, the common LGBTQIA people – that chance to share their stories.
As Outrage Magazine editor Michael David C. Tan says: “All our stories are valid – not just the stories of the ‘big shots’. And it’s high time we start telling all our stories.”
Shane Quigao, 26, was young (“In nursery/kindergarten”) when she realized she’s different. “That was when I realized that I may have been assigned male at birth, but I identify as a woman,” she said.
The second of two kids, Shane wasn’t immediately accepted by her family. “Initially, my family was hesitant to support me; they seemed embarrassed discussing me with relatives. My parents may have thought they’d also get discriminated if others knew that one of their kids is transgender,” she said, adding – nonetheless – that “now they’ve fully accepted me as a trans woman. They now accept who I am, what I am, and most especially what I do now.”
Shane said she also experienced discrimination – e.g. at school, in the workplace, and (sadly) even in the LGBTQIA community.
For Shane, “the saddest part here is the discrimination of trans people of other LGBTQIA people. Some actually tell us: ‘You’re not trans. You’re still gay because you did not undergo gender affirmation surgery.’ They say we can’t be trans because we don’t have vagina. These statements are hurtful. They should support us; instead, they’re the first to discriminate.”
On this, though, “I use these to motivate me to do something and prove to them that they are wrong.”
Shane is in a relationship now. But she knows that “straight men are very cautious, are very careful when going into relationships with trans women. There are many trans women in relationships with straight men, but the latter do not share this information to others. They don’t tell others because they’re afraid what their families will say, or what their communities will say. Or even what their friends may say.”
She added: “What I can tell them is to just follow your heart. If that’s what you feel – that you’re attracted to trans women – then fight for it.”
Shane takes pride in the fact that her partner is eager to teach others about this – i.e. to step up to celebrate one’s love with a trans person.
ALL-ENCOMPASSING TRANS CARE
With trans women in Cagayan de Oro, Shane said she noticed that when they transition, “they need to be educated first about the possible effects of what they’re taking, of self-medication.”
And so for her, “the value of having LGBTQIA organizations particularly in provinces is we’re giving the right information. Here, we’ve experienced a lot of criticisms, bullying, hate crimes directed to members of the LGBTQIA community. This is particularly true among trans women who are raped, violated… even in their own homes. So trans organizations can help. For instance, in giving paralegal assistance. Our NGO is one of those who help those who experienced violence.”
Currently, Shane is the executive director and project coordinator of Kagay-an PLUS – Preserving Life, Uniting Society Inc.
Shane stressed: “If you know LGBTQIA people, or if you don’t agree with LGBTQIA relationships, there’s no need for you to make these people feel they’re sinners. Why don’t you just stay silent? One of these days, you may have a trans child who’d experience the same. You should be more open minded. We should broaden our way of thinking, our perceptions. Because choosing your gender identity is not a sin. It’s a way of just being true to yourself.”
WORDS OF WISDOM
“To LGBTQIA community members, we should help one another,” Shane said. “We should be working with one another, united as one.”
And to to Cagayanons, to the residents of Cagayan de Oro City, “as much as you want to discriminate other people, to bully others, why don’t you just keep this hatred to yourself? Because this doesn’t help our society. Instead of discriminating us, why not work with us? Why not choose to support LGBTQIA community members, especially trans women? Trans women continue to face most of the discriminatory acts. I believe in the future we can have a better place to live in. We can have a better city. So people from other cities will say Cagayan de Oro is LGBTQIA friendly.”