Deiniel C. (or just Dei) can trace his becoming a transgender advocate sometime in August 2012, when he helped (with Joshen Manuel, Nil Nodalo, Ira Nunez, Prince Eagle, Jack Aquino, Red Tomines and Brent Argote) in the formation of TransMan Pilipinas (TMP), a group that offers support to other transmen in the Philippines, and – on a more macro scale – attempts to educate the society at large about the transgender community.
Then, as in now, “I wanted to have and fight for our rights and that urged me to do something for our community,” Dei said. With TMP, “I became more passionate on what we are doing to create more awareness in our society.”
Dei added: “It’s my needs (for my) rights that triggered me to do something. I thought that if I didn’t do something right now, what’s going to happen in the future? I didn’t want to depend on (others to do the work for me); I needed to take first step. And since I already had (some knowledge), I didn’t want to keep the knowledge to myself; I wanted to share it to others, especially those who need it. I wanted to help our community.”
For Dei, LGBT people are more prone to get discriminated against, so it’s just a normal step to “come up with something that will protect this community,” he said. This is not always easy, he admitted, since members of the LGBT community do not always get along with each other. “We are not that united,” he said.
He remains hopeful, nonetheless. “I believe our needs for our rights will make us united. It just takes time,” he said.
If there is one source of inspiration for Dei, it’s the “people who surround me. They are like my fuel to get me going. Even the people who don’t understand and hates us for being transgender – those people make me stronger, and those people (create the fire in me, burning) my desire to create more awareness by educating more people.”
Aside from TMP, “I believe that coming out in public was the greatest achievement I have so far. It not only let me reach out to other transmen, but it also allowed me – through TMP- to educate people about our existence. It’s a big first step,” he said. However, “making the first step is always the hardest (part), and I’m glad it went well. With TMP, we now continue to educate more and more people about our community.”
TMP now continues to conduct TG 101 trainings for people to “understand more what transgenderism is. Hopefully we can use the media to help us create more awareness about transgender people.”
“All I know is that we needed a change to happen, and together, we can make it happen,” Dei ended.