Del Domingo and Prince Bensan first met in 2012.
Prince said that when he first saw Del in Facebook – from the photographs on the page of the transgender association she belonged to – she already caught his attention.
“Way back 2012, I saw some pictures on Facebook. I think it was STRAP’s Facebook page. Suddenly, this girl caught my attention. It was Del Domingo. I sent her a friend request, and after that, I started sending her messages, like saying ‘Hi’, ‘Hello’, ‘How are you?’. And some compliments of course; hindi mawawala ‘yun (that’s always there),” Prince said.
Del, too, recalled as much.
“We’ve been messaging each other in Facebook even then, even if not that frequently,” Del said in the vernacular. “Puro ‘Hi’, ‘Hello’, ‘Kumusta’ (It was all ‘Hi’, ‘Hello’, ‘How have you been?’). Hindi ko siya madalas mine-message kasi ‘di ko naman siya kilala noon (I didn’t send him messages often because I didn’t really know him).
“Hindi continuous ‘yung chat namin kasi I had a girlfriend at that time (Our chatting wasn’t regular because I had a girlfriend then),” Prince said. “Puro kumustahan lang (It was all just to check how each other was).”
And then last year (2013), “I decided na chikahin ko na siya (to just chat with him). Tapos nalaman ko na transman pala siya (And then I found out he’s a transman), so I said to myself, ‘Why not give it a try? I might like it’,” Del smiled.
“Exactly a year after (since we became Facebook friends), and single na ako (and I was already single at) that time, she suddenly chatted with me. I was shocked, actually, kasi kadalasan ako ‘yung laging nag-first move (I was shocked when she chatted with me because usually, I make the first moves). Then ayun, hiningi niya ‘yung number ko (she asked for my number). My heart skipped a beat, seriously,” Prince recalled.
The two first met on July 10, 2013.
“I surprised her. Pinuntahan ko siya sa work niya (I went to her office). Then after that day, I started courting her. I knew I wanted to love her the minute I first saw her,” Prince said.
“Parang love at first sight kami (It was like love at first sight),” Del laughed.
By August 8, 2013, they were already an item.
For Del, she appreciates that “since we’re both trans, we share a common ground,” she said. That is, the two of them “both take hormones, we both experience (a journey to transition), so may common ground talaga kami (we really have a commonality).”
Similarly, “parehas din kaming takot na ma-discriminate bilang trans (we’re both afraid to be discriminated as trans),” Del added.
Discrimination remains a big issue for Del and Prince. as Del said: “Siguro ‘yung challenge lang namin eh ‘yung discrimination pa rin talaga bilang trans – like ‘yung wrong usage ng pronouns, fear na magpa-check-up sa hospital baka ma-question, ‘yung fear na mapahiya in public… sensitive kami parehas pagdating doon. Facing those things, still mahirap pa rin. Kailangan lang namin maging maingat siguro when facing these, like remain calm, and to try to educate the best way we can (Maybe a challenge for us is facing discrimination as trans people – like when we are addressed using the wrong pronoun, our fear to get checked in a hospital because we may be questioned, our fear to be shamed in public… we’re both sensitive to that. It’s still difficult to face those things. Maybe we need to be careful when we are confronted with those cases, like like remain calm, and to try to educate the best way we can).”
Prince said that he realized he was in love with Del “I guess around that time I realized I was happier spending time with her than spending time alone or with someone. We have our differences – lots! But it doesn’t matter. I’ve seen her at her worst, and I still love her and still think she’s the best for me,” he said.
Considering that Del is a transwoman and Prince is a transman, the two can actually legally marry in the Philippines – something of an “edge”, for lack of a better word, according to Del. Also, “pwede rin kaming magkaroon ng sarili naming mga anak (we can also have children of our own),” Del said.
As such, for those not in the know, their relationship may just seem “typical”; although, of course, it isn’t “because we’re both trans.”
Del and Prince already discussed plans for their future together.
“To get married and have kids of our own, pero hindi naman ito minamadali kasi we both know na hindi madaling magplano ng family (but we’re not in any hurry because we know that planning to have a family can not be rushed). We both know that we need to be financially stable first. May mga plans kaming mag-live-in as of now (We have plans to live together) since Prince is still studying. We make sure things run smoothly according to plan,” Del said.
As for Prince: “One thousand bad days with her is better than one day without her. I do have a plan for the both of us. I’m still young but I know what I want. I want to marry her someday, to have a family. I want her to be my wife and the mother of my future children.”