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Erolyn Francisco’s search for her rainbow place in Zamboanga City

Meet Erolyn Francisco, president of the local #LGBTQIA organization in #Mampang, #ZamboangaCity, who wants to help change the way people view #transgender Filipinos. “People only focus on efforts of cisgender men and women. They don’t appreciate what we do.”

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.”

Erolyn Francisco, 38 years old from Zamboanga City, was around four years old when she knew for sure she’s transgender. At that time, “people asked: ‘Why are you playing with Barbie?’. I mostly played with my female cousins. That’s when I recognized (at first) that I’m gay. That I’m transgender.”

The second of four kids, she was somewhat lucky since “no one had any reaction on what I am, on who I am. For my father, this didn’t seem like a big deal. He’s proud I’m like this because we have no female sibling.”

Not that life was always rosy, admitted Erolyn.

But things may be changing, she said. “For the younger generation now, it’s easier. Parents now support what their kids want. At least compared to before.”

Erolyn “only” completed high school. And though she used to work as a sales representative in an appliance store, “I stopped working during the pandemic. Until now, I have yet to return to work there.”

“Actually you pay money, but not for love. I understand when people pay for sex; that’s the time you pay. But with love, no one pays. We willingly give money to a loved one,” Erolyn said.

SERVE THE PEOPLE

Erolyn spends time with pushing for LGBTQIA rights particularly in Barangay Mampang in Zamboanga City.

Currently, “we get involved in community outreach efforts so they become familiar with us. They treat us better now. Their minds have opened in terms of LGBTQIA people.”

Society, as a whole, and as an example, “dismiss efforts of transgender people. People only focus on efforts of cisgender men and women. They don’t appreciate what we do.”

#LOVEISLOVE

Erolyn is partnered now. “I met him when a friend invited him to go to my place. That’s where I met him.”

She recognizes that many people view relationships with cisgender men as “just because of money”. And yet, she stressed, it’s the way of looking that’s erroneous.

For Erolyn, “it’s actually not hard to find a boyfriend here in our place. The men here are approachable. The men find it easy to join us, transgender women, when having fun. That’s where relationships start.”

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WORDS OF WISDOM

“A friend told me we should have limitations. We should not do things that will make people be rude to us. We should be proper,” Erolyn said.

And “to parents who do not want LGBTQIA children, we’re not bad people. So you need to accept us. Don’t judge us easily,” Erolyn ended.

“It’s actually not hard to find a boyfriend here in our place. The men here are approachable. The men find it easy to join us, transgender women, when having fun. That’s where relationships start.”

The founder of Outrage Magazine, Michael David dela Cruz Tan completed BA Communication Studies from University of Newcastle in NSW, Australia; and Master of Development Communication from the University of the Philippines-Open University. Conversant in Filipino Sign Language, Mick can: photograph, do artworks with mixed media, write (DUH!), shoot flicks, community organize, facilitate, lecture, and research (with pioneering studies under his belt). He authored "Being LGBT in Asia: Philippines Country Report", and "Red Lives" that creatively retells stories from the local HIV community. Among others, Mick received the Catholic Mass Media Awards in 2006 for Best Investigative Journalism, and Art that Matters - Literature from Amnesty Int'l Philippines in 2020. Cross his path is the dare (guarantee: It won't be boring).

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