RJ was maybe 17 or 18 when he first had sex with another man.
“He must have been 30. Kapitbahay namin siya sa Rizal (He was a neighbor in Rizal),” he recalled. “Nag-iinuman kami ng mga kaibigan ko, kasali na siya. Matagal ko na siya kilala. Hindi ko alam kung bakit ako pinuntirya niya. Basta ang alam ko, nalasing ako; tapos naalimpungatan ako, nakahubad na ako (Me and my friends were drinking alcohol, and he was with us. I’ve known him for quite some time. I don’t know why he specifically targeted me. All I know is I got so drunk I lost track of what was happening; when I came to, I was already naked).”
While this may be considered drunk rape, RJ just laughs it off – even seemingly taking delight from the experience.
“Una, BJ lang naman (First of all, he just gave me blow job),” he smiled. “Ikalawa, nasarapan din naman ako (Secondly, I also enjoyed the experience).” Besides, “ako kasi pinaka-guwapo sa amin, kaya nga yata niya ako tinarget. Gusto ng babae, gusto ng lalaki (I was the best looking among us, which may be why he targeted me. Desired by women, and desired by men).”
That sexual encounter with another man comes a year after he first had sex with his girlfriend in high school.
“Iniisip ko, mas masarap yata ang babae (I’m trying to consider if I had more fun with a woman),” he said. “Siguro nga (That maybe it). Pero… sex lang ‘yun pareho (But in the end, both are just sex acts).”
Asked if the experiences affected his way of seeing his sexual identity, RJ laughed.
“My identity is my issue,” he said. “Sa akin na lang ‘yun kung ano ako (It’s up to me how I perceive myself to be).”
Then: “But if you must know, lalaki ako na nakipagtalik sa babae; nakipagtalik sa lalaki (I’m a heterosexual male who have had sex with women; who have had sex with men).”
RJ, the eldest of five siblings, only finished two years of high school. In 1999, his family moved to Makati City; but then his mother (with his stepfather) decided to move back to Binangonan, Rizal. He decided to part ways with them.
“I now live by myself in Makati City,” he said, adding that he mainly earns a living by driving padyak (bicycle with sidecar to carry passengers). “Nakakaraos naman kahit papaano (I get by somehow).”
Since he only looks after himself, “bahay at pagkain lang ginagastusan ko (I just spend on my rent, and on food). P600 per month for rent lang naman (I only spend P600 for rent).”
Not incidentally, “may anak na ako (I have a child). I got a girlfriend pregnant when I was 19. Nasa nanay ko ang bata; ‘di ko ‘yun kayang buhayin (The child is with my mother; I don’t think I can support the child).”
While in Makati, “naku, andami ko na naging girlfriend (I have had a lot of girlfriends),” he said. “Lahat sila, naka-sex ko na (I have had sex with all of them). Or… maybe just two I didn’t do it with, mainly because we were too young then.”
And while his friends taught him how to use a condom, “gumagamit lang kung meron (I just use one when one is available),” he said. Then with a smile: “Kaya nga nakabuntis (That’s why I got one girlfriend pregnant).”
RJ said he had sex with two other men after that first experience.
“Pinakilala ng kaibigan ko sa akin ‘yung mga bakla (A friend introduced these gay men to me),” he said. “Kung natatandaan ko, gipit yata ako noon eh (If I remember right, I needed money then).”
Besides, “hindi naman ako nag-iisa. Andami naming ganito (I’m not alone in doing this. There are many of us who do this).”
When asked how he felt when he had sex with these men, RJ just shrug. “Wala. Walang pakiramdam (Nothing. I felt nothing),” he said. “Masarap din kung nilalabasan na. Sabi nga, sex lang ‘yun (It also felt good when I orgasmed. As I said, it was just sex).”
Right now, “di na muna ako naghahanap ng kasintahan. Kung darating siya, kung sino man siya, darating na lang siya (I’m not actively searching for a lover. If the person arrives, whoever that person is, then that person will arrive),” he said.
And then: “Paano kung lalaki siya? Okay lang din. Pag-ibig ‘yan eh (What if that person who comes into my life is another man? That’s fine. I suppose that’s love).”
Asked if this makes him non-heterosexual, RJ frowned. “Sabi ko nga (As I’ve said), my identity is my issue. Sa akin na lang ‘yun kung ano ako (It’s up to me how I perceive myself to be).”
*NAME CHANGED AS REQUESTED BY INTERVIEWEE