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.”
Gree Batulan – 32 years old from Bugo in Cagayan de Oro City in Northern Mindanao – knew she’s a lesbian in high school, when she was around 14 years old.
“In the classroom, I was seated beside the hallway. Across our classroom was the gym. Many girls stayed there. I was attracted to them, and frequently looked at them. I became their fan,” Gree recalled. And so “when I started checking out social media, I looked for girls.”
Gree – the fourth of five kids – didn’t actually experience difficulties because of her SOGIESC at home. “I came out last 2018, when I was with my third girlfriend. I cried when I told my family. They laughed when I told them. My Mom said they already knew. They already knew I’m a lesbian, but they didn’t talk to me about it.”
But even if her parents and siblings accepted her, not everyone was as open.
As an example, “you expect that this aunt who’s close to you will accept you. But she was the one who told me she’s ashamed of people like me.”
Gree also experienced discrimination from close friends. “They wanted me to keep my SOGIESC in private. That’s another form of discrimination because they didn’t like who/what I am.”
It was somewhat hard for Gree at that time because “I didn’t have lesbian friends or affiliation with LGBTQIA groups.”
And so for Gree, “LGBTQIA organizations are important for helping you deal with others. Through these organizations, we can educate others. But aside from educating them, we can also learn from them. Our advocacy should be to help others. So we can be the voice of other people like us.”
She added: “This is also so people don’t think of LGBTQIA people as only crazy in love, or as drunkards. But that we also have the advocacy to do good.”
Gree is now in a relationship; they have been together for almost three years now.
Looking back, “she helped teach me about accepting myself,” Gree said, considering that this partner is the one that gave her that strength to finally come out to family members.
In life in general, Gree said that “people should just accept that we have differences. If you don’t accept (LGBTQIA people), just respect them. Just love them for who they are. What matters is your attitude, not who you are. It’s a matter of what you do, and what you will still do to other people and the community. Just accept and respect us too since we’re also human.”
And to younger lesbian women, or those who are still confused, “just be who you are. Don’t do things just to impress others, or to make them love you. Love yourself first. And then the rest will follow.”