This is part of #KaraniwangLGBT, 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 LGBT 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.”
Khim Abe, 21, always saw herself as a girl. “Bata pa ako, ganito na talaga ako (Even when I was young, I was already like this),” she said. And Khim has always been thankful “na tinanggap ako ng pamilya ko kung ano ako (that my family accepted me for what I am).” In fact, she is now considered as “one of the girls” in her family – “Walo kaming magkakapatid; dati, anim ang lalaki, kasali na ako. Pero ngayon, tanggap nilang pito kaming babae at isa lang ang lalaki (There are eight of us; in the past, there were six boys, including me. But now, they accept that there are actually seven of us girls and only one is a boy).”
Khim’s parents took a – sort of – hands-off approach with her. That is, “nung ayaw ko na mag-aral, gusto ko na tumigil, di naman nila ako pinigilan (when I did not want to pursue my education, when I wanted to stop going to school, they didn’t stop me),” she said. So now, she works as a waitress in a karinderya (eatery) in Barangay Palanan in Makati City. She doesn’t earn much, she admitted, “pero buhay ko ito (but I live my life).”
Khim believes LGBT people should stop just complaining when they encounter hardships. “Gamitin ang galing para maghanap ng ikabubuhay (Use your skills to find means to support yourself),” she said.
Khim also believes LGBT people need to “reclaim power”. “Kung tinawag kang bakla, at bakla ka naman talaga (If someone calls you gay, and you’re really gay), own it,” she said. “Huwag ikahiya kung ano ka (Don’t be ashamed of what you are).”
On love, “huwag maghanap; kusa lang yan darating (don’t go looking for it; it will come).”
And for LGBT people who are, unfortunately, in harsh conditions – for instance, if their parents physically abuse them – Khim said not to lose hope. “Tibayan ang loob. Kung kaya, magpakalayo ka na lang. Kung hindi man kayang lumayo, maghanap ng suporta galing sa mga taong tatanggap sa iyo (Be strong. If you can, leave/go far from those who hurt you. If you can’t leave, just look for support from people who will accept you).”