In 2010, prior to finishing his nursing degree, Lucky Lastimosa Maglalang (now 26) – who was volunteering for a health program – was introduced to Cebu City-based LGBT organization Bisdak Pride. Maglalang got interested because – he said – “nalingaw ko (I had fun)”, though also because “I was able to help other using my field of expertise.”
Maglalang added: “Na-trigger sa akin na maging advocate kasi nakita ko na madami mga kapwa ko na LGBT na wala pang alam (halimbawa tungkol sa HIV issues at sa discrimination) at ninais kong tumulong sa kanila [What triggered for me to become an advocate was when I saw that many of my fellow LGBTs did not have the knowledge (for instance about HIV and about discrimination) and I wanted to help them].”
Interestingly, Maglalang used to not identify himself s part of the LGBT community.
“I had a GF in high school and college,” Maglalang said. “Almost three years din kami (We were together for almost three years).”
Before their second year in college, “nagbulag mi (we broke up).” Maglalang got depressed, and “a male classmate comforted me.” One time, “he just let me cry. That led to kissing. And then sex.” Maglalang said that “nalamian ko (it felt good for me). So I questioned my sexuality.”
Maglalang eventually started falling in love with this friend, who became his boyfriend, with their relationship lasting for two years.
However, what they had didn’t last because “two-timer siya (he was a two-timer). He was also my best friend’s BF.”
When Maglalang broke up with his first BF, his ex-GF returned “and wanted for us to get back together. Wala na ko ganahi (I didn’t like that anymore),” he said.
Maglalang also realized that “I was more hurt when I separated with my BF than when I separated with my GF.”
Coming out came next – only to Maglalang’s mom, with whom he lives with since his parents are separated. Initially, she said “nabuang ka, mupatol ka’g laki (are you crazy, sleeping with men)!” But she eventually just acquiesced, though with “conditions”. “She said: 1) no long hair, and 2) pass the board exam. After that, bahala ka na (you’re on your own).”
As a part of Bisdak Pride, Maglalang helps reach hard-to-reach populations in the fight against HIV. Generally, he said, working in the HIV advocacy isn’t hard, “but it’s challenging when you deal with those who choose to hide.”
All the same, the challenge is “what keeps this work exciting.”
Maglalang at times gets disappointed even with the LGBT community because at times, “instead na magtulungan, panay paninira ang ginawa nila sa kapwa nila LGBT (instead of helping each other, we ridicule each other).”
But – having been an LGBT and HIV advocate for six years now – “proud ako kasi six years in the row na, and still kicking pa rin at gusto kong isipin na marami na akong natulungan na tao, madami na rin akong nabahagi na kalaaman sa kanila (I am proud that after six years, I’m still kicking and I’d like to think that I have helped a lot, and I have shared my knowledge with others).”
If he can give a message to LGBT Filipinos, it’s to “find pride in who you are. Kung unsa sila, mao naka-nindot nila. Dapat proud jud ka (You are beautiful because of who you are. So you really should be proud),” Maglalang ended.