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Sarah of Roxas City: ‘We can help dictate how people perceive us’

Meet Sarah, here as part of #KaraniwangLGBT, which Outrage Magazine launched to offer vignettes of LGBT people/living. As a trans waitress in Roxas City in the Province of Capiz, she believes LGBT people can help define how people perceive them by “dili abusohon ang kaugalingon (not abusing ourselves),” she said. “Ilagay sa lugar ang pagkatawo (Present your personhood properly/Don’t present yourself in a way that people will have excuse to abuse you).”

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.”

When the parents of Sarah, 23, discovered that their eldest child is “different”, “gipadala ko nila sa layo nga lugar para mu-eskuwela (they sent me to a far place to study),” she said. In her mind, “huna-huna nila, mu-bag-o ko (that while there, I’d change).”

But when she returned home a few years later, “babaye na ko (I was already a trans woman).” She said “wala na man sila mahimo (they couldn’t do anything anymore).”

That was already a few years back; and now Sarah works as a waitress in one of the food stalls in Baybay in Roxas City in the Province of Capiz, having finished vocational courses (food processing, as well as beautician) in TESDA.

Living as a trans woman in Roxas, she said, isn’t always “sayon (easy).”

Sarah takes “Pilar (pills)” to help her transition; but she self-medicates. “Wala man doktor diri mutabang namo (No doctor here can help us on this).”

There’s also no local LGBT group to belong to; so “iya-iya mi (to each his/her own here).” She admits, however, knowing of Manila-based organizations; but that “layo man sila para sa amo (they’re too far from us).”

Sara tries to be optimistic, nonetheless. For instance, she considers as a “challenge” her observation that “daghan gud ta (there are many of us here),” she said, adding with a laugh that “daghan competition (there are lots to compete with).”

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Her heart was broken before, though she now just laughs this off. “Walang forever (There’s no forever)!” she said.

Sarah noted that there have been local cases of discrimination – e.g. “mangantyaw mga tawo (people would tease/mock us).”

But Sarah believes that LGBT people, themselves, can play an important role in how they are treated.

In the case of trans people, “ilagay sa tamang lugar ang pagkababae (act aptly as a woman),” she said. “Dapat dili ka magpariwara; hindi naton pagtamasa ang atong kaugalingon (don’t present yourself in a way that people will have excuse to abuse you).”

For Sarah, LGBT people can “help dictate how we are seen,” she said. “Tarong ba. Kana ang atong power para kontrolado nato kung pa-unsa ta nila tan-awon (Act aptly. That’s our power over people’s perceptions of us).”

Written By

"If someone asked you about me, about what I do for a living, it's to 'weave words'," says Kiki Tan, who has been a writer "for as long as I care to remember." With this, this one writes about... anything and everything.


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