It was in 2006, when she participated in the Ms. International Queen beauty pageant in Pattaya, Thailand that Shane Marie Madrigal (also known as Shane Parreno) found her calling to become a transgender activist. One of her realizations then was how disunited the community was, since it is not even able to unanimously send an “official” candidate to represent the country in the international pageant (a move akin to the practice in the likes of Miss Universe, Miss World, et cetera). “We (really) needed to organize,” she said.
Not long after – in fact, also in 2006 – Shane Marie formed (with four other transpinays: Kristine Madrigal, Alexis Garcia, Em Bayubay and Jersey Paceno) the Transpinay of Antipolo Organization (TAO), with the simple aim of “providing a voice for transpinays (transgenders and transsexuals).”
That TAO is Antipolo-specific is a source of pride for Shane Marie, since it has become a “localized organization that (those in Antipolo) can call as their own… and which they can feel at home with.”
Shane Marie – a graduate of BS Chemical Engineering from the Technological Institute of the Philippines in Quezon City, and who now helms the Parreno Corp. – considers herself a fighter. She won the (ill-advised) “Amazing Bading” episode of TV show Extra Challenge in 2003; and won different beauty pageant titles, like Mutya ng Antipolo 2005, Ms Gay Philippines 2009 (Asia Pacific), and represented Philippines in Miss International Queen 2006 in Pattaya, Thailand.
It is through TAO that Shane Marie is making her impact, as the “Ate Shane” (big sister) of transgenders in Antipolo.
Shane Marie’s intentions are clear-cut. “(We need to push for) equality for LGBTs,” she said. But while that may seem generic, there are transgender needs she said that needs to be focused, what with discriminatory policies more often than not affecting the transgenders. “To have a decent job, for instance, transgender women should not be forced to cut our hair (short), nor (should we be forced to) wear uniform that does not fit our identity,” she said. That something like this happens is always worth highlighting so something can be done about it, she stressed.
Shane Marie thus aims to dedicate herself in “uniting and serving the needs of all transpinays in our city”, which she hopes will serve as “an example to the rest of the regions of our country (as they look for the) courage to fight for their rights and privileges as part of the LGBT community,” she ended.