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#KaraniwangLGBT

She who finds the words to express her identity…

Meet a Deaf woman from Samal Island, here as part of #KaraniwangLGBT, which Outrage Magazine officially launched on July 26 to offer vignettes of LGBT people/living, particularly in the Philippines. Considered “one of the boys, she’d rather be with the boys all the time than be seen with the girls at all,” her cousin said. And so her boyish appearance serves as her way to tell the world that “dili ganahan ma-babaye (she doesn’t like to be feminine).”

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.”

She is considered “one of the boys”, her male cousin (who was about her age) said. He was almost always with her; she was his sidekick.

That is, “she’d rather be with the boys all the time than be seen with the girls at all,” he said. Not surprisingly, “tomboyon jud siya (she’s really tomboyish).”

Supposedly, she’s always been like this, too. Even when they were young, everything about her was stereotypically masculine – her haircut, her way of dressing up… and even her approach to life was “brusko (brusque).”

Alas, her appearance is her main way of “communicating” herself to the world. Deaf since she was a child, she does not even know any formalized sign language; instead, “himo lang mi ug sign-sign para magkinasabtanay (we just made up signs to understand each other),” the cousin said. And so her boyish appearance serving as her way to tell the world that “dili ganahan ma-babaye (she doesn’t like to be feminine).”

But when spoken to, she tries to communicate, combining various ways to do so, from scribbling what ought to pass as written words on paper (though really just doodles), to using “home signs (i.e. sign language developed at home)”, to making gestures to express herself.

“The missionaries actually come to Samal Island,” she said – making Charade-like motions to imply habit-wearing nuns with big crosses on their bosoms visiting them in their remote part of the island. “They try to teach me Filipino Sign Language (FSL).”

She then took off, but immediately returned with a piece of paper that contained the English alphabet in FSL. “I know; I know,” she said, her right hand tapping her temple, before she proceeded to signing her A, B, C.

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“You need to learn this,” she was told.

Hindi/Dili na (No need)!” she laughed as she shook her head. “I won’t be using it anyway.”

And then her cousin, serving as her voice, said: “Diri lang bitaw na siya (She’s just going to stay here anyway)…”

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