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The one and only Virgin of P.U.P.

Virgin, a trans vendor at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, originated from the Visayas, where she used to earn P800 per day. She moved to Manila to make a living; she now sends two relatives to school, aside from looking after her family in the province. “Be okay with starting small,” she now says, “as it could help better your life.”

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.”

Hindi talaga ako ang tunay na ‘Virgin’ (I wasn’t the original ‘Virgin’),” she said. It was “Glyza”.

But over 10 years ago, “nakipagsapalaran ako sa Manila (I tried my luck in Manila),” said Virgin. That was because at that time, “kumikita ako ng P800 kada isang buwan (I was earning P800 per month),” and this wasn’t enough to help her family in the Visayas.

A relative made her work in a stall at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP). This relative was the “original ‘Virgin’,” she recalled. And their “pa-kulo (gimmick)” was to “tawagin lahat ng virgin (refer to everyone as ‘virgin’).” It worked, so that eventually, “naging ‘Virgin’ na rin ako (I also became known as Virgin).”

There was no sense of losing her identity; “inari ko na lang (I just owned it).”

To be clear, “sa pangalan lang ako virgin; sa pagkatao, di na ako virgin (I am only a virgin in name; in practice, I am no longer a virgin),” she laughed.

Virgin admitted that her playful nature helped popularize their business. In fact, she said, before she joined the business, PUP already had stalls selling what they were selling. But she was a “maharot na tindera (coquettish vendor),” and this left a mark, thus their stall’s fame in PUP now. “You can’t claim to be from PUP if di mo ako kilala (you don’t know me),” she said.

Virgin’s success helped her help her family in the Visayas. She used to send three relatives to school, though after one got pregnant, “dalawa pinag-aaral ko ngayon (I send two to school now),” she said.

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No, she said, she was never asked to help out. She just did it.

Looking back, “11 (years old) ako nagdadamit babae na ako. Wala ako narinig sa (parents ko),” she said. But she recognizes that this may be so because “ang laki ng tulong ko sa kanila (I have helped them a lot).”

Aside from sending relatives to school, she also sends money back home to care for her relatives there, “at pagpapaayos ng bahay (and to have our house fixed).”

Helping out meant that Virgin had to set aside her own dreams.

Naisip ko rin noon magtapos ng eskuwela (In the past, I also considered finishing school),” Virgin – a high school graduate – said. “Pero ngayon, hindi na. Sila na lang (But not anymore. They’re the priority now).”

She used to dream of finding love, she said; but after a difficult break-up with her last boyfriend, “huwag na muna (perhaps not now).”

When the ex-BF left him, “di ako nasaktan (that didn’t hurt me),” Virgin said. Instead, what pained her was “nung sinabi niya sa akin na parehas kami lalaki (when he told me he can’t continue with our relationship because we’re both men).” According to Virgin, “sinabi ko sa kanya, alam mo pala parehas tayong ganito eh bakit pumasok ka pa sa relasyong ito (you already knew you didn’t want to be in a relationship with another person assigned male at birth, then why did you enter into a relationship with me)?”

Before she joined her relative’s business, PUP already had stalls selling what they were selling. But she was a “maharot na tindera (coquettish vendor),” and this left a mark, thus their stall’s fame in PUP now. “You can’t claim to be from PUP if di mo ako kilala (you don’t know me),” Virgin said with a naughty smile.

Virgin knows life isn’t always rosy; but she said “masakit lang kung di mo tatanggapin (it’s just difficult if you don’t accept it),” she said, adding that this more optimistic way of looking at her life has given her “mas magaan (lighter)” approach to it.

She knows she was luckier than others. But she also knows that others may not find the luck she found. In the end, Virgin said: “Napakahirap magsimula; pero napakasarap magsimula (Starting can be hard; but that’s fun).” She started as “just” a vendor, for instance, but she now owns her own stall. And so in life as a whole, “magsimula (just start).”

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