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Vien: ‘Learn self-acceptance first’

Meet Vien, here as part of #KaraniwangLGBT, which Outrage Magazine officially launched on July 26 to offer vignettes of LGBT people/living, particularly in the Philippines. She still has relatives who do not accept her, but Vien says self-acceptance comes first. “Ito ako. Tanggap ko ako, Bahala na ang iba (This is me. I accept myself. I don’t care what others think),” Vien says.

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 she was 14, Vien realized that she was “no ordinary beki (gay).”

“Before I turned 14, estudyanteng beki lang ako (I was just another gay student),” she recalled. But then she realized, “iba talaga ang experiences ko; hindi maipapaliwanag ng pagiging beki (my lived experiences were not similar to being gay).”

It was at that point that she realized she’s transgender.

With this realization, Vien is not only happier, but also feels more empowered.

This is particularly important for her since she has relatives and even so-called friends who remain not accepting of her, refusing to recognize Vien’s self-identity. For them, Vien is just “another beki“.

Vien wants to make something of herself, religiously going to school, even as she also helps out – usually taking the graveyard shift – in running the family-owned karinderya (eatery) in Makati City. It isn’t easy missing out on getting proper sleep every night, Vien said, but it is something she has to do to continue being sent to school.

While serving customers, Vien – now 20 years old – is always all-smile.

“I remain upbeat,” she said.  “Ito ako. Tanggap ko ako, Bahala na ang iba (This is me. I accept myself. I don’t care what others think).”

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Written By

A registered nurse, John Ryan (or call him "Rye") Mendoza hails from Cagayan de Oro City in Mindanao (where, no, it isn't always as "bloody", as the mainstream media claims it to be, he noted). He first moved to Metro Manila in 2010 (supposedly just to finish a health social science degree), but fell in love not necessarily with the (err, smoggy) place, but it's hustle and bustle. He now divides his time in Mindanao (where he still serves under-represented Indigenous Peoples), and elsewhere (Metro Manila included) to help push for equal rights for LGBT Filipinos. And, yes, he parties, too (see, activists need not be boring! - Ed).

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