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The Your Stories section is all about you! Please take a minute to tell visitors of the ILGA website about what LGBTI life is like in reality. Please submit your personal story and share your experience!

YOUR STORIES
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Readers Experiences

This is what people are saying about life for LGBTI people in PHILIPPINES...
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tasha (user currently living in PHILIPPINES) posted for readers on 30/05/2013 tagged with gender identity +10
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Right after reading ur post guys, i was inspired sharing my same sex relationship experience. By the way before we get this started, i am tasha from las pi単as city but born and raised in quezon city.i actualy came fr a very conventional type of family not until the day it already became absurd to me.well my very first and remarkable experience was during my college days. The day i met this girl ann melody now known as 'andy'. I find her weird the first day i met her she was so quiet and aloof from d group but i admit thar her brains blow me off cuz she is a genious. So there i considered her much of the nerdy type. Until 1day, i was so depressed of wtsgoin on with my family. I jst dnt kno exactly how to describe how affected i am during those ttime. Then there she was andy was so consistent lifting my spirit its as if im always for counselling. Crazy thoughts plays insyd my head suicide is like the best thing to do by that time. Andy became my bestest friend. We spend r breaktyms on the lagoon talking out of thiz world ideas. Until shr started to care for me that much she srnds me bk home safely and waits for me before r class begins. Then one afternoon she confessed something that completely changed my life...she said she loved me... And guess wt she even diatinguishrd that she jst dnt lyk me but again she has absolutely falln in love with me. My initial reaction was.so stupid. I said wr cn nvr be cuz wer both shes. She jst simply implied ilovryou and i dnt care if this is nt within d so called social norm. I was about to cry wen she said that. Cuz at d bk of my head i already loved her but i jst cnt confess bec of there r alot of factors to consider. She asked me if we can unwind for awhile maybe bec of my reaction she might have felt my confusion,doubts and fears. Until i camebk to my senses and i replied bk...'yes' i cud definitely be ur gf bt with an exemption there shall be no commitment...andy was perplexed by thr condition i set..
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(user currently living in PHILIPPINES) posted for gay readers on 09/04/2013 tagged with gender identity, sexual orientation +15
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Hi, allow me to introduce myself as "Lei" (definitely not my real name), a young gay guy software engineer working in the Philippines.

I'd like to share to you my first ever true gay love story. I say "true", because it was my first time to experience being loved back as who I am. :-D
This happened during my second year of working as a professional. I remember during my elementary and high school days I've always had male crushes in all the schools I've been into.
Again, I say "all the schools I've been into", because starting from 1st grade, my family have always been moving from place to place, all around the Philippines,
from Luzon, to Visayas, and then Mindanao. And in all those places, I've always had at least one crush from among my classmates. :-D
But anyway, to get to that love story, let's just cut this short.

It was the Christmas season of the year 2012, I was all alone in our home - my family had to go somewhere else for the Christmas break,
but I decided to just stay at home and enjoy the holiday season just by myself. It was 23rd of December, I was online in FB, sending greetings to my friends,
since I've nothing to do. And then all of a sudden, there was this guy who chatted me, just making kumusta (asking how I am doing).
And then, of course, as friendly as I am, I did not ignore his message and I told him that I'm just at home, etc.
Let's just call him "Ken" (not real name). This guy added me as his FB friend two years ago, and for that span of two years,
I never really had a talk with him except for some few instances. One instance I remember was year 2011, when he asked me what type of work I am doing,
and from that conversation he told me that he is an electronics engineer, and then he asked me if I know C++ (a programming language),
because he, as an engineer, has been studying it too as a course. And then that conversation just ended there which I think was not really something memorable at all. :-D
By the way, Ken and I graduated from the same high school, and, the reason I added his as a friend was that his name is familiar,
even if I didn't really remember his face. However, during that Dec23 2012 chat of ours, he reminded me that we were actually high school batchmates,
and, all of a sudden, he told me that I was his high school crush. I could not believe what I was reading on my chat box that time.
Never in my life it crossed my mind that some guy would have a crush on me. I was really impressed with his guts to tell me that on our first interesting chat hahaha. :-D
He went on to tell me that after graduation, there was a Sunday afternoon when he accidentally met me inside a bookstore,
and we exchanged numbers simply because I recognized him as my high school batchmate, a guy from the other section, just a few doors away from my classroom.
And yes, I forgot to mention that we were not classmates - he belonged to another section, and he used to peek from their classroom's window just to see me.
Ahm, please do take note that Ken is not a feminine gay - in fact, no one believes him whenever he tells his friends that he is gay hahaha!
And, according to him, I am a good-looking and intelligent person. Graduated Magna Cum Laude from the university.
But anyway, he recalled that when a committee was looking for someone who would collect contact info of every class officer for the yearbook, he volunteered to do the task,
because I was the class president of our class, and by him doing so, he'd have a reason to go to our classroom to finally meet me in person.
When he told me this, I did not want to believe, but even if those events happened six years ago in Cagayan de Oro city, it was still very kilig for me! :-D
By the way, year 2012, I was in Cebu, and Ken was in Manila for work. To proceed with the story, we kept on talking via fb chat for the entire night.
We exchanged numbers, and immediately we were textmates. He asked me then if we could have a date.
In my mind I was saying, oh this guy's so fast huh? Asking for a date on the first night, but anyway, it was his birthday just a few weeks ago at that time,
and when he teased me for some birthday present, I don't know why I did it, maybe because I got overwhelmed by the feeling that some guy out there has ever liked me,
I offered to get him a round trip to Cebu, thanks to Cebu Pacific's Piso Fare. I told him that if you'd like a date with me and come here in Cebu,
then let's make it a good one - I take you to Cebu beaches. He thought that I was just joking but I really meant that one.
I mean, if for all the guys I liked before, it has been customary for me to be extra kind to them, how much more for someone who likes me for who I am?
I'd be willing to buy tickets for him. I told him that I just want to make him happy, because his my friend, and i just wanted his company,
that's why I wanted to buy him tickets. So January 2013 I did buy him plane tickets.

So, that was the first night of our reunion. The succeeding events came by so fast. We were so grabe in texting one another,
I remember consuming my P500 worth of text messages in less than four days. We just talk about anything - from high school memories,
to our common interests like music and me playing piano and him playing violin, etc. We used to talk about traveling -
me having gone to many places for residency and vacation, also his plans to go to different places in the Philippines.
I talked to him about my barkada, how we spend our nights together partying,looking for fun things to do as a group, or even chatting the night away.
I remember us sharing our dreams - him becoming an excellent IC engineer, me becoming a software engineer in a research-based facility and going to the academe to teach.
It was also fun to know that he is studying French, and me studying Japanese.
I don't know if by coincidence or fate, we shared a lot of things in common. He was also a geek - I remember one time we were talking on the phone,
he was talking about physics but we were both having fun because we both can relate. There were also those days when he would "interrogate" me -
ask me about my family, my attitude in life, my insecurities, my preferences, everything. It was my first time to have somebody interested in me that much.
Although yes, I've had a girlfriend when I was in college, but this was different, because this time, I felt like I was the girl :))

This friendship thing we had, went on for many weeks. One particular thread of conversation we had which I can never forget was when i was telling Ken that,
if ever I'd buy my own house in the future, I'd choose to be in Cebu. Then he asked me, how about Europe? Then I asked him, why Europe?
He replied, because that's where I want to be. I was struck with those words. My understanding was that, he wants me to be in Europe with him.
Ken is good-looking and intelligent and a good-hearted person, but I fell in love with him for those lines.
In a romantic sense, no one has ever made me feel important the way he did. We were already like lovers during that time.
The only thing lacking was the official status that we are boyfriends. I loved him, and I knew that he loved me.
In such happiness of mine, I finally told my friends that I have a "suitor".

But that was what I believed.

Our relationship, whatever it was, went on until early February. Now he is making me aware that he's got some friends from out of the country.
And when he said "friends", I started to have a doubt. I was beginning to sense something weird - whenever he needs assurance from me,
I lavished it upon him, but if it's me finding assurance from him, ahem, no crystal-clear answer came to me.
All he said was, don't be jealous, but if asked why, he won't tell me why.
And then I told myself that this is it, I knew it, either he has a boyfriend already or he has somebody whom he loves better than he loves me.
From then on, our friendship turned sour. I started to get jealous whenever he talks about any "friend" that he has,
and then there were weeks when I would not hear any word from him may it be text of fb chat or gmail chat or email.
Sometimes he'd send me messages but in my anger I won't reply immediately and just make him wait and ignore him.
It was very sudden, and it was painful for me. Really painful. At first I convinced myself that it would be ok, maybe he was just busy,
or maybe, well, the kilig moments are not meant to stay all the way, and at least the commitment from Ken is still there.
But later on I just moved on with my life, and chose to prepare myself to hear that Ken is with some other guy already, and not me.
I was really affected by those turn of events - during times like these I tend to be easily irritated and grumpy, and I dive into overworking.

So, one week more to go, and it's gonna be our schedule for our first date. In my mind I wanted to cancel our date,
but decided not to, because I wanted to know for sure if my doubts are real. So during that week, miraculously, our friendship was somehow restored,
we get to laugh whenever we call each other.

And finally, our long weekend began. He arrived to Cebu early morning, so I went to the airport to fetch him and take him home,
good thing family's not in town again ahaha. Made him sleep because the day before he was in NAIA for the entire day too excited waiting for the plane
that he waited for 10 hours ahead of schedule. At first it was awkward at the airport and at the taxi. But at home, after we had our breakfast,
we lied at the bed, and he hugged me, and I just hugged him in return. It was like all the pain I've had was suddenly gone.
We talked and talked for the entire day. Embraced one another, kisses here and there ahahha.
But take note, he did not want us to have sex because he doesn't want me to think that he came to Cebu just for sex.
So I was just ok with it. I prepared lunch and dinner for the two of us and it was a nice feeling to take care of somebody who also cares for you.
On the following day, I took him to a beach far from the city. We had fun, swimming in the beach, eating exotic food, taking pictures.
And finally, we talked about our status. I was right. There is another guy whom he loves and loves him in return.
He did not hide from me the details. He even showed me pictures of the guy from his cellphone.
He met that guy just a few months before we had our first chat in fb.
That was the other reason he did not want to have sex with me. That was the reason why he could not give me any assurance before.
Although I was emotionally prepared for this, I was not able to take it so I cried, while he was embracing me, and I was leaning on him.
He told me that he's guilty of giving me false hopes, and I admitted that I gave in too quickly. Although it really did hurt me a lot,
for me our date was still worth it all, because I felt free from having to believe in an illusion that we can be together.
So, for the last night, we slept together, now only as special friends. But the hugging and kissing were still there ahha!
On the following day, we went back to the city and I sent him to his long-time-no-see uncle,
which was out of our original plan and sort of took away our precious time together and became a reason of our quarrel and I felt really bad about it but still
I decided to send him to the airport before him boarding the airplane back to Manila.
He apologized for his mistake of allowing our time together to be cut short by his sudden meeting with this uncle,
but anyway, I forgave him, and we were ok before we parted.

From then on, Ken and I became special friends and kept in touch with one another. Special, in the sense that, although the two of us could not be together
because he's got somebody to love who also loves him, the two of us have left a mark on each others' lives.
He thanked me for everything and told me that no one has ever done what I have done for him - love him the way I did,
bought him a round trip ticket, prepared every detail of our date without expecting anything in return,
and treated him as a gay friend unto whom he can just be himself, without pretensions.
I also thanked him for accepting me with all my imperfections and insecurities, for making me feel loved,
even if it all ended so soon, at least it's way much better than loving someone who will never love you in return,
just like all the other guys I've had a crush on.
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Oscar Atadero (user currently living in PHILIPPINES) posted for gay lesbian transgender bisexual straight readers on 12/06/2012 tagged with gender identity, human rights, laws and leadership , sexual orientation, marriage / civil unions
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ProGay consoles Pacquiao, hints rep should work on gay-friendly bills

From GMA News Network

The Progressive Organization of Gays in the Philippines on Sunday came out in support of defeated boxing legend Manny Pacquiao, who was outscored by American Timothy Bradley in their fight, saying that he still needs to quickly return home in order to work on important bills in Congress.

"We sympathize with the Pacquaio camp and all his saddened supporters. But in defeat, we rise again and help build equality in our nation by knocking out discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity," said Progressive Organization of Gays in the Philippines, or ProGay, Spokesperson Goya Candelario in a press statement.

Furthermore, ProGay said that the pound-for-pound king Pacquiao should also re-assess his political stand against marriage equality issues and learn to totally accept lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality as a member of the House of Representatives.

A few weeks before his fight with Bradley, Pacquiao was criticized for speaking out against U.S. President Barack Obama's support for lesbian and gay marriage.

"We ask Congressman Pacquiao to support our equality by endorsing the passage of House Bill 1483 or the Antidiscrimination Bill if he really is supportive of LGBT citizens," Candelario added.

ProGay also called on Pacquiao to continue supporting bills that increase wages by P125 in order to revive the economy and thus help gay and transgender salon workers. — DVM, GMA News
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Gerald Ygay (user currently living in PHILIPPINES) posted for gay lesbian transgender bisexual readers on 27/02/2012 tagged with gender identity, human rights, laws and leadership , sexual orientation +0
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Cebu City, hailed Queen City of the South, is the capital city of Cebu and is the "second city" in the Philippines with the second most significant metropolitan centre and known as the oldest settlement established by the Spaniards in the country. In its hike for equality, Councilors Alvin Dizon, Margarita Osmeña, Nida Cabrera, Lea Japson, John Philip Po III and Augustus “Jun” Pe sponsored an ordinance on condemning and banning acts of discrimination against any person on the basis of disability, age, health status, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity and religion. The Anti-Discrimination Ordinance (ADO) gathered a collective support from various sectors during its first public hearing last January 25, 2012 with at least ten provisions under the prohibited acts that include denial of access to public programs and services, refusing admission or expulsion from educational institutions, and denial of access to medical and health services, based on disability, age, health status, sexual orientation and gender identity, ethnicity and religion. The ADO is holistic in its approach in protecting peoples from discrimination and promoting equality in all levels. Currently, the ADO is up for deliberation for the next session. This encourages the Cebu LGBT community to be vigilant by proactively supporting the passage of the ADO and an island-wide campaign for the replication of the same measure. To add, the Cebu Rainbow LGBT Community is hosting its first Cebu Rainbow LGBT Congress with the theme of " One Cause, One Colorful Community, One Cebu" aimed to foster unity of each LGBT sectors as one strong community, collectively identifying local sectoral issues, establishing the network's core group this coming March 4, 2012 at the Social Hall, Fourth Floor Legislative Building, Cebu City Hall, Cebu City, Philippines.
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Gerald Ygay (user currently living in PHILIPPINES) posted for gay lesbian transgender bisexual readers on 27/02/2012 tagged with gender identity, human rights, laws and leadership +0
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It is very fortunate in the Resolution No. 12-1672-2011 dated 7 December 2011 of Cebu City's 12th Sangguniang Panlungsod (Legislative Branch)has resolved the inclusion of the LGBT sector on the Gender and Development (GAD) program and to request the Chairperson of the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) to include the LGBT in the national implementation of GAD programs and services and to urge the Cebu City Women and Family Affairs Commission (CCWFAC, the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) and Barangay GAD focal persons to include the LGBT sector in the GAD program implementation within Cebu City.
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Jhem, 24, is a pretty transgender who frequently wins drag beauty pageants, a loving child and a doting provider to younger siblings who depend on her for their school expenses and lunches. She graduated with a degree in business management. Her neighbors in Barangay Caybiga, Caloocan City considers her to be better off than many residents who live a hard scrabble life in the village where unemployment runs at around 40%.

However, Jhem laments that she has to be content with working as a hairdresser in the neighborhood, working long hours for less thank minimum wage. After graduation, she spent months looking for a job in the corporate world, only to be turned down by erviewers.

"I didn't want to think that my feminine demeanor is the reason why they won't hire me," Jhem sighs. "In college, I was always in denial, refusing to believe my other cross-dressing friends who kept tellim me I will also have to be content working typecast work for queers, like cutting hair."

Like Jhem, hundreds of thousands of transgender, lesbians and gay men are victims of discrimination in hiring policies, wage levels, benefits and other workplace benefits. The problem is so pervasive that the victims are not even painfully aware that they suffer inequalities in quality of life and legal benefits.

However, a bill filed in the House of Representatives in 2010 aims to correct these inequities and provide hope to some eight million lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Filipinos. House Bill 1483, An Act Defining Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation and

Gender Identity and Providing Penalties Therefor, was authored by Rep. Teodoro Casino who represents the partylist Bayan Muna, a leftist alliance of marginalized sectors,

Also known as the Anti-Discrimination Bill, the measure promises to provide people like Jehm and society at large the legal definition of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, or SOGI for short.

Once discrimination based on SOGI is defined, according to Rep. Casino, then the State can put up mechanisms for citizens to report, file unfair labor cases and access justice for violations of SOGI-related rights. The bill recommends penalties up to 200,000 pesos and prison terms.

During a town hall meeting sponsored by Bayan Muna in the city that explained the features of the bill, Jhem came close to tears after realizing the roots of her lingering unease about her situation.

"I didn't realize that the bakla (effeminate queers) have human rights, too! All my life, I thought I had to endure the taunts from almost everyone in the street. I was already resigned to my fate as a bakla who just silently accepts whatever crumbs come my way," Jhem explained.

The bill is supported by several LGBT activist groups such as ProGay Philippines, a national alliance of grassroots LGBT community organizers. According to ProGay spokesperson Goya Candelario, violations of human rights of LGBTs in the Philippines is difficult to document, precisely because a majority of the victims are not even aware what constitutes violations.

Candelario adds that Filipinos are also in denial about the level of discrimination and homophobia, because the suffering is less harsh compared to more conservative Southeast Asian societies. There are no laws punishing sodomy and other same-sex relations, but at the same time, SOGI status is not a protected classification.

"We usually get complaints about gay job applicants who give up on looking for work in prestigious workplaces, but because of a lack of an anti-discrimination law, the complainants do not get anywhere. We report it to the government, and the police simply laugh and send us away. This should end with House Bill 1483."

Aside from financial losses, ProGay activists assert that discrimination impairs physical and emotional health among victims, making Filipino LGBTs more susceptible to health issues such as malnutrition, personality disorders, sexually transmitted infections, and in the worst cases, traumatic injuries resulting from anti-gay violence.

The proposed law prohibits employers, malls service providers, schools, health care instutition, even public sector institutions such as the police and the military from making policies that bar employment or access according to real or perceived SOGI.

Government agencies who are negligent and that have failed to protect vulnerable groups from violators are also answerable, based on the principle that the State has a responsibility of protecting its citizens. Casino said that the Philippines, as a signatory to global treaties that uphold economic, political, civil and cultural rights, is obligated to chase after the violators and not just claim that the government is not able to implement the law.

However, getting the bill approved is an uphill battle. For now, only a handful of progressive solons are pushing the bill to be calendared for public hearings. ProGay is also doing its part to raise awareness in the public, in a campaign called "One Love, One Call,, Human Rights for All.". Candelario is one of the grassroots trainors who juggles her time between a busy salon and scheduling training workshops for activists.

Candelario goes around town telling people that the bill not only assures equality for LGBTs, but also helps the country gain economically and financially. She says that equality that is achieved with the Anti-Discrimination Bill will help reduce unemployment in a sector that is known for artistic and intellectual creativity. She is asking support from the heterosexual citizens to write or call their congressmen with the aim of getting the bill tabled the soonest.

To participate in the campaign, log on to www.progay.multiply.com
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