I was about 5 when I first showed lesbian tendencies. Of course I didn’t know it then. I’m talking in hindsight. When Papa dressed me up with a terno dress our Lola bought for me and my older sister Beng, I would pretend that it was itchy, or I was not comfortable and started crying. And Papa knew, he had to get me out of that dress if he wanted a peaceful afternoon.
Papa gave me a tri-cycle when I was 4 or 5 and I was really happy with it (Did he feed my boyish side? I don’t know).
But it was my 7th birthday when Lola forced me to wear a dress and hold a long-stemmed rose for my picture. I’m happy I couldn’t find that photo anymore (or did I choose to forget where I placed it?)
I studied in a Catholic school for 10 years, and we were the first batch in high school to finally have male students since it was a highly all-girls university.
I have 2 aunts, once on each side, who I know are lesbians even when I was young. There was no hiding it around kids. In fact, one of them, I can still remember, kissed her girlfriends in front of us. So the idea was never really foreign to me, or my family. So, sorry. I do not have a coming out story. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t get a dose of their hindi ka naman lalaki! or tomboy ka! or maganda sana kaso…
Oh and a friend’s mother who said, and mga bakla at tomboy, mga batang inilaglag yan pero di nalaglag nung pinagbubuntis pa lang sila.
Oh well, as to whether my aunts influenced me in one way or another (as my mother claimed it when she had to deal with my “eloping with a girlfriend”), I can’t say.
Yes I’ve had crushed on boys before. I eventually came to realize though that I only wanted to be like them, not be with them. I’ve never had a boyfriend (and never wished I had one) because I was fairly out in school, and when a boy from another school even attempted to ask my number, I told him, flat-out, that I already have a… girlfriend!
I first had a girlfriend when I was in my sophomore year in high school, and she, a senior. She’s married with a kid now. With all of the past girlfriends I’ve had, I’d wished that I had been a man. That I could give them my last name (yes, while in high school!), and that they could bear my child. I envisioned myself in top siders, shorts and polo shirts on Sundays with the wife and the kid 10 hears hence.
In the love letters and poetry that I can recall I made, most of them talked about if’s, wishes, and insecurities of not having THAT equipment. I felt that I was lacking, incomplete.
Until I met the next partner. Her past boyfriend aside, she identifies herself as a lesbian. A femme. Not confused, not bisexual. Just plainly a lesbian. She is beautiful, sexy, sought after by a lot of guys, and fellow butches, and don’t look now, by other femmes.
And I know I love her but I was confused why a girl in a skirt could also attract a girl in another skirt! It didn’t make sense to me. But she is patient to explain things, answer some of my questions that I bet I never could have asked any other girlfriend in the past.
It was a stage of enlightenment, so to speak. At about the same time, I also didn’t understand my gay friends. They always talked about top, bottom and versa. I respect them, I just didn’t understand their dynamics. All I knew at THAT time was gays hated and insulted lesbians (I meant butches). They made fun of us when they joked. So I tried to make peace with them, and then avoid them all my life.
I was scared to hear “you and your loud-mouthed weird-looking gay and lesbian friends” comments that I might have heard when I was younger. I tried to be alone, and separate myself from them.
And then I met my non-cross dresser gay friends (no dropping of names), who enlightened me more. And that’s when I started reading and researching. I wanted to understand the different lesbians (although my gaydar for lesbians is, unfortunately, off), the different gay men, my transgender colleagues, and everyone who belonged to the same community (I am yet to meet a bisexual friend). Even the straight ones who identify themselves as friends of LGBT.
Gradually I learned that it’s not how you choose to dress, it’s the good you do that counts. Most LGBTs I know are the heads of their families. Or, at least, a steady provider.
I finished the entire L! Word series, I tried to watch a few episodes of Queer As Folk, didn’t shy away from top and bottom topics my friends throw during lunch breaks, and kept my eyes and heart open for other forms of love and relationships that take form in front of my very eyes.
And then I stumbled upon Shakira Sison and her articles at rappler.com (I’m forever thankful to rappler for a lot of things). And then her twitter account. And her ask.fm account. In these days, if you’re still uneducated about stuff you’ve always been curious about, I’d have to say, it’s your fault. A lot of information is out there. Conversations happen everywhere, every time (well, Thursday nights for LGBT convos in twitter)!
I’ve taken a turn for the better, if not for the best. I now have come to terms with my body parts. Yes, I still cross-dress, that’s hard to break. But I no longer wish for body parts that aren’t there. I still joke about them, but I no longer feel insecure, unimportant, and lacking, because I don’t have those.
When sexy was used to describe me in the past, I’d be ready to punch whoever. Now, going to the gym, dieting, and wearing the right size of shirts (my size is XS to S but I used to wear M and L shirts – eww!) mean more compliments from my partner.
I don’t wonder anymore how men like men, and how a beautiful sexy office mate is going out with an equally beautiful and sexy office mate. My world has expanded. It’s not just about the butches and their girls. It is all about everyone in the LGBT community.
Pictures from: flickriver.com, imdb.com, and fotosearch.com