By Gabrielle Diolata Payla
It was a terribly hot summer. A bottle of Coke was not enough to quench my thirst, while sitting under a shady acacia tree trying to construct some answers to the questions that kept on haunting me. What’s wrong with being a ladyboy? Everybody’s telling me that I’ve changed a lot. Is it because I am fond of using gay lingo from morning till night? Or is it because I joined a certain LGBT community? My relatives and friends kept on reprimanding me, they wanted me to go back to my old self. But then, I asked myself: “Where were they when I needed them the most? Where were they during my desperate moments?”
I remembered back to my early childhood. I am not ashamed to say that I was born to this valley of tears with no silver spoon. Just like my older sister, I haven’t seen my biological father since birth. In simplest terms, nobody provided a father figure to me.
Despite this unwanted chapter of my life, however, any kind of regret was invisible on my face. I was raised by my mother wonderfully, even though she was a single mom. She lovingly taught me to fear our Almighty God more than anything else. She patiently brought me to church every Sunday. Who says that I am a non- Bible-believing Christian?
From a private school owned and managed by our pastor, I transferred to a public school for my high school days. When I was in my sophomore year, however, something strange happened regarding my personality which I could not comprehend. It’s not just that my voice changed, new hair started to grow, and inevitable pimples began to appear. I loved to mingle with my girl classmates, rather than the boys. I loved to be with them most of the time. In fact, I experienced a secret crush on a boy classmate. Before I knew it, it was the very beginning of my transition period regarding my gender identity.
After I finished high school, my mom told me to stop school for a while. She went to Manila to work. I was left all alone under the custody of my sister, who already had a family of her own. Mind you, she was shocked a little bit when I decided to come out from my closet. But then, it seemed that I was freed finally from a prison for men.
Sadly, most of my relatives rejected me upon knowing that I was gay. They shunned me as if I was suffering from leprosy. They even denied that I was part of the family. The harmonious relationship between my sister and I was sabotaged because of them. I felt I was an outcast. Their bad attitude toward me made me decide to live with another ladyboy in the city, who accepted me for who I am. Also, she persuaded her parents to let me work at the grocery store owned by them. (I was quite envious to witness how my friend Devie was treated by her parents and relatives, despite being a ladyboy.)
At Devie’s house, I learned so many things. She taught me the correct fashion. She was an excellent teacher and a mentor, especially about the question-and-answer portion of a typical gay beauty pageant. The fact is, I’ve won several times as Miss Gay Barangay in several neighboring cities. And I’d like to borrow the famous line of Miss Universe, Pia Wurtzbach: “I am confidently beautiful with a heart.”
Recently, I came to know a German guy through the internet. I told him everything about me, particularly of being a ladyboy. To make the story short, we developed a long-distance relationship. Surprisingly, he once paid me a visit here in our country. I was not able to resist when he offered to help me financially. However, our relationship lasted only for a year, because our communication stopped. I didn’t know the reason why.
Right now, I am living independently. I am renting a small room in a house near the grocery store where I am working. My mom and my sister come to my place more often. Maybe they have come to realize that I’m not a total menace to my family and society. I am enjoying all the freedom of being a ladyboy. Even though I don’t have a love life as of this writing... yeah, I am very happy. Hopefully, I am waiting for Mr. Right to come at the very perfect time. Above all, nobody can stop me from living as a ladyboy. I will and I can!