This will be the first post in our “Q & A” series. We will be interviewing various transgenders which we are in contact with, or whom is in contact with our team. Transgenders in the Philippines are known as “Baklas”.
Our first interviewee is Nadine from the Philippines. We got introduced to her by a good friend, who is a French expat living in Cebu, Philippines.
Q: Please introduce yourself, tell us about your age, and what city you currently reside in, and what city you are born.
My name is Nadine, I am age 27, born in Cebu City, currently live mostly in Manila.
Q: Tell us a bit about your childhood, how it was growing up in Cebu, and a bit about your family life
My childhood was normal for a Filipino family. We had a huge family, I have 4 sisters, and 2 brothers. Many uncles, aunts and cousins. My dad was a truck driver, and my mother was a stay at home mom, but she helped out with my uncles sari-sari(convenience store) store in the main city.
You probably know, us Filipinos are very family oriented. We had lots of people over all the time. It was mostly good memories, but financially we did struggle many times. Many mouths to feed!
Q: At what age did you understand that you are a transgender or “Bakla”
To be honest, I felt it before I understood it. Growing up I didn’t like girls like the other boys around me did. My older brothers were girls chasing, and I was always shy. I didn’t like girls. I always felt attraction for men, even from a very early age. As I got older It was clear that I was different than other men. That is the beginning of the time I began to understand it. But if you want to know the truth, even to this day it is hard to fully understand it. I have no choice in the matter.
Q: How did you tell your family, or how did your family handle the fact that your a transgender
This was very hard at first. My father is a traditional type of man, including his brothers, which are my uncles. I told my parents around the age of 10 about this truth of me being a Bakla. My mother was confused at first, but eventually was OK. But my father was not happy at all. After this situation he was more aggressive to me. Even slapped me. He could accept his son having attraction for same gender.
It was very hard for me, eventually some of the neighborhood people even treated me different. I am actually lucky that in the Philippines there is lots of transgender or “Baklas”. I can only imagine how hard this can be in other countries, and my heart goes out to other transgender women in strict countries.