08 March 2013

Will the real slim leafy please stand up, please stand up?

This was an interesting day for me, especially night. I met up with a longtime colleague who knew me way back in 2001. She said 12 years, was it, when we last saw each other, or maybe worked closely? Deymmmmmm that's a mighty long time!

But within those 12 years, a lot of evolution also happened -- with me. This colleague of mine -- she of the slightly older generation of butch/andro lesbians -- is also quite in mild shock maybe of my evolution over the years. "Ang girl niyan dati, eh" she told her younger girlfriend who was with us over dinner. And I was just laughing my butt off at the thought of this so-called evolution of mine.

But come to think of it, it really amuses me how much I've changed over the years. I also don't know why, how, where it came from, what triggered it, whatever. Call it evolution, but my gender self-presentation has actually confounded many a soul over the years. It really amuses me to think about it, but it also makes me wonder what the heck really happened! Your guess is as good as mine.

To illustrate, I tripped on walking back down my own memory lane. Imagine I looked like this when I first "transitioned" from being straight to being a lesbian -- no in-betweens, no closets, no bi-curious first moments -- before I turned 25 years old.

Baguio 1997, pare. A lot of firsts happened that year. 
Particularly, the first time I had a relationship with a woman. 
And the rest, as they say, is history. 
Bakla, nagkikilay, mok-ap at lipstick pa ko nyan! 
Astig na femme lang ang peg ko noh.

Then of course the 2000s happened, and many life changes happened as well. Got partnered up, got my heart broken, went single a bit, partnered again, and so on and so forth. The transitions from relationship to relationship also brought about small transitions in my gender self-presentation. It's the hairlalu talaga teh, as you can see.

Maybe 2004 or 2005? When I went fresh into directing 
for GMA7, this is how I looked. Pa-gurl ang peg.

Of course I was already experimenting on cutting the hair na lang. But along with it came some cutting of other things as well. Little did I know that I was also cutting out an identity that was originally assigned to me when I first came out -- being femme. Hell yeah, lipstick dyke lola mo noh. 

Transition pero pa-gurl pa rin ang peg, lalo na when they put 
mok-ap on me here and some bekis made kulot my hairlalu 
for a magazine photoshoot. Yuhhhh I was once a mowdel. 
For one afternoon and one magazine spread only hihi. 
[2005 Raymond Isaac's studio]

All of the gfs I've had were all on the feminine side even if they didn't identify as femme. While most of them were okay with the fact that we were kinda femme-to-femme (because most of them were closeted and hence our relationship was disguised well), they didn't overtly identify as femme themselves. In short, wala kasi sa amin yung butch-femme. Basta girl ka at type mo girl din, patok! Kaya I could safely say na hindi talaga ako napasok sa obvious na butch-femme relationship teh. Pero marami akong friends na butch-femme ang hitsura pero hindi sila talagang nagle-label na "butch-femme kami" yung ganun.

Mid to late 2000s na ang transitioning ng hairlalu.

Pero ayun na nga, over the years, especially after 2005 when I first started labeling myself as queer, medyo umiba na lola mo. Ewan ko talaga kung bakit, pero kung saan lang ako komportable sa porma, dun lang ako pumunta. Nagkataon na medyo masculine, kaya ayun, nag-transition lola mo.

Factor din kaya yung wala akong naging jowa na kikay-fashionista moda, yung dumadamit japorms a la Sex and the City ang peg, eh ako kasi may point sa buhay ko na gumanun ako (nung straight pa nga lula mu). Saka kaya ako nagma-masculine clothes is also to break that stereotype ek na bakit laging kelangang feminine ang girls manamit? We can also look sexy in men's clothes at yun lang naman ang peg ko.

 Pride March 2010. Iconic semi-butchy feel. Tatt virgin pa.

But no, nang nag-transition na nga lola mo, parang naging butchier ang peg ng look. Na sa akin, hindi naman isyu kasi nga queer ako, hindi ako butch. Sa Pinas kasi, kadalasan 'pag sinabing butch, may macho mentality na gustong maging man 'yun, pero marami rin akong friends na butch lang itsura pero hindi gusto maging man at hindi macho. Yun ang peg ko ng pagiging masculine na lesbian. Kaya sori kung mapanghusga ang dating pag sinasabi kong di ako butch, pero yun lang naman pinanggagalingan nun.

Payatollah khomeini lola mo! And I didn't know that 
someone took this photo of me. Only when I was tagged 
by a friend did I happen upon this pic. Ang benta ko pala nun hahaha!

Heniweyzzzz ayun na nga, natawa lang ako sa sarili ko kanina kasi takang-taka yung kakilala ko. Siya kasi hindi nagbago, parang andro type na butchy ang dating, for 12 years. Ang lola mo? Waley! Ayan! Kita naman sa pektyurz devah. Evolution kung evolution teh! Ano'ng sinabi ni Darwin diyan sa species na yan??? Charaught.

And here we are today. Taken earlier, 
for International Women's Day. Bakit fafa peg.

Ewan. Natawa lang ako. Also wanted to share these insights kasi I'm curious if you have comments. Life is a never-ending process of receiving feedback naman kasi, kaya curious lang ako.  


  1. "Sa Pinas kasi, kadalasan 'pag sinabing butch, may macho mentality na gustong maging man 'yun..." SO TRUE. OMG. And it was really fun reading this entry. Salamat for sharing this insight, kasi nga naman para maintindihan ng mga tao na minsan ang transitioning eh hindi naman in an instant lang na tipong "ay may girlfriend ka, bakit girly ka pa din? (like wth kuya O.O)" at hindi din naman lahat ng relasyon eh may 'butch-femme' na label. :B

    1. Tru ka jan teh. Salamat sa pagbabasa at lalo na sa pagkomento! :)

  2. Naaliw ako Ms. Libay. Ms. Libay talaga. I'll wait for the day na bumalik ka sa pagiging saya maria clara peg to complete the cycle. -- glendale

    1. Mag-tangga ako sa beach bakla, u want? Tara mag-summer outing tayo ng tropa at ipapakita ko senyo ang curvaceous femme curves ko wahahahhahaha. Ms. Ms. ka jan. :P

  3. aliw magbasa ng posts mo. nakakarelate din ako sa labeling na yan.
    funny how i found your blog tho, through this tin bersola babao issue pa. then ayun can't stop reading your posts na. haha. may naalala din ako sa way ng pagsulat mo. i can see that you're very articulate din.. kaya ayun... nyway, keep on writing! :)

    1. thanks for reading. sino yung naalala mo sa writing ko? curious hehe.

  4. Replies
    1. may ganung factor teh? aba interesting. ibig sabihin marami ring nagsusulat na iba. any links out there i can read? pa-share naman o. naghahanap ako ng iba pang writers for a project kasi. :)

  5. Proud to say I knew you during your lipstick days :) Punyetang lipstick application using your car's sun visor mirror. Chos.

  6. i find u much HOTTER & SEXIER as semi-butch p hehe