Last Tuesday, 24th September i met Maki, after interviewing Dindi previously she hooked me up with Maki, who i've stumble across her website and videos before, she and her boyfriend are running an online dating site for transwomen called myladyboydate . com because there's a lacking of website that have decent dating site for transwomen besides most of the ones available are mostly for sexwork. For me she's like Kevin Balot, a very pretty, petite and very passable Philippines transwoman. Eventhough she's not directly doing activisim and advocacy but i think she's indirectly are already doing it via her videos.
S: So Maki, can you introduce yourself?
M: Hi my name is Maki and i work as a digital marketing for an online dating side together with my boyfriend, i use to work as a customer service representative for 4 years, i took a psychology before and unfortunately was not able to finish it and I'm from the Philippines, originally from Cebu city.
S:When do you realize you're different? (roughly at what age?)
M:I learn that, when i had a crush with a boy when i was 7 years old, i feel different, if you know spice girls, every time i hear it i just want to get the blanket and then dance thats what i want to do, and then because my mother is a single parent, she doesn't have a husband and all my uncles, my cousins, they're all men in the house so they did not expect that i would become like this, i will be soft and i will be gentle so they prohibit me from doing such thing so what i do is i lock the door in my room and then i put the volume very low and then dance myself, thats when i learn and i dream that i will be a girl, i will be having a long hair in the future, i will wear tight jeans and tight shirts so that was the moment i feel like i will become a woman someday.
S: Do you do something about it? (tell your parents/dress up secretly etc)
M: I do that, i did not tell me parents, but i show it in a way of my dress and actions, 1st i was in denial i was keeping it to myself because i know i will be happy if i will be wearing woman's stuff and i will be a woman fully but the society scares me, because i don't want to be bullied, i did not want people to dislike me, so i keep it to myself and pretend to be a man. But when i reach college i was a student council and learn about human rights about diversity so thats when i started to showing and spreading my wings like a butterfly. First i cannot forget, the first thing i did was pluck my eyebrows to make my eyebrows supergood, and then i started to wear skinny jeans, i started to wear fitted blouses and then wearing shoulder pad, so at that time my mother, my parents, already knew and they say nothing
S: They don't feel angry or straight away they accepted you?
M:What so unique about my situation is that, even if our family is so big, my mother is disabled, so its just me and her.so what matters most is that she accepted me for who i am and thats starts from there.
S: At what age do you take the hormone pills?
M: The first hormone that i had was when i was 18 and i learn it form my friends actually, friends who started taking hormones as well which is very lucky, so i learn form them, just hormones actually, and then when i join pageant, and then i research more, Nom Poi, Kevin Balot, and i say oh they're so beautiful, i need to do injections hahaha, so when i was 21, i started doing injections
S: Do you feel the need to go for surgery? (SRS,FFS,Breast Augmentation?)
S: Facial Feminization Surgery
S: but you already so feminine
M: haha i don't know but I'm still on a research, breast implant , yes, its for medical reason, because my doctor said that if i keep on doing hormones, we have chances of breast cancer, so i am prone to it. I will do breast implant, it has a lesser possibility, so i need to do that but i dont know when. Sexual Reassignment Surgery, I'm open it but so far I'm still comfortable.
S: If yes, When/Where you will do your SRS/FFS/Breast Augmentation?)
S: I heard theres a local doctor here who do SRS as well right?
M: i think i go for Thailand, its cheaper and i think its prettier,
S: Yes. because they ahem a long record of history
M: Yes hehe
S: How do you feel about religion view on transgender people?
S: Like you're Catholic right?
M:Yes Im Catholic, ,my view regardless of religion,especially for Roman Catholic its quite hypocrite
S: Its very strict right?
M: its very strict, its very ironic, because… well I'm not trying to put gods name in vein but then its like usually they say about love, equality, but they tend to set aside transwomen, they did not accept transwomen, and me personally i go to church every Sunday, and i did not feel fear, that i go to church on sunday because its not because of the people that i go, its not because the priests that i go, because its my god that i visit but religion is made by people and people are throne who are judging transpeople and i think that because of this they see transwomen as evil, deviation, and i see that its not the religion itself but its the people who created the religion
S: How do you feel about your government and its treatment on transgender people?
M: Actually i feel its not very well treated in a way that our rights as transwomen are still not addressed, i cannot blame the Philippino government because of all the things going on, economics, agriculture, i think they do not have enough time to dwell on the transwomen's rights but i think it is possible for people i mean for the government to address one very important right and that is not to be discriminated. And i think thats just so very easy, submitting a law, thats just what i want and this is not taken are of by our government.
S: Do you think its important for transgender people to get together in a group/form a group to help the community and each other
M: Yes, its very important for me because if either you call yourself a ladyboy, she male, transgender women, transmen, we are still in one community, and its us who willing to help each other and proof to the whole world, that our community is strong, even if our community is complicated because there are transgender whole like transgender, there are transgenders who like biological men, still we are a unique, we still need to help each other, if there an NGO that would make this very unique organization, or community we can show to the public that we can show to our community that we are not just a minority, we are a majority
S: What is Transgender 101 ? Have you heard about it?
M: You know what, i heard Trans101 through our organization in Cebu, thats 'COLOURS' and thats led by Magda, but she's in Cebu but so far its good, what i heard about trans101 i just siad'OMG" please, I'm a woman period, whatever between my legs, its not your concern. I'm a woman thats it.
But what i heard about Trans101 is that i need to have 1 year, so that i can understand everything. Because of the dating side actually, it helps to understand and i can see that Trans101 from the Western part, its from the United States, i think thats where it comes from, and i like the idea of Trans101 but i would like to make it simple, i know its not easy, but my vision is to make it simple for the public to understand, thats what i want.
Trans101 is helpful for the transgenders to understand themselves, to understand their identity, but it depends on culture because you see here in the Philippines its common that a transgender wanted to be with the man. They feel themselves that they're the women, its very rare that you see transgender from Asia who are also interested with other transgenders. They are but very few.
S: because our own community will say something ..
M: true, thats very difficult, so i think it helps to be educated and understand how complicated we are.
S: I totally understand that
M: Agree, hehe
S: Do you know what SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) and Yogyakarta Principle?
M: I heard about SOGI but I'm not knowledgeable about it
S: What about Yogyakarta Principle?
M:No i haven't heard about…
S:Yogyakarta Principle, actually this is like human rights but in a frame of SOGI (Sexual orientation and gender identity)
S: yeah , but not many country implement this
M: I have to research it, I'm not so familiar with it, i heard boat SOGI, thats the reason that Dindi wanted to invite me and i would love to go, also that i will understand more about this, but right now I'm not so sure
S: Do you think there will be change in the society towards transgender people in this country?
M: I think there is, i believe there is, because although its a conservative country, its a Roman Catholic country, i believe that Philippino people are not one-sided people, they see beyond, and they see the reality, they're not close minded, its just that its mostly a taboo, but what is good thing about Philippino community is that they, they are open to pageants of transponders..
S: Its like a tradition here
M:Its like a tradition, and when it comes to pageant of transgenders, they appreciate transwomen, they appreciate their beauty, intelligent, their body, their appreciate everything, although they re some cases of transgender ourselves making fun of ourselves.
M: Its really bad, but we can't help it.
S: There are such person in every country..
M: Yes, another gender also doing that, but our situation is just very critical, because i believe if you're transgender i believe you don't have room for mistakes, and that every bad. thats very difficult for us but with the Philippino community they see the essence of being a transgender. I think the Philippino community is growing into a way that they will be more open minded and at the same time respectful, i think thats what matters most, i don't care what you are, i don't care who you are, i respect you just don't do anything to me. I think thats what were heading to.
S: yup , thats good,..
S: What is Bakla? and the relationship with the transwomen here?
You know what i think Dindi is correct, i think very cultural, long before here in the Philippines, we did not know what is trangender
S: because people around lumsum everything right, effeminate men, gay men, transwomen,….
M: Yesss… no wonder the word ladyboy came from Thailand, because Thailand said I'm a lady but I'm a boy,
M: see but here in the Philippines is also different, its Bakla, in St. Guana its Bayot,
M: Yes, its very different,
S: is it insulting?
M: for me its insulting, i don't consider myself as a Bakla or Bayot, because Bakla and Bayot is for the gayguys ansi don't think I'm a gay guy,
M: If somebody say I'm a Bakla, i would say excuse me, are you asking the right question or not? Beacause this is also one of my goal, because they are some transwomen in the Philippines consider themselves as Bakla, and i don like that, i mean its not that i hate them because there using it, its because its lack of education, so this is the problem here, if the transwomen merely are not well educated and use the word Bakla, technically the general public will use it. Because they see me saying I'm a Bakla, so they will take that "Oh you're a Bakla" but if you're saying I'm a transgender or I'm a transwomen, then they will say ok you're a transwomen, but tis very cultural but if culture is made by people, i think we can also break the culture,
S: thats good
S: What do you hope to achieve for yourself & the rest of the transcommunity in this country?
M: I wanna be like Kevin Balot, hahaha, i wanna join the international hahahahaa…
S: i think you have a big chance to win, you re so pretty, i mean like yea, even Kevin also using the wrong term, on national television, i mean before i came here i was in Malaysia, i was quite shock, she admitted she's a homosexual and a gay, yea maybe she haven't heard the word trans yet
M: maybe she lacks of education, i also admit the facts that she was using it
S: on national tv,
M: on public television
S: and its on youtube everywhere
M: and its like OMG please, lets erase thissss, and technically the whole Philippino community gay because of whats going on, I'm not friends with Kevin Balot, but were friends on Facebook but i don't want to say don't use the word, you know
S: she's already up there
M: she's already there, we don't want to mess up so its very sad, and I'm really glad you're brought that up because thats the only thing thats in my mind, i mean she already had done SRS
S: is she?
M: yes, it was on her instagram, its done, and its also on her Facebook,
S: because i remember i watch her youtube video, she said maybe next year, maybe its an old video…
M: aaa i think right after miss international queen she and it,
M: few months after she had it, so thats why i feel so sad
S: yo dont have to feels o sad????
M: you have your vagina, you should say you're a womaaaaaan,.
S:I think each of us have our way, we will achieve that sooner or later
S: because i myself want that since i was young
S: Any message or last words?
M: I think what i wanted to say not to the public, but to our transwomen community, first we need to accept who we are, at the same time we need to accept our fellow transwomen even if they want to call themselves gay or bakla
M:ahaha even if they want to call themselves she-male or lady boy, we need to accept that, we do not need to get rid of them because they're not using the right word however part of accepting is educating whats the right word, because if we educate them and become one, we ail have one goal and that is to be accepted, respected and be loved and if we accept ourselves with all the diversity of whats going on in our own community its easier for us to le people understand us, let the general public accept us for who we are. I think that's it.
S: :) thank you so much Maki
M: Thank youuuuu Shieko
Here's her latest video: