On Gender Expression

I just recently helped organize an event in our company in celebration of June Pride – a SOGIE 101 session. And in that event, I also was one of the speakers and I was assigned to talk about GENDER EXPRESSION.

Gender Expression, as we know, is the 3rd part of SOGIE. And just to emphasize, let me state the meaning of that here: Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression.

Being the novice public speaker that I am, I tried to write what I was going to say about this topic in the hopes of delivering a powerful speech to the audience. But, alas, it only proves that, perhaps, I’m really more of a writer than a speaker. Not that it will ever stop be from speaking about topics that I strongly believe anyway.

So, I’ve already delivered this “speech” (though I will be delivering it again in 2 weeks) and I was looking at my notes and thought it would be such a wasted to let what I wrote about Gender Expression just rot in my Evernote files. So here goes, ~

Hi I’m S. My Sexual Orientation is Lesbian, I identify as Genderqueer and I’m here to talk to you about Gender Expression. If Sexual Orientation is who to go to bed with and Gender Identity is who you go to bed as, then Gender Expression is how you are in every waking moment of everyday.

Gender Expression is: what you look like – your clothes, your hair; your mannerisms, facial expression, your voice, they way you talk, your language… pretty everything you seem to the outside world.

Like the other two, Gender Expression is also a spectrum. Each and every one of us has a certain level of masculinity and femininity in our personalities and the way we express ourselves in our daily lives.

Some may have more of one spectrum than the other(cisgenders), some may have both or equal levels while for some (androgynous), these two spectrums change on a day to day basis (Genderfluid).

Gender Expression doesn’t mean that if you are gay you have to act a certain way, it doesn’t mean that you have to always be loud and proud and wear your rainbow colored heart on your sleeve. It only means that you let what’s on the inside flow on the outside and not be held down by other people’s perceptions.

Why is this important?

Imagine a person – a gay person who chooses to cover parts of his personality so as not to reveal their SO or GI – out fear of being judged or ridiculed or prejudiced. Imagine what that person’s day to day would be like. He would probably we spending more time than he should in choosing what to wear, how to modulate his voice, watch his language and do all things that are pretty much synthetic and is not really coming out from what within him.

All that time and energy wasted in covering up a part (an important part) of who he is – wasted. just to pass as normal or not to attract too much unwanted attention from other people.

Now, imagine a person – a gay person who is ruled by such restrictions. He wakes up, prepares for work, throws on his clothes and he’s out the door. He goes about his day as himself without a care in the world, of whether what he’s doing might be disagreeable to other people. And because of that, he has more time and energy that he can dedicate to discovering and living up to his full potential.

So, if you ever wonder again why some people do what they do – Why do they have to be so loud? Why do they have to dress that way knowing that it’s going to cause ridicule or it’s just making it more difficult for them… think about that first person. Think about the inner struggles that that person goes through day after day and how much disadvantage that may cause to fulfilling his dreams. Every one deserves a fair chance in succeeding in life and that is what equality means. “

Cheers,

S
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Random Sunday bonding time!

I always look forward to weekends. Even if it means just bumming around in bed at home. Actually, that’s the definition of a best weekend for me. Just the four of us, lying lazily in bed in front of the TV. Everyone might be doing their own thing- K would probably be drawing or browsing in her phone, the little queen playing with her toys all over the place, Hurricane would probably be playing minecraft in his tablet while glancing occasionally at the tv while I am probably snoozing, but the important thing is that we’re all together.

But when we do go out, we usually end up going to the mall. Here’s clip of how we usually spend a weekend out of the house. You’ll notice that there’s a certain place in the mall that we always like to go and have fun in – both children and the adults.

Always make the most of your weekends!

Cheers, S.

Counting the days before a new year…

I honestly feel jittery over excitement. In a few days, I will be turning thirty-ish. Ha! I am semi-proud of my age because I am self-proclaiming that I don’t look like one!

Kidding aside, birthdays have always been uneasy for me. Probably because I bombard myself with massive self-expectations and life reflections. I tend to be on a spiral breakdown every time my birthday is a peek away.

Please don’t judge me for not being thankful for another year. I actually am. I am up for more adventures to come. Being in a series of wakes this year reiterated the fact that life is too short so might as well enjoy it whilst it lasts.

I guess I am just being cynical sometimes. It’s that other side of me which serves as a gravitational pull to reality.

But hey, it’s a new year and there is still another happy side that believes in new breakthroughs, new hopes, new phase, new beginnings, new life. I have so much faith in the Creator that I know He will continue to work on me – to make the best out of me.

Another chapter is about to unravel in a few days…

And before anything else, please let me tell you this:

As a late-bloomer, I really appreciate the fact that I have more support than what I could have had if I decided to be out in my earlier years. I guess now is the right time for me. I found the perfect woman, got beautiful and loving children, received support from my Mum and maternal family (although it somehow remains unspoken of in the household) and most of all, I get to meet more inspiring queers both personally and online. Being out has been one of the bravest decisions I have had in my life and I want to personally thank you, my readers, for being one of those people who made this easier for me – amidst the societal judgements.
I am truly grateful for having you as part of my life. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Acceptance is the First Step.

In a world full of prejudice and judgements, being a lesbian mom has been a constant struggle. There will always be social stigma, whether recognized or not. Getting used to the odd stares, the second look, the puzzled faces and the raised eyebrows took time – ’twas actaully longer than expected.

I “came out” around 2 years ago and friends – most especially LUGs (Lesbians Until Graduation)- seemed to not understand who I am right now. They’d think that this is merely a phase like what had happened to them in the past. It is simply an illusion, they emphasize. There were some hopes that I’d get back to my “heterosexual self ” and live a so-called “normal” life. Some even believed that my faith was not strong enough that I gave in to what God has “not” planned for me.Image I know for a fact that I am a well-rounded person and I have not lost faith on my Creator.

Sadly, I did that most of my life.  Was hiding in a closet – confused and had no one to talk to about how it is being gay. It seemed like I was in a box of restrictions, trying not to even entertain “gay thoughts”. I have had major crushes on women (Angelina Jolie tops my list *wide grin*) but it stops there. I thought that lesbianism is merely a state of mind that can easily be changed and liking women is not more than admiration. I even have had 2 lady “suitors” back in college but did not entertain them because of fear. I had to, simply because I want to be accepted, to be loved.

Don’t get me wrong. My Mom loves me so much and so did my Dad (God bless his soul). But being gay is utterly different.

There is a certain level of tolerance a parent has to meet in accepting a gay child of who he or she is.

Why do I know this? Because I am a parent myself. I have learned throughout this maternal journey that major adjustments are needed to accept who your child really is. In my opinion, it will be a lie if parents do not have expectations of their children. Acceptance of meeting that expectation and having a different outcome is a challenge in itself. What more when having a gay child?

Now that I am already grown with a lovely partner and 2 beautiful children, I suppose my Mom accepted me. Not entirely, but the support is there.

I think what really helped is my self-acceptance. I owe it to God and my partner. He gave me her  and she helped me go through this journey of acceptance and self-love. She taught me lessons about what reality offers us. It is indeed a matter of choice. That choice of accepting who you are over what society expect you to be.

Now, I want to impart this to our children and our family. Acceptance has played a major role in our lives. The fact that my eldest son accepted me of who I am is one of the most amazing things that had happened in my life. I am praying that I could do the same for him and for our daughter too.

Having a great support system is a big plus. They boost you up simply because they believe in you. And I am just so grateful I have that.

Acceptance is not merely approval. It entails consent, agreement, admission. With acceptance, faith follows. A strong belief that one can make things happen. No matter who you are.

And honestly, if I haven’t accepted myself, I should’ve merely existed in a lie.

Hospital Papers for an Expecting Lesbian Couple

Domestic partnership as a lesbian couple is not recognized in the Philippines. Pursuing it takes a lot of documentation (and guts) to ensure that your loving partner is “legal” to support you no matter what. For instance, in childbirth, the State does not recognize a gay partner as your spouse or a parent to your little bundle of joy.

During my pregnancy, I scavenge through the ins and outs of the world wide web. I came across a potential document that can back us up in authorizing my partner in any medical decisions should the need arises. I am referring to a Medical Power of Attorney. I just had to make sure that everything is stated there and the parameters of her decisions and mine. Of course we had to sit down and discuss on the validity, the conditions of where my organs can be donated to in case I don’t come out alive from the operating room, and even having my partner as the direct person to be informed of in any medical procedures and decisions. We had this notarized to ensure that this is legal.

On top of that, we had to prepare the usual Philhealth documents before admission to the hospital, such as:

1. CF1 – to be completed and is available from the Human Resources Department.

2. MDR (Member Data Record) – this can be requested from Philhealth directly or this can be processed by HR.

3. Certificate of Contribution – this should at least be 9 months of contribution, also provided by HR.

It is relatively easier if one’s employed given that this is done ahead of time.

Geared up with these and everything’s a breeze.