By Val Amiel Vestil
Do you wake up every day with the searing thought that nobody loved you?
RJ does—he wakes up with that thought every single day.
You might have seen a relatively tall and skinny guy with dark hazel barber’s cut hair, walking around on campus with his, yes, 6-inch black heels, shorts that are never afraid to show too much, and undoubtedly noticeable make-up decorated all over his face. When not clad in all-white, this guy who might have caught your attention is a former dormer whose name this story begs to be withheld. Let’s call him “RJ.” This is the story behind the make-up.
Discovering that he had a liking for the same sex when he was just four years old, RJ dreams only of living a life that is founded on genuine happiness – a kind of happiness that, according to him, is impossible to get given the fact that he is homosexual.
RJ’s frustrations on his sexuality was highlighted when he developed a phobia during his freshman year in high school. He fell in love with a guy who, at the end of the day, betrayed him, made fun of him, and eventually let his own friends turn his back against him. From then on, RJ has developed a fear of men, scared that what happened to him might happen again.
During his sophomore year, he finally opened up to his mom about being gay. Growing up in a very religious Protestant family, of course this was not immediately accepted.
“My parents made me go through several psychotherapy sessions to prove if I was really gay or not,” RJ said. After finding out, his parents comforted him but didn’t necessarily accept him. “They forced me to be straight,” he added,
“because they said it’s against God’s will.”
“Wala najud koy mabuhat ani,” RJ said
as he recalled that he heard his parents crying one night. Moreover, RJ still respects his parents by wearing less feminine clothes and getting rid of all the make-up in his secret stash.
Media has reinforced the perception of gay job stereotypes as either beauticians, fashion gurus, musical/theater buffs, or many others down the line. However, RJ doesn’t want to be stereotyped in that sense saying:
“I’m not into beauty pageants and I don’t want to be specifically involved sa clothing technology. Kay if you’re gay man gud, it doesn’t mean you have to act like the stereotyped gay. Act like a girl!”
Gay marriage is okay, but according to RJ, being in a boy-girl relationship is much more different, that’s why he wants to undergo a sex change operation in the near future.
“I haven’t told my parents yet kay dili pa lang nila ma-keri!” RJ said:
“Let’s admit it, straight guys will not like gay guys 100%! It’s either the guy who loves you is bisexual or gay. Real, straight guys prefer transgenders. So, diba, why not?”
RJ says that the rationale behind wanting to be a transgender is based on the fact that he wanted genuine happiness in love. He believes that being gay has stopped him to get genuine happiness. “No one loves me because I’m gay. No one loves me. Gabalik-balik jud nas akong utok.
Rejection. Lahi ang love sa friend ug sa intimate relationship. How I wish nga babayi ko.”
He adds: “Lain sad kaayo, I was born alone and I will die alone. So I will try [the sex change] kay at least confident pud ko sa akong self, bisag dili swerte sa love-love.”
But at the end of the day, amid all the crisis surrounding him, RJ still runs to Lady Gaga for inspiration. Listening to her music has taught him to never be afraid.
“Ngano man nimo i-hide imong self?
Fight for your right. Human being ra gihapon ka. If you know nga wala kay ginahimo nga bad then okay rana,” RJ says, “Be who you are. Express yourself!”
RJ also wants to send out to all gay men that they should know their limitations. According to him, this would also help to break the stigma for gay men: sex for pay. “Having sex is not about satisfaction and pleasure. It’s about love. If you love someone and he loves you back, mao na siya ang sex.”
Truly, all he longs for are genuine happiness and true love. Despite the bullying, despite the rejection, despite having the need to look like a woman, and despite trying to keep his own head up, one question RJ asks himself every day is when he could find true love given his circumstance, a situation that speaks for so many people to this very day.
Maybe all that RJ needs to remember is one thing a friend whom he fell in love with said: “Remove your make up J, because someone will love you for who you are.”