Throughout my childhood, I often wondered how my life would be if only I were straight? Up until now, I still ask myself the very same questions I had when I was still a child. These questions are the very reasons why since my childhood, I questioned who I really am.
What if I am really a man, and do not just know how to be one? What if I was born as a woman, would I not suffer this way? Do I really have a woman’s soul in my manly body? Or am I just making things up? Were it all on my head? And the questions keep on getting weirder and weirder as my life gets harder and harder.
I was born and raised as a man, I guess that was the fate society has chosen for me. At first, I was fine living as the man I thought I was. But as soon as time took its natural course, I grew up questioning my identity. And with the passage of time comes the introduction to new things, and to new beginnings. I became uncomfortable conforming to the standards. And with that, I became uncomfortable in my very own body.
How I found out
The very first memory I had of being gay is way back in the year 2004. I can vividly remember dancing and enjoying myself as I groove to the then-famous song Jumbo Hotdog. It was performed by the Masculados, and in their music video, we followed their steps. It should not be of any harm, especially to kids our age back then. But for me, it was different. As it was a performance of our nursery class, all parents were all eyes on us. Some even took videos, and one of those was my late father.
In the video he took, you can hear him uttering remarks against me, his very own son, as I groove myself to the music.
“Wala na talaga itong batang ito! Tsk” (This kid has no chance at all! Tsk)
These were the exact words I can still remember him saying. It hurt at first, and it still hurts today. That is how his words left a scar on my heart. With that, growing up under his care was a nightmare. And from that day on until the day he died, I never knew if he accepted me for who I am. I just did not know. Maybe it is because I did not ask? But why would a four-year-old child ask that question to his father, though? One thing is for certain, he hated me for not being masculine enough.
How it progressed
Moving on, it was an unspoken rule for us children to play with toys meant for our sexes. Boys were supposed to play with toy guns, basketball, and any other activities that align with masculinity. And girls were supposed to play with barbie dolls, Chinese Garter, and even jackstones. And being the kid with an identity crisis, I tried playing both.
I found it very tiresome and boring playing the games meant for boys. I just did not feel anything while playing those at all. But it was different when I was playing with the other sexes. I always enjoyed myself around the presence of barbie dolls, and while playing jackstones with the girls. Not only did it give me enjoyment and satisfaction. That also gave me the very sense of belongingness I was longing for a long time ago. And with that, I think that maybe I have a woman’s soul trapped in my manly body.
Up until college, I was never able to dress the way I wanted to. Due to the fear that people might judge me for doing so. It was only when I turned 21 that I began courageous enough. Defying the machismo the society strictly upholds felt great. It sure did. After having the courage, I fought these long-overdue battles one at a time. And I am winning it all, not as a man but as a woman. That is how I found out I was not a man, but a woman at that.
How is it like having a woman’s soul trapped in a man’s body?
It was hard. It was never easy, to begin with. Society, even today, is not yet open to the idea of one’s gender identity, and sexuality. The very treatment of the general public of the LGBTQIA+ community is a manifestation of that.
Growing up as a woman trapped in a man’s body was a total nightmare. Dark senses of humor against us, the seemingly endless routine of everyone teasing us. The judgmental stares people throw at us, and the unfair treatment they give us. These things made our lives a living hell. Growing up with that kind of atmosphere, with that kind of treatment, made me not want to grow older. But it is inevitable, I know. I can not escape the fate society has chosen for me.
Nightmare, I think is still an understatement. As I grew up, I have been through worse, and so do the others. Simply because of our identity, leaning away from the dichotomy of man and woman.
Against all odds
The hardships I had growing up really molded me into someone I am today – a woman of courage. And this time, I choose my own fate. I would not let society choose it again for me. As it did not do me any good, at the very least.
Being a woman trapped in a man’s body is like a fish trapped in a terrarium. It felt inappropriate. It felt strange. And more to that, it felt wrong. In this country led by patriarchy, being a woman as it is was already hard. Let us not make it any harder for the others.
The fight is not over yet, we still got a long way to go. This pride month, we should celebrate with all people of different gender identities and orientations. And in that included is a woman’s soul trapped in a man’s body.
Public speaking was never really a strong suit of Ralph Allen. Hence, she pursued Journalism as her Undergraduate Degree Program. Aside from her love of writing, she is a volleyball player and a diehard fan of Taylor Swift. Despite her fear of talking in public, she believes that through writing, she can "comeback stronger than a '90s trend."