Beaming with pride: 5 stories of hope from the queer community

This Pride Month, we compiled inspiring stories of our brothers and sisters from the LGBTQIA+ community.

MANILA, Philippines — Exactly 30 years ago, the Philippines held its first Pride March Parade in Quezon City, marking the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in the US in June 1969. Despite this milestone, the queer community in our country has struggled for acceptance and equality.

This Pride Month, we compiled inspiring stories of our brothers and sisters from the LGBTQIA+ community to learn about their stories of living authentically and fighting for their rights. After all, gay rights are human rights.

Atty. Charm Tan: Be your own inspiration

Quezon Province-based litigation lawyer Atty. Charm Tan confided that growing up as a lesbian, she thought she had to act like a man, cross-dress and get a short haircut. Only during college did she learn that lesbians, too, have different gender preferences.

This led to her path toward self-acceptance. “So far, my self-acceptance (of my own gender preference) created a world that reciprocates acceptance, too. I can definitely feel that I am more accepted easily now than before. Be your own inspiration.”

She’s also thankful for the strong support system of her family and people who genuinely love her.

Finally, she reminds everyone that “it is essential to understand and acknowledge the importance of equality and acceptance to build a better world where everyone is treated fairly and with respect, regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion or any other personal characteristic. We are all human beings after all.”

Ian Lising: To live without doubt

Ian Lising, 30, a gaming enthusiast and a media company employee, has embarked on his transition journey as a transman with the proper guidance of his endocrinologist, as well friends who are also taking testosterone.

But even before this, he was married. “I was married to a gay. We were one of those gay-les marriages who proudly took the chance that it could work.”

“Unfortunately, the marriage lasted for three years only and it did not work for certain circumstances. After the break up, that’s when I realized I want to be with a woman because I am a man.”

And so he transitioned. However, he struggled in the beginning because his family was not aware. But he gathered courage to tell his mom.

“Contrary to what I was thinking, she understood and accepted me. Naintindihan niya nang buong-buo. There were days na siya pa nag-administer or nag-inject sa akin to show her support of me being a transman.”

“I want to be accepted and live equally like any other people without judgment and discrimination and to live without doubts and questions,” he proudly stated.

Victor “Hecktor” Baluyot: The dream of having a family

Victor “Hecktor” Baluyot, owner of Hecktor’s Salon, has always dreamt of having a family someday.  He shared that “as a bisexual, you have to be real with yourself para maging katanggap-tanggap ka din sa pagmamahal ng isang babae.

He found this in Ariza, whom he met through his best friend. “We started talking via Messenger app, so it was a long-distance relationship (LDR), and then decided to meet in person last 2019,” he recounted.

The rest, as they say, was history. He and his wife Ariza are now happily married with two kids who are his source of joy and inspiration. 

“You have to be a role model in your community, and stand for who you are para galangin ka ng mga tao,” Hecktor shared.

Edward Que and Armel Inguanzo: 'Passion for food brought us together'

For entrepreneur couple Edward, 62, and Armel, 47, who recently opened their Café Mel+ed in Ternate, Cavite, their common passion for food brought them together.

Edward, who is a second-generation Chinese and an only child, recounted, “It was a struggle for me back then—a struggle between cultures and family.”

Meanwhile, Armel was already out on an early age. Growing up in his generation, he noted, “I guess the biggest part of our orientation is self-acceptance, and knowing your self-worth. Without realizing your self-worth, I don't think you can have peace within yourself.”

The couple didn’t have much difficulty introducing each other to their respective families as both of their parents were deceased.

When asked what inspires them to continue pushing for acceptance, Edward mused: “I always say that for as long as you know what you fighting for and stand for it, then go for it. Just make sure that you don't step on anyone's path as you go along the way.”

Thysz Estrada: Fire and passion for LGBTQIA+ advocacies

Thysz Estrada, 37, a communications and PR practitioner, is passionate about various LGBTQIA+ advocacies as well as being a transwoman endurance athlete. She is also the chairperson of PANTAY, a socio-political collective advocating for gender transformative legislation in the Philippines.

She socially transitioned when she was in her 20s. Back then, the idea of being a trans was new to most people, with the usual struggles of misgendering, online and offline harassment, and discrimination in restroom use.

However, she noted, “But what really hurt me was the intolerance of some if you are an underprivileged transwoman. The murder of Jennifer Laude radicalized me to vow to never stop advocating for trans rights.”

With a stronger sense of passion for LGBTQIA+ rights and for justice, she says, “Once the LGBTQIA+ starts talking about human rights—people's eyes, mouths and ears suddenly close shut. We need to be relentless in pushing for acceptance as mere tolerance means harm and even death in reality.

“The future isn't hard to imagine, it's the present that is hard to change. But we can start planting the seeds of mighty trees of equality today, knowing that others will benefit from their protective shade tomorrow,” she ends.


Borrowing some lines from the song, True Colors: “So don't be afraid to let them show your true colors, true colors are beautiful like a rainbow.”

Happy Pride Month!


Editor's Note: This #Brandspace story is produced by the Advertising Content Team that is independent of our Editorial newsroom. 


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