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Breaking barriers: Personalities who bravely came out as transgender

By John Patrick Magno Ranara Published Mar 31, 2023 4:24 pm

Telling the world about your sexuality as a gay, lesbian, or bisexual is already hard enough as it is, moreso for transgender people.

Despite knowing that they may face scrutiny and hate, some trans people still choose to be courageous and show to the world their true self. 

In celebration of Trans Visibility Day, PhilSTAR L!fe has listed down some brave personalities who have come out as transgender and have become a beacon of inspiration for others to continue fighting against discrimination.

Mela Habijan 

Mela Habijan made both the Philippines and the queer community proud when she emerged as the first-ever Miss Trans Global in the 2020 edition of the pageant.

For a little bit of background, the event is an international online pageant "for trans and gender nonconforming people from all backgrounds" and was established to point the spotlight on transgender and LGBTQ+ issues around the world.

Channeling the mission of the competition, Habijan said that she joined to honor slain transgender Jennifer Laude and other trans Pinays.

"While there are a number of people who look down and laugh at us for being trans, I will always stand tall for my trans community. I will always try my best to represent them well. And I will always live by my beautiful purpose: to never give up, to never be bothered, and to never get tired of making my family, my friends, my country, and my God proud!" she wrote in an Instagram post.

Jesi Corcuera
Jesi Corcuera / Instagram

Former Pinoy Big Brother housemate Jesi Corcuera is now living and owning his truth as a proud transgender man.

During his run at the 2016 edition of Pinoy Big Brother, he bared what it was like growing up in a body that wasn't meant for him, sharing how his own mother attempted to suppress who he was by enrolling him to an all-girls high school.

But his bravery eventually reigned over the fears. Back in October 2021, he shared his journey on undergoing top surgery in which breast tissue and excess skin are removed from the chest to mark the beginning of his new, more authentic life. 

On his Instagram post sharing the pivotal moment, Corcuera was all smiles as he shared that the operation symbolizes his freedom.

"Maaring hindi niyo maintindihan ang sayang aking nararamdaman. Pero sa likod ng mga hiwa sa ilalim ng aking dibdib yan ang simbolo ng aking kalayaan. Kalayaan sa mapanghusgang lipunan. Para sa mga tulad kong parte ng makulay na bahaghari wag kayong titigil makamit ang inyong kalayaan at kasiyahan," he wrote.

Geraldine Roman

Bataan 1st District Rep. Geraldine Roman is here to inspire her fellow transgender folks that they can achieve career success, as proven when she became the first transgender person elected to the Congress of the Philippines.

This is considered a proud moment, especially since she emerged victorious in a predominantly Catholic country.

In an interview with Asia Society, Roman underscored, "Gender and sexual orientation are no hindrances to serving the country. But my entry into Congress and the attention I have received have made me more determined to prove my worth as a public servant."

She has achieved that and more when she had been included by TIME Magazine in their list of "Inspiring Women of 2016" along with American politician Hillary Clinton and iconic pop star sensation Beyoncé. She was also recognized as one of Foreign Policy's 100 Leading Global Thinkers of 2016.

Anne Jakrajutatip
Anne Jakrajutatip / Instagram

In another instance of transgender beauties carving up a successful career, Thai business mogul Anne Jakrajutatip has received the distinction for being not only the first woman, but also the first transgender woman to own the Miss Universe organization.

This came to be after media and content conglomerate JKN Global Group, which she heads as CEO, acquired the world's longest-running and most prestigious pageant.

During her speech at the 71st Miss Universe competition, she took the time to share her traumatic experience of being sexually harassed by a teacher and being the target of bullying by her classmates at an all-male school.

"I was born as a trans woman who got bullied and sexually harassed by my own teacher when I was young, plus I was not accepted by society because they did not want to embrace my differences. But guess what? I chose not to surrender! I turned pain into power! And I turned life lessons into wisdom!" she said, earning her resounding praises from the crowd.