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By: Bemz Aleeh Benedito

The liberation of a nation is through the liberation of it's people (Professor Danton Remoto and 2010 candidate for senator).

01 March 2009, I met the statuesque and jaw-dropping BB Gandanghari in the flesh at Power Books in Megamall at the launching of S, the new entertainment magazine in town from Mega Publishing Group. I was overwhelmed to witness on how the people from across classes welcomed and accepted her in pride and jubilation. The image that I saw was a far cry from the hunky Rustom Padilla that BB Gandanghari killed and buried as she metamorphosed into the glam and glamour of the style and beauty icon Audrey Hepburn.

A few weeks ago, I was personally insulted and offended by the uncalled for remarks and tirades of gay comedians Vice Ganda and Chokoleit on national television about BB Gandanghari's blossoming. And as if they were not enough, considered gay icon, entrepreneur and philantropist Ricky Reyes also lambasted BB Gamdanghari on the boob tube and quantified her self-actualization as a laughing stock. A dismal judgement from a person who is a cross dresser himself.

Then last week, the convivial and fair gay host Boy Abunda interviewed BB again for her response. She was hurt of course, but she did not dignify those tirades and instead intimated once again that being gay or woman is not important at all. All that is important according to her is that she is a human being and that means she deserves dignity bar none. If a person has the capacity to think and feel well, I think that will suffice everything.

Some would still insists that the old Rustom Padilla who started to come out in the reality program of ABS-CBN 2 must have remained as it is. But what those critics have forgotten is, are they the one who will decide for BB? Is it what they see is the real gender identity that she hopes, aspires and pushes to live with? At the end of the day, it is only her who would know her very self. People have forgotten the existence of transgender women in society. They are those individuals whose gender identity is different from their assigned sex at birth. They are also those individuals whose gender expression doesn't match the gender expression dictated by the norms of society that is based on assigned sex alone. Transgenderism is all about gender identity and gender expression regardless of the existence of a sex re-assignment surgery (SRS).

Remoto even commented that those who keep on upbraiding BB are those ugly ones. The more that they castigate her, the more uglier they become. Now, that's a dose of their own medicine from someone who should know better than them.

Professor Remoto even explained further:

"What I think is that the young gay boy who was bullied by classmates and beaten up by his father because he was gay, who was forced to marry to pass for a straight man and who has now grown up to be a taller and prettier than the rest of them has chosen to assert himself. To shape his own identity, to form his own self, which is the way it should be. And whether he makes money, becomes more famous, or snags more fabulous boyfriends because of this blossoming, it will be a bonus in the reign of Her Majesty, BB Gandanghari"

Life have driven Rustom Padilla to many crossroads, altercations, left and right turns and dramaturgical parkings in life. Now that Rustom Padilla is dead and buried in a manner of speaking and BB Gandanghari have come out of the closet and re-emerges to be a happier and dispatched person in a new world that is no longer bound by old customs and old judgement. Let the woman to be home at last and savor freedom in its very essentials. Her bravery to come out is indeed extraordinary but isn't it more painful to think of those times where she remained in the closet. After all, the closet is like a coffin and in life hereafter, we will all be judged by God on how well we did on this earth.


Mac Callister said…
i like this entry.very well written and precised.

hmm,i think i like what remoto said,I agree.i think we just have to accep BB as what she wants to be.
Oliver said…
Personally, I have mixed feelings about Bebe.

On one hand, I am happy for Bebe/Rustom that s/he has found herself (transgendered or otherwise). And what s/he has done (coming out on National TV) was really brave and something worth commending.

On the other hand, I feel that all the media buzz about her transformation, while it fuels the people to talk, also disguises the fact that s/he is being treated like a one-wo/man circus. S/he's not in the news because s/he made a marvelous contribution to the LGBT movement, in fact, the only reason s/he's on air is because HE suddenly turned into a SHE.

Is it news-worthy? probably because s/he's considered a celebrity. But to be featured because of the NOVELTY of his SEXUALITY, to me, is a bit insulting.

S/he's being featured for the shock value and for the public's curiosity (hence such silly questions about make up and other trivia). It's airtime that could've been well spent EDUCATING the masses about homosexuality and/or transgendered individuals. We don't really need to know about Bebe's womanly fancies

I'm sorry this comment is soooo long.

I've made my stand on this matter here:
and here:
Geisha said…

I love the views! in contrary though, am still onn the process of accepting bb gandanghari.
Ming Meows said…
i know we will come into terms with that
Above all, i do really agree with Prof Danton Remoto: Ang kalayaan ng bayan ay kasing halaga ng kalayaan ng kanyang sarili!

Mabuhay tayong lahat! ;)
JC.TSU said…
Personally, I still don't know what to think about BB.. Most probably, I'm still shocked over the transformation.. I can't quite get over the "murder" of Rustom Padilla..

But of course, to each his own..

Ika nga: Sari-sariling trip lang yan.. Walang Pakielamanan.. ^_^
Jase/"Gayzha" said…
Very well said .... Finally we do make our stand on these issues and I am all out 100% to BB GandangHari and to anyone on the road to openess, liberation and freedom!
anne lim said…
excellent and very articulate essay, my dearest bemz! =)

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