A small tear rolled down the cheek of Janet as the crown was place on her head. “And the winner of “Miss Transgender Princess, The Philippines”, sponsored by iDateLadyboy, is Janet Mendez,” announced the MC. “Everyone, please give her a big round of applause.”
Janet beamed at the audience, then waved at her family who were congregated on the front row of the auditorium. They had been cheering loudly for her ever since the Transgender beauty contest had begun two days ago. First there had been a day wear section, then the obligatory swimsuits and, finally, to evening wear. In between showing off their outfits all of the Trans women had participated in on-stage interviews. There they had had to answer all sorts of random questions about their life goals, hobbies and what it felt like being a T-girl.
Trans-pinay beauty pageants are a national Filipino institution
Someone gave Janet a bunch of beautiful flowers and a stage assistant moved her forward so that the national press photographers could get a better look at her. Janet’s dress shimmered as she moved to the very front of the stage and she took a deep breath, trying to hold in her emotions.
“Miss Transgender Princess, look this way!” called one photographer. “Janet, hold your flowers up higher and look over here,” requested another.
Janet duly obliged and smiled and waved and smiled and posed for the next ten or so minutes. “Oh…., I’m so proud to be a Trans-pinay,” she thought. “This has to be the best day of my life!”
But it was not always so good for Janet. It had been a long hard road to get to be crowned Miss Transgender Princess. Especially in the very competitive world of T-girl pageants in The Philippines.
And, that night, when Janet had completed her official duties for the pageant, she had time to reflect on her good fortune. She’d kissed her family good-night and headed home to her apartment in Manila. She’d showered and changed and now sat on her sofa with a cup of hot chocolate in hand.
She still had the crown from the pageant on her head as she sat in the silence and contemplated her journey from small, awkward boy to stunning Trans-pinay princess.
Being Transgender can be a challenge even in The Philippines
As a young boy, Janet always knew she was different. She didn’t know why, but there was something there that kept her playing with the girls. She also avoided many of the physical activities which the other boys liked to indulge in. Some of the boys teased her about being too feminine and not being macho enough. By the time she was about 10 she was having to put up with being called names, with other boys calling her “gay-boy” or other derogatory epitaphs.
Worse was to follow, when one day she was caught wearing her sister’s clothes by an unexpected visitor to her home. In the small village she lived in, word spread quickly and she was soon being labelled as a Trans-pinay. Janet had no real idea what this term meant but realised that she enjoyed dressing in female clothes. It just felt so right. She knew deep down she wasn’t gay, despite all of the taunts.
By the time she was 15 Janet had learned what being Tran-pinay meant and found herself dressing as a young woman at every available opportunity. But she had to keep this need a secret from her deeply religious, conservative family. She wondered whether to talk to her mother. But she was very fearful of her father who had threatened serous punishment if he discovered and of his sons were gay or not “normal” as he put it.
Matters finally came to a head one summer’s afternoon when her mother found Janet’s stash of birth control pills. Many Trans-pinay take such pills for their oestrogen content in order to feminise themselves, help redistribute fat to their hips and develop breast tissue. To Janet’s surprise, her mother was not angry about her discovery and admitted she had suspected for some time that her son was either gay or Trans.
Mother always seem to know and Janet’s was no exception. She had also heard the rumours about Janet dressing in female clothes when not at home and hanging around with other Trans-pinay.
Trans-pinay have to fight hard to gain acceptance
Despite a tough time with gaining her father’s acceptance and understanding, Janet finally won her parents over. She promised to continue to excel at her studies and not undertake any gender reaffirming surgeries before she had graduated. And to do her best not to cause an embarrassment to the family.
When she won her first local beauty pageant, of course, it was not possible to keep the secret of her being a Trans-pinay from the wider family circle. And when she won a regional competition, everyone wanted to know her.
“And now this,” thought Janet, as she drained her cup of hot chocolate. “A National Trans beauty title. My family are so proud of me, it makes everything worthwhile! So, all I need now is to find a man on iDateLadyboy to love and care for me!”