“At a very young age, I knew I was different. I felt very feminine inside, and my attraction is more towards boys and not girls. But I had to keep this secret growing up, because I was afraid that my family would disapprove it, and society wouldn’t be accepting. I tried to live my life as a normal boy growing up, but my feminine side were slowly manifesting.
After I graduated college, I was asked by my mom if I would be interested in working in Paris, France, with my aunt. Since I was a kid, I have always wanted to be independent, and so, I said yes with no hesitation. It was quite a journey moving to France. There was no guarantee of what life would be. I was living as an illegal immigrant. The first two and half months were very difficult. I am living in a foreign country with a different language I could barely understand.
With patience, I was hired by a couple who were both airline pilots. They gave me a chance, even though I have zero experience with housekeeping. Few months later, my female employer gave birth to a healthy baby boy. I was asked if I would be interested in being his ‘nanny’ in addition to my housekeeping work. I was nervous and hesitant since I have not taken care of an infant before. This was probably one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had.
There was a sense of joy and fulfilment from holding and caring for a baby. We spent a lot of time together since his parents were both busy with work. My life wasn’t easy but I had no choice. I was feeling homesickness for a year, and cried myself to sleep. Being away from your family is not easy. But I persevered and held on to my faith.
While working for this family, I gradually started with my transition. I finally had the courage to break free and be myself. I realized that it was the perfect time since I am away from the family, and I would be able to transition without them seeing the changes I feared they wouldn’t understand or be supportive of at the time. I met trans women like myself whom I was able to relate to, and felt comfortable hanging out with, because we all have similar journey.
After 4 years of being employed with this family, I finally got my 1 year legal working status. Living my truth, and living as a legal immigrant changed my life dramatically. I felt more comfortable with myself and empowered. It also has opened more opportunities and experiences. I was invited to participate in parades where I wore beautiful dresses. I felt like a princess. I was also able to compete in beauty pageants. Something I have never imagined doing, but it allowed me to know myself better, and appreciate the unique beauty that was given to me.
Life was not all about the happy moments, glitz, and glamour. I experienced unemployment. These were the dark times in my life. Times where I felt I reached rock bottom. Times when I had no place to live, but with the help of good friends I had a place to sleep. Times when I would only eat once a day. Times when I had no money in my pocket since most of the moneys I had from work were sent to the Philippines for my family. I was lucky I met amazing people who I have considered family. These people sheltered me and help me find light.
Currently, I am working for a wonderful family. I still see the first baby I took care and raised. He is a big boy now, but he still yearns for my love and affection. I get to visit my family in California, USA, every summer. I am happier. All the struggles made me the strong person I am today. It wouldn’t be possible if I didn’t find myself and my truth. With courage and hope anyone can be the person they want to be, and experience happiness.”