"I have a very supportive people around me and I am always blessed and thankful," says Miguel Gabe De Leon, Board Member of ATP and Public Relations Officer of TMP, as he justified his decision to come out and realized of having no reason to remain "stealth". "I’m done pretending. I’ve been in the closet most of my life," explained this transman who feels that the proud way to embrace oneself is to come out to the open.
Having a firm belief that being a transgender is not a matter of choice, "I can remember from my childhood and from the sincerest part of my heart, I have always considered myself as a boy...", he is planning to concentrate on the health aspect of the community though his first desire is to focus on transgender rights.
Migue, as his friends fondly call him, wants to make a change in the LGBT community in the Philippines, "I see through the future that from where we stand right now, we will succeed in fighting for our rights." Proud of himself to represent his new family, ATP and TMP, he enthusiastically added, "Being part of a history, being able to participate, being able to be there when that time comes is really an accomplishment. Everyone can be an advocate if he just believes in what he is fighting for. Never forget your goals and always remember that we are not alone in helping others out."
This lad, who happens to be the youngest in the family of five siblings, envisions Equality for the Philippines and openness to people with different sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, "It is not going to be easy and I know it is not a fast process but soon, people will be open about us." Believing that a good education to everyone is the beginning of a bright future for people with transgender experience, he confidently believes that acceptance of LGBT can be achieved, "there are a lot of ways. Just always remember what our goal is, have faith, be involved, don't lose hope and have patience...." explicated Migue, who is "inclined to music influenced by rock, punk and post hardcore".
A member of a band when he was "young and wild", Migue started his advocacy even before his "transition" but when he joined TMP this year, where he got his knowledge about transgender rights, he began to realize that he can help the community through offering support, "I understand what my fellow transgender community is going through right now and I am willing to help as much as I can. I know what they’re going through because I myself had been through it a lot." He humbly added, " I always think of others before myself."
Migue feels that through attending forums, symposium or any activities that aim to empower the community is his contribution to the advocacy. "I want that there will be outcomes on the rights that my fellow community is fighting for," bravely confessed this handsome boy who studied Computer Science and IT at Asia Pacific College.
This sage computer software enthusiast, who hopes to invent computer applications that can be useful to technology, believes everything has a reason, "I know nothing that such (transgender) groups exist here in the Philippines until a time I found one on FB. I only liked and watched videos from YouTube about American transgenders who do instructions on how to transition and the things that you needed. It is when I started researching more about on how to become more comfortable with my body."
To further know Migue, he is a home buddy who loves watching TV and can't live without internet, "I love watching movies and informative stuff on television especially anything about food. I can watch and stay in my room all day, all night."
This transman activist, who is inclined to Italian food and "anything on the western with healthy options", values his words and don't talk unless necessity requires his opinion, "My words are precious and should be said carefully. As they say, 'think before you speak'. Speak when you have something important to say. Don’t talk if you just want to say something.” "Extraordinary yet simple" is what Migue describes his relationship to God, "Each day, I don’t forget to thank Him for all the blessings that He had given me every day.... God has a reason to all what is happening around me." He quickly refers himself as a forgiving person, "I don’t take grudges but I know my limits."
Association of Transgenders in the Philippines