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Even as the gay and lesbian communities experience something of a global revolution in terms of being granted more rights and protection from discrimination, transgender people may be facing a significantly steeper uphill battle. While many of even the most conservative people have come to accept that they may have to share intimate spaces like locker rooms and bathrooms with gays and lesbians, we’re all still squabbling over which bathrooms transgender people should use and which pronoun to call them by.

Discrimination against transgender individuals is particularly fierce in devoutly Catholic Philippines, where hormones – and presumably also surgeries – that are essential to the transgender “transformation” process are routinely denied to those who want them. But the transgender rights group Pinoy Female-to-Male (Pinoy MTF) – composed of naturally born women who identify as male – may have found an ideal spokesmen to help in their fight.

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Nick, who was born a woman but used hormone therapy to achieve a pretty amazing transition in appearance, is getting a lot of media attention in his native Philippines after appearing on the popular current affairs news show, Bandila. In addition to showing viewers the amazingly drastic effects hormone therapy can have, Nick also explained that he had to go through back channels to acquire the drugs.

Nick before (left) and after (right) therapy:


Doctors say unsupervised hormone therapy is unsafe because of a variety of potentially harmful side effects, including heart attacks – which we can all agree are totally no fun. Still, with extreme restrictions on the drugs in the Philippines, most transgender individuals who want them have to source them from overseas and take them in secret. For these reasons, Nick and Pinoy MTF say one of their major hopes is to spread awareness and help make hormone therapy drugs more accessible.

Surprisingly, the Philippines is one of the most gay-friendly countries in the world according to Pew Research Data, which makes the wide – and apparently primarily faith-based – discrimination against transgender people even more jarring. Here’s hoping Nick and Pinoy MTF see success in their crusade!

Here’s the Bandila clip (Some English, but mostly Tagalog).

Source: Yahoo! Philippines
Photos: Bandila via YouTube