If the Gender Suits You

When I was a kid, I used to play with toy cars, robots and toy guns. But I loved dolls better. I still keep my toy jeepney, plastic robot and dolls up to now.

I liked action and Jackie Chan and adventure shows and movies. I did tend to imitate the more fun, energetic female characters, not the males and not the more boring, physically weak girly-girl ones (it was like preferring Velma over Daphne).

My favorite clothes were a sleeveless blue shirt with Superman on the front part (that intrigued me because the image was embossed), shorts (my pink shorts in particular), and dark-blue overalls with an image of ‘Voltes V’ nicely woven near the bottom hems (it was the artistry I admired). Meanwhile, I loved my dresses, too, especially when I had to dress up in white for an occasion and had to wear shiny black/white shoes that I loved to polish.

A favorite pastime was playing baril-barilan (gunplay) with the neighborhood kids. Also, boxing–well, just playful sparring–was a usual bonding moment between me and my father. However, I still preferred and enjoyed playing house much more than those (but the moments with my father were priceless)…

I can go on and on about my “contradicting” hobbies when I was a kid. But really, the point is, not because a girl is boyish or a boy doesn’t seem so tough for your taste, it doesn’t mean s/he is gay. And even if it does, have you ever wondered why it should matter to YOU?  The problem is, there are people who have a hard time coping with and accepting what’s different. 

It’s heartbreaking finding out the recent news about a lone gunman committing mass murder, targeting gay people. It’s even more heartbreaking when religious extremists say that the sad part of the whole thing was there couldn’t be any more victims…

Who made you God to decide how others should live? Who made you God to decide who lives? If you trust your god, can’t you trust Him to deal with His supposedly wayward children Himself?…I believe that in any holy book in any religion, it says there somewhere that we all should love our neighbors, love one another. I don’t, however, think it ever says there, “unless they are gay, in that case, go bash ’em!!!”

We can all argue about homosexuality being a choice or not (I think how you choose to live your life is, but who you are truly inside isn’t), or about it being forbidden in the holy book. Again, though, who made you — us — God? I think it is doubly hard to accuse a child if the situation is like this:

We all have our opinions. Fine. So my opinion is nobody asks to be born gay — why ask knowing fully well the challenges that would be waiting outside the mother’s womb? It is NOT our job to decide when and how others should live. WE ARE NOT GOD.

Lastly, I am sharing to you a poem I wrote for Matthew Shepard, the focus of the film The Laramie Project.


(For Matthew Shepard, once of Laramie, inspired by his father’s message in court)

One evening in Wyoming
On that sparkling moonlit night
The stars bowed down to watch over you
And guide you with their light.

The scent of pines, the smell of grass.
The touch of evening breeze
All came to show how much they care
And embrace you with their kiss.

Then soon the sun came up to shine
To brighten the whole sky
To warm you well, oh little one,
And say its last goodbye.

Oh, how I wish I could’ve told
What needed to be said
To comfort you and talk to you:
“There are better days ahead.”

But one evening in Wyoming
On that sparkling moonlit night
They left you there to breathe your last
And soon life came to past.

So once upon a Wyoming day
You left but not alone
Mother Nature set you free
And brought you back to home.

Copyright © J.Gi Federizo

Written: December 2005

***Inspired by the “farewell” speech given in court by Matthew Shepard’s dad, Dennis, re-enacted in the flim, The Laramie Project.

The Time I Stood Up For Myself

Why the title is because I feel it’s appropriate. Not so long ago, I read  Mitch Albom’s book For One More Day. There, a number of pages were titled “Time I Stood Up for My Mother” and “Time I Didn’t Stand Up for My Mother.” Now this isn’t about my mother or anyone’s. Right now, I’m focusing on the standing up part, especially for yourself.

This is about standing up to bullies.



We’re adults now, not kids in a school yard. Unfortunately, bullying is a reality happening in the adult world, too. Not always, not everywhere we go, but yes, it does happen. Cyber bullying, bullying in the workplace, gender discrimination, the rich and powerful stomping on the poor and powerless…It’s just one big, messed up school yard for grown-ups. How do we learn life’s lessons the right way?

In Albom’s book, there were also pages titled “Time My Mother Stood Up for Me.” Guess what? Mom or Dad or Big Brother or Big Sister, they can’t anymore save us. Oh, boo-hoo! Again, we’re adults now. It’s time for us to really grow up and fight our own battles.


Am I fit to work with?

Of course, there are times that we have to weigh things. Fight our own battles, but choose our battles wisely. I remember in the past that every time I took Psychological tests for work, I encountered the same tests several times and one question was of a situation-based hypothetical nature. It went something like this:

If you were in a line and somebody cut in front of you, what would you do?

Normally, and I experience this on a regular basis, I tell that someone nicely to go to the end of the line, nicely as long as s/he doesn’t try to weasel his/her way through crooked reasoning.

For the aforementioned question, however, I always chose the neutral answer. It wasn’t to play safe and not seem too aggressive for their taste, not even me being too much of a scaredy cat. My reasoning that could not be explained in the test itself was that I would have to first assess the situation–Would I simply talk to a gruff, dangerous-looking man, if ever? (of course, stereotypes aside) Would he look like someone I could logically talk to? What if he wouldn’t leave? What alternatives could be done?

You know, this is not cowardice. This is what we call self-preservation. If we can live with our decision (I mean that both literally and figuratively), then let’s live to fight another day. Meanwhile, there are big battles that may be dangerous as well yet we choose to fight. If it involves our own honor, would we do it?


Would you suck it all in to play safe or fight back?

So now we come to that part where you understand my title. Let me tell a story.

I used to belong to a group. Let’s just say a “grade school” to protect identities (as I mean no harm; I still respect the “school” and the great people I met there) and for an easier analogy. Let’s suppose the school had different “branches” in various locations, some very far. In one, I was a “teacher” who was lucky to have been instrumental in giving our “students” opportunity to gain “scholarships” to a prestigious “high school.” It was our second year in the partnership with the said high school. The “School Superintendent” (SS) gave me the task again to coordinate with the other branches for a smooth scholarship application flow. Naturally, I did my job long before the deadline set by the high school. Months after months passed and I had to keep reminding the branches about the requirements.


Can you make it?

Deadline near, we came up with only one student from a far-away branch (Branch 1) who decided she would try. The branch sent the requirements on time and arranged for her travel; she was to be accompanied by a teacher from that branch. Meanwhile, another branch (Branch 2, which was not that far) contacted me too late and I had to ask the high school’s representative if it would be possible to still accept the application. The representative said he would be on leave for a week, the same week of the exams, but if we could send the complete requirements by the certain date he mentioned, there would be no problem. He would inform the high school guards to let the second student in.

I communicated this information to Branch 2, told them it would be faster if they directly sent the complete requirements themselves. Needless to say, they agreed and when I followed up, one of the Branch 2 teachers in charge of taking care of the matter said they were able to talk to the representative and things were set. So I was happy until the day of the exam. Well, the Branch 1 student and her teacher, M, arrived a day before and we two teachers hit it off, talking like we were old friends.

So anyway, the day of the exam came. We went to the high school and there we met the Branch 2 student and her two male teachers, J and W. I knew J because he worked for sometime in Branch 1 and choreographed dances for us as well. W, I knew through my phone interactions regarding the scholarship, plus he was the fiance of R, whom I met personally before and liked. I was sincerely glad to see them. The problem was the guards wouldn’t let Branch 2 in. Mr. Representative did not include the name of their student. We all had to go to the Admissions Office to clear this up but we couldn’t do anything about it and were just told to have the child take her exams after two months instead.

Now, it was very unfortunate but what could we do? I just smiled at the guys and said we’d just have to come back in February then since the representative wasn’t there. They went back home. That was a Sunday. Then I had the worst week after. I got this email from the Branch 2 “Principal” (I changed names, several terms and phone numbers, you understand. Otherwise, everything is in verbatim. Forgive his grammar):

Dear Gi,

Last December 13, Student 2 is scheduled to take her entrance exams in the High School, together with a child from Branch 1, as part of our partnership with the High School Scholarship Grant. She went there and was accompanied by my teachers but, of course, as you knew earlier, Student 2’s name was not on the list. We have talked with Mr. Representative of the Grant Office and told our teacher that he already told your office last week that Student 2’s examination will be re-scheduled. You did not inform us immediately and even upon seeing Student 2 and the teachers in the High School you did not inform them too. You just asked them who they were and told them to just go home.

Thus, I would like to inform your office that Branch 2 will directly communicate with Mr. Representative of the High School Students Grant Office for Branch 2’s exams and other requirements. We will just furnish you a copy of our communications. However, if Mr. Representative still course the communications to you, kindly forward it immediately to our branch. Our phone number is _________ or fax _________.

I hope such classic miscommunications between the branch and your office will be eliminated. And kindly accord a little respect or courtesy with our teachers. They too are working hard for our students.

I remain

Most sincerely,


Say WHAT???!!! Were those teachers talking to my doppelganger? Were we in the same location that Sunday? ‘Cause I didn’t remember anything about treating them badly. I texted this to the Branch 1 teacher and she was so surprised, saying “I was there! When did that ever happen???”

Well, only one thing came to mind: those teachers messed up and made up all those lies to the Principal who was probably all too happy to finally put me in trouble. He didn’t like me in the first place because I only did my job in the past and several times, it so happened, he wanted to do something different from what I advised. No problem for me, I just thought that at least I did my job and it was always up to him to decide. As a sign of respect, I ALWAYS apologized if ever he found anything I said or did offensive, and he always said it was just alright. Now a lot of people had warned me how totally vindictive the guy was and then there it was, the PROOF. He emailed his concern to me AND copy-furnished the School Superintendent!

That would have been acceptable had he simply copy-furnished my direct superior first, my “Department Head,” and let her find out my side of the story. There were several people he could have thought of first of informing before the SS. I clearly saw it as a way to humiliate me, maybe even get me fired. Or maybe scare me even, say sorry for something I didn’t even do. Well, guess what? He wanted transparency, I gave him one. I wasn’t going to be bullied this way. Enough was ENOUGH! I sent him a reply AND copy-furnished the SS. Why would I be scared for something or things they claimed I did but I know I didn’t do?

Dear Mr. B.,

First of all, I would like to correct the following:

(1) Mr. Representative DID NOT say that there was to be a re-scheduling. Our understanding was both Branch 2 and Branch 1 could send directly to him, through LBC, the missing requirements. He could wait even until the week before the exam so that the kids could take the exam on December 13. I specifically told your office/staff to communicate directly to him as well so that it would be faster. On December 9, Ms. Another-Branch2-Teacher texted me this (and it’s still in my cellphone): “Good evening, Ms. Gi. W already contacted the guy in the High School and they have already made an arrangement.” [Ed. Quote translated from FilipinoIt was sent using text lingo, so I just spelled out all the words here. When I saw W and J, they told me that Mr. Representative told them that they could simply get the permit from the guard if they already completed the requirements. That was also what they told the person at the Admissions Office. So that person said Student 2 will have to take the exam in February instead. Monday morning, Mr. Representative contacted me and said the requirements only reached him THAT MORNING. I also texted your staff about this information and said to please contact Mr. Representative. All my text messages and emails and the messages sent to me are in my cellphone so if you would like to check, Sir, feel free to check, Sir.

(2). “You just asked them who they were.” I didn’t just ask them who they were as if I didn’t know them. I said, “What are your names again?” because as a human being, I am prone to forget names even if, for instance, J had already choreographed our dances several times. I even laughed a bit out of embarrassment because I forgot.

“…and told them to just go home.” I was not being crass and saying that I “told them to just go home” makes it sound like I dismissed them or that I didn’t care. Neither. I couldn’t do anything more about it either especially since the High School person involved, Mr. Representative, was not there. He already told us that that was why he said we could simply get the permit from the guard. Branch 1 got theirs.

(3) “I hope such classic miscommunications between the branch and your office will be eliminated.” This is also my hope. However, I don’t think it was my fault.

(4) “And kindly accord a little respect or courtesy with my teachers. They too are working hard for our students.” I do not know if this is what they said to you but when we were talking and parted ways, we were in good terms. I have never undermined them. It is not my place and I do not think of myself that highly as well. For one, I liked J. We were not friends but we were chummy, at least. I also like R and as we know, she is W’s girlfriend. I have always treated co-workers with respect be they janitors, teachers, bosses, etcetera.

Sir, it is good that you care for your children and your staff. But if you could also kindly accord me a little respect and courtesy the way you do them, it will be very much appreciated. If it is my fault – and I’m not saying it is Branch 2’s – I would apologize. I have always apologized to you, Sir. But this time, please allow me not to apologize. I realize that this might get me on your bad side but there is nothing I can do as I know in my heart what happened.

Thank you.


After that, B emailed a simple, one-line apology, and not even copy-furnishing the SS But I doubted everything about that apology. He had done that to me, too, so many times. I think I replied with a thank you, the SS getting a copy. The funny-in-a-not-so-ha-ha thing was I got to exchange private messages with W in Facebook. He vehemently denied doing anything wrong and insisted that everything was my fault. Actually, my comments were just as formal but stinging as my email to their Principal. I couldn’t believe W would have the gall to even deny lying. Supposed there was a miscommunication (and I still would be sure it would not have been my fault considering how much I tried to do the job well), that would have to do with inter-office relations. What I didn’t and still don’t understand were the blatant lies they said about my supposed behavior towards them at the High School. Wow. Self-denial, anyone?


Start acting like the grown-ups we are supposed to be!

Maybe some would think I was foolish to do this. Maybe I was. Maybe that was suicidal. But could I live with myself knowing I just let people murder my character?

I realize that as a person trying to be better now, this probably does not show that I am even trying. But with bullying getting worse in this world and not anymore confined in school and exclusive to kids, I think this should serve as a reminder that yes, we should choose our battles well, but there is a difference between being wise and being a sorry pushover.

Copyright © 2014 J.Gi Federizo

*All images from the net and linked to sources


I shared this because some people who had been victims of an online bully came out in the open. I thought it would be good to share my own bully-story, just to say that we shouldn’t give bullies the power over us. Do you have your own bully-story? We won’t mind if you share it in a comment or provide a link to it from your blog 🙂

Just Saying 3: “Anti”-ing the Anti-Gay Law

Anti-Gay Law is Bigotry and Murder

I fail to see what is so Christian about this act. Bigotry hiding behind a law. Allowed pre-meditated murder. We are not gods.

“Anti-Gay Law your face!

‘Nuff said. And you can quote me on that!”

(J.Gi Federizo)