Well, firstly, the country is not only home to beautiful Transgender women who appear across the internet on famous sites such as DateLadyboys. There are, in fact, over 100 million people in The Philippines. The country is a series of some 7,000 islands in the South China/Philippine sea, many of the islands set in sparkling blue waters and having great beaches.
The climate is tropical (ie hot and often wet), with images of swaying palm trees and golden beaches conjuring up the vision most visitors have of the country.
Looking at the demographics of gender and sexuality, if you use a typical rule of thumb, based on 100 million people this means that some 6 or 7 million people in The Philippines will be part of the LGBTQI community. Within these figures, there should be approximately 1-2 million people in the country identifying as ladyboy. That means both male to female and female to male Trans people.
Yet, one overriding image many foreign men have of The Philippines is that Trans-pinay or Trans women are everywhere! You can see them in shops, offices, restaurants, bars and even at colleges and universities. Plus, of course, on dating sites such as DateLadyboys. This leads one to the conclusion that the percentage of Trans women out of the total population in the country is much higher than the average for other Asian countries.
This is probably not so—it’s just that the visibility of Transgender women in everyday Filipino life is far greater than in the US or the UK or other Asian countries with stricter governmental control. This may be surprising to many visitors to The Philippines given that the county is in the unyielding grip of conservative catholic religious dogma. Such dogma which, amongst other things, decries gay and Trans people and, generally makes things difficult for anyone who does not conform to the rigid ideas of the religious zealots.
Still, Trans-pinay and other Trans people survive. Overall, there is tolerance if not outright acceptance of Transgender women in Filipino society. To be fair, undoubtedly things are getting better for some previously suppressed minorities.
A key characteristic of people from The Philippines is that the Filipino spirit is strong. It often shines through in the face of adversity, such as frequent natural disasters or long-term colonisation (by Spain and the US for over 450years). Then there are the struggles caused by the dominance of their religion and the encouraged overpopulation.
Maybe these are just some of the reasons that Transgender people can survive. But, also, maybe it helps explain the Filipino love affair with soap operas, movies, celebrities and beauty pageants. All forms of escapism and offering a break from the drudgery of everyday life!
Beauty pageants, particularly, are a major form of entertainment in The Philippines. And, especially, those for Trans-pinay or Transgender women. As is often said, the most beautiful women in the country are Trans women and you only have to look at the contestants in some of the beauty pageants to understand why!
There are Transgender beauty pageants at local village, town, city, provincial and national levels. Then there are those competitions which attract T-girls from all over Asia, with Ladyboys from Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and China competing. Some such competitions have contestants as young as 8 or 9, with the young T-girls having the support of their families. Indeed, to win or be highly placed in a beauty pageant for Transgender women is highly prized. Winning brings fame (and money) to the contestant and her family.
Some might say this fascination with Trans beauties and pageants is a major contradiction given the overall conservative outlook in Filipino society. Yet, the fact remains that, in the pre-colonial days, people of the “third gender” were revered and not scorned. It was only the colonisers who caused consternation about those who are different.
Indeed, many Asian people understand that gender is non-binary and is a spectrum much like the colours of a rainbow. Different shades blend together to create outstanding visual beauty. Much like Trans-pinay whose beauty is without doubt and who have the advantages of having a part-male, part-female psyche.
This beauty is well recognised given the outstanding successes of many Trans-pinay in not only national but international Transgender beauty pageants. The list of successful Transgender women winning such competitions is very long and includes: Bee Urgello (Queen of Cebu); Rain Marie Mardigal (Queen of Cebu, Super Sireyna, MIQ); Francine Garcia (Super Sireyna), Bem Radaza (Miss Amazing); Maki Gingoyon (Queen of Cebu); Marian Crisologo (Queen of Cebu World); and perhaps the most famous of them all: Kevin Balot (Miss International Queen (held in Thailand)); plus, many, many more!
Now you know more about Trans-pinay, why not look through DateLadyboys and see if you can spot any famous Transgender women? Our ladies are all looking to date foreign men, and you may just find an ex-beauty queen as your future partner!