Letting love win: How my parents’ love made me a winner

Mela Franco Habijan

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Letting love win: How my parents’ love made me a winner
As Pride Month begins, Mela Habijan writes about her and her parents' journey as she navigates life as a transgender woman

(Editor’s note: This piece first came out on the author’s personal Facebook page. Since it’s Pride Month, since love is love, and since we all could use a dose of inspiration and hope, we’ve asked her permission to republish it in full.)

Sabi ko kay Papa mo, tanggapin natin si Boy kasi gift siya sa atin. Unfair para sa kanya na hindi ko siya matanggap nang buong-buo.”

(I told your Papa, we should accept Boy because she’s a gift. It’s unfair if we don’t accept her fully.)  

This video was taken last year, September 3, 2017, a day before I moved out of my parents’ house to officially embrace my life as an independent woman.


My Mama and I like having conversations about what’s going on with our lives. That day, I asked her about what she thought about my moving out, and more importantly, my coming out as a transgender woman.

I knew it was not easy for my parents to accept my decision to transition and start living my life as Mela. After all, I am their “Erick Boy,” their eldest son.

More importantly, I felt they were afraid of how society would treat me, just like any other protective parents. They did not want others — the ignorants and the bigots — to bully me, hurt me, and disrespect me. They did not want to see me living in a limited world with less opportunities.

But I guess, their love for me was bigger than their fears. They wanted me to be happy. Hence, they let me soar higher as a transgender woman and now, I am loving life to the fullest.

My parents are a testament to how love can end transphobia and bigotry. And their acceptance is what matters most.

'BECAUSE OF THEIR LOVE, I LIVE.' Mela with her siblings and parents. Photo courtesy of Mela Habijan

So I appeal to you, my dearest friends. If ever your child turns out to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, or transgender, please accept them. Your acceptance is everything. Coming from my experience, no matter how cruel the world is, I am always assured of a safe and caring home that will always love me.

Because of Erico and Irene’s love, I live.

As much as they say that they are lucky to have me, I am the luckiest to have them as my Mama and Papa. And I will always live by my Mama’s words: “Huwag ka mag-give up. Ipagpatuloy mo ‘yung pangarap. Alam ko masaya si Papa kasi ipagmamalaki ka talaga niya. Pero kailangan lang maging humble ka at kailangan lang laging mangunguna si Lord sa buhay mo.”

(Never give up. Keep on dreaming. I know Papa is happy because he is always proud of you. But you need to be humble and remember that the Lord should always come first in your life.) – Rappler.com 

Do you have your own pride stories you wanna share? Leave us a message on Facebook or email the Rappler Lifestyle team at lifestyle@rappler.com

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