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Growing up in Winnipeg as a first generation Filipino Canadian was tough, usually being one of a few visible minorities at school. But what really set me apart was my secret: being bakla. I knew I was gay before I was 10 years old. At the time, bakla was a generally negative term that meant something you should not be – someone acting ridiculously feminine. How I wished to be “normal” like the others! The baklas in Philippine media wore women’s makeup and acted like silly little girls; in other words, not very masculine. I was a boy who liked boys and wanted to be the most masculine I could be, even more manly then most men I knew – brave, strong, handsome and tough. Who would have thought that being a masculine man who was also gay could be so difficult?

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