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Close Up Mother’s Day 2020: Tatler Friends From The LGBTQ+ Community Share Advice And Support From Their Mums

Mother’s Day 2020: Tatler Friends From The LGBTQ+ Community Share Advice And Support From Their Mums

Mother’s Day 2020: Tatler Friends From The LGBTQ+ Community Share Advice And Support From Their Mums
Miko Aspiras with his grandmother, Milagros Llamanzares
By Ryanne Co
By Ryanne Co
May 08, 2020
A mother’s love knows no bounds. As Mother’s Day 2020 approaches, some of our Tatler Friends from the LGBTQ+ community share with us how their relationship with their mothers have shaped who they are and who they have become today

What’s amazing about family dynamics is how different it is in every household — but what’s sure and true to all four of our Tatler Friends is how much they love their mothers (and how much their mothers love them!). No one has a perfect relationship with their parents — or with anyone for that matter. But fortunately, relationships don’t need to be perfect, they just need to be strong. 

Today, we speak to a few of our friends about one of the most important women in their lives: why they love them and how fortunate they are to have been blessed by them. 

Read also: Mother's Day 2020: The Best Mother-Daughter Fashion Campaigns From Fendi To Omega

Rajo Laurel

Rajo Laurel and his mother, Virginia T. Laurel
Rajo Laurel and his mother, Virginia T. Laurel

What’s the best way your mother has shown you support while you were finding yourself?

“I think the best way that my mother supported [me] while I was finding myself was just to be there. Her presence was very constant; she never left my side. And even in the beginning of my career, she had always been my number one supporter. Because of that, I became very confident and very sure of myself. That quiet strong presence is something I truly I appreciate and I feel.” 

What’s the best advice your mum has given you about coming out/discovering yourself?

“The funny thing is I didn’t really come out to my mum. I think what I actually remember doing was telling my aunt (who was the best friend of my mum) that I was gay. As I was outing myself to my aunt, my aunt essentially said ‘I think your mum already knows’. 

I think parents have a deep understanding of their children. What’s more important is [children] shouldn’t be afraid of their parents. I’m very lucky in the sense that I had a very loving [and caring] mother who, in many ways, guided me to become the man I am today. I’m very grateful for that.”

Read also: Top LGBT Supporters That Inspire Us

Angie Mead King

Ling Ling King, stepmother of Angie Mead King
Ling Ling King, stepmother of Angie Mead King
Angie Mead King
Angie Mead King

How did you come out to your stepmum? How did she react? 

“I actually told both my parents over dinner back in 2009 that I liked to wear women’s clothes, but I finally came out to them [as a trans woman] when we got back from a trip to Germany (where my dad was hospitalised for four months) in 2013. It made me realise that life was too short and I didn’t want to miss the chance to become my real me. 

My mum was actually more understanding than my dad was and over the years she would be the one who helped calm my dad down and convinced him that I was still the same person on the inside. And since I was beside my dad in the whole hospital ordeal, he realised that I had a very strong nurturing and caring side that could only come from a woman.” 

How has your stepmother helped you in your journey towards self-discovery?

“During the time my dad was in the hospital in Germany, my mum and I would talk a lot. She’d already figured it out before me, that one day I was going to come out [as a ] woman. After my dad passed away in 2015, I began to entertain [the idea of] coming out and my mum was with me 100%. She had seen that I was unhappy and was longing to be free. Her love and support through the years, along with support from my wife, gave me the confidence to face my own truth and acknowledge that I was a trans woman.”

Tim Yap

Tim Yap with his mother, Benita Yap
Tim Yap with his mother, Benita Yap
Tim Yap with his mother, Benita Yap
 

What did you learn from your mother growing up? 

My mother always taught me to work hard, to not give up under any circumstance and to pursue my dreams. When I was a kid, she enrolled me in art workshops and eventually I went into theatre. All throughout [my life], whenever I would ask her something that went outside the confines of our conservative Filipino-Chinese background, she would give me the go signal and tell me to go ahead and do it.

I remember one time I was in this contest and I thought she didn’t go to school to watch me perform but when I got home I was surprised the whole neighbourhood knew I had won because my mom secretly watched and told everyone about it after.

What’s the best way your mother has shown you support while you were finding yourself?

My mom loved deeply, worked fiercely and never stopped supporting me from a distance, to [help] me find myself and celebrate who I am and who I can become.

Miko Aspiras

Miko Aspiras with his mother, Vivian Llamanzares
Miko Aspiras with his grandmother, Milagros Llamanzares
Miko Aspiras with husband, JV San Juan, and mother-in-law, Violy San Juan
 

Tell us more about your mother. 

"[I have] three women whom I consider as my mothers. They are my [biological] mother, Vivian Llamanzares, my grandmother, Milagros Llamanzares, and my mother-in-law, Violy San Juan."

What’s the best way your mother has shown you support while you were finding yourself?

“I am lucky that they [have] all shown me their support through constantly cheering me on and quietly supporting me. My grandma has always been very liberal and supportive; she always encouraged me to be exactly who I am and follow my heart. 

[My grandmother was so supportive that] when I was younger, she would even give me money for drinks; she only had one rule: I cannot fail any of my subjects in school. That way I learned to be responsible for myself and my own actions. My mum has always been an example for me to be creative to be proud of who I am. She exposed me to the good and the bad side of LGBTQ+ community. For my mother-in-law, I have no words. She accepted me into her family that alone is enough. But she was more than that, she became a true mother to me. She is very supportive of me and my husband, JV, [as well as our path to] achieving all of our dreams.” 

What’s something you want to tell your mum about LGBTQ+ pride right now?

“I would tell the three of them that the LGBTQ+ pride right now is very different from their time. People from our community are being heard in more ways now. There are more gay men and women who are visible in different industries. I am one of them, and I couldn't have done it without them. Our world needs more parents like them to continue to progress.” 

Read also: 5 Local Books To Revisit For Pride Month

Jon-jon Rufino

Jon-jon Rufino with his mother, Mary Madrigal de Leon, and twins Lilith and Lucian
Jon-jon Rufino with his mother, Mary Madrigal de Leon, and twins Lilith and Lucian

What is your relationship like with your mother? 

“She and I always had a close relationship. When I was younger, I genuinely felt like she was my best friend. What cemented this was that even at the age of six, I felt that she included me in her life decisions by explaining what she was going through, and even seeking my consent in the unorthodox and individual choices she made at that time. This continued throughout high school, when my competence in [academics] was rewarded with a large amount of autonomy. She never interfered in my studies and she encouraged me to go out with my friends or entertain at home, leading by example. In fact, I remember being both embarrassed and proud that my friends and I would occasionally bump into my mum dancing on the ledge in some of the same bars and nightclubs that I was just gathering the courage to frequent at that time.” 

How did you come out to your mum? How did she react? 

“It was a great challenge to her when I eventually came out [as gay] to her when I was 24, [about] 21 years ago. It took me that long to decide that I could no longer suppress an integral part of who I was, or lie about it to friends or family. Or anybody. My mother was very unhappy about that: both about the truth itself, and the shame that it would bring her. 

Those first few years, she was still very embarrassed of the situation. She asked me not to tell either my father or my step-father. Which was a bad idea for all of us, because secrets do not make a healthy family. Also, I was not cool with treating it like something to be ashamed of. I know that my need to be out and proud hurt her. But her shame also hurt me. It was painful to me, seeing her be very curious about who my cousins might be dating, while she never inquired about how my relationships were going. Despite this wedge, I never felt the loss of her love. And I know that she was really trying, it just took more than a decade to overcome her ingrained biases. 

Things were always improving between the two of us though, but what really brought our relationship to full happiness was when I brought twins to her life. She had been talking to me about wanting grandchildren since I was about 13, so finally [one of her] great fears with homosexuality had been resolved. Even before I came out to her, she told me that she wanted her grandkids to call her Mama, so now that she had them from me and there was no other woman involved in their lives, she was ecstatic. For the first time, it seemed to me that she was actually happy I was gay, and that she wouldn’t change me if she could.” 

What do you want to tell people on Mother’s Day? 

“I owe so much to my mum. Yes, there are parents I’ve seen that are more progressive than her. And it’s clear to all of us that there are children that have caused their parents a lot less stress than I have given her. But on the whole, I can see how lucky I am to have someone as loving as she is, and it influences greatly the kind of parent I strive to be to my children, both in what I must emulate from her, and what I have learned from her and my mistakes. Mother’s Day is the perfect time for us to acknowledge how far from perfect we have been, but also for us to appreciate how good we have it, and for us to strive to do better to the woman we owe more to than anyone else in the world." 

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