A prominent name in the LGBT community, Samson Tan or better known as Samantha Tan has always been very vocal on her stands to defend the rights of the LGBT community from prejudice and discrimination from individuals who see them as a plague, sinful and unworthy of being treated equally by society.
Samantha hopes to become a catalyst for change in a growing community not only here in Cagayan de Oro but in the entire world where there are LGBT members being oppressed because of their sexual orientation. During our interview she showed a very different side of Samantha that not many would have the chance to see, she is vocal, fearless and straight to the point.
“I am very simple; usually I go around town wearing this (pambalay). You bump into me seldom you will find me groom and fully made-up – Unless it is called for then I will do it,” Samantha shares.
She can be your greatest friend or your worst enemy, and it’s as simple as that. How people see her is none of her concern, she explains that everything falls under “perspective” that even you and I can be judge quickly without even knowing the person.
“If you look at Samantha Tan as the demon in the deep blue sea, then I am notorious, if you see Samantha Tan as an angel who fights for the rights of those whose rights are trampled upon then I could be your angel – a savior,” she explains.
She began her transition from a man to a woman in 2010, from Samson Tan to Samantha Tan.
“Samantha Tan could be a pen name, screen name or whatever name you want to label it,” he said.
It was my first time interviewing Samantha, to be honest, he is intimidating, but as I observe and listen to her story, I began to realize that she’s no different than us. The Funny thing is I expected our talk to be straight to the point. However, it took away different route, towards an informative and joyful conversation.
Although she began her transition less than a decade ago, he has already been gay since he was still in her elementary days. He was never shy to admit it; in fact, unlike some people who would experience some sort of struggle in admitting to the public their sexual orientation he didn’t even flinch.
“I just came out naturally. Ani mani siya, there are those who went to the process of coming out but did not go-go through. What is coming out? It’s just accepting or admitting to your parents or friends that you are one. Ako, elementary pa, ang Samson gi bansagan nag “Sam-yot” Ohh… so unsaon paman nimo na siya? So now tell me, if I come out? NO! they came out for me, they made it easy for me so what’s the point of coming out,” he said.
However, not everyone was as lucky as him. “Lucky for me, unfortunate for those who feel trap in a situation where fear is so ingrained in their heart and mind that if they come out they will receive the worst condemnation from their family. Now that is the most pitiful thing that would happen to an individual,” he shares.
“My appeal to those who are like me who has come out, not to demean those who are still about to come out, it is not a joke if you come out if you have a thinking that is totally different from our perspective, because as I always believe life is a matter of perception either you perceive it that way or this way,” Samantha added.
When asked about his advice to people who have yet to embrace their sexual orientation? “Embrace na!”.
“Learn to love yourself because nobody will love yourself, except you. You will never be able to earn the love of another individual if you yourself cannot love yourself. That is what I learned from joining MsQ&A,” Samantha explains.
Some people believe that gays are the ones who are the ones spreading contractible diseases such as STD and HIV; and are more susceptible than the other gender. For his part, he decries this stereotype notion as false information and points-out that it is unfair that they are being singled out.
“Dili sala sa bae, sala sa laki kasagara, kay ang lalaki man kasagara ang ga takud. Ang lalaki gatakud sa babae you have to know that, unless ang ang lalaki nay sakit daan, ayha pa ma takdan ang babae,” he pointed.
ON SAME SEX MARRIAGE
Samantha Tan is a lawyer by profession we asked her opinion on same sex marriage. Although she may be a member of the LGBT community she has a practical view on the matter.
“At the moment I would not advice same sex marriage and I will also not advise same sex union. But, if we are not really into it, but other countries are into it and other Filipinos are also into it in other countries legally, so the implication has something to do with property rights as a partner,” she said.
Adding “My only cry is for us (Filipinos) to judicially recognized marriages validly entered into outside and consider it valid here in the Philippines, kana lang sa ta,” she concluded.
For Samantha, he believes the stigma against the LGBT community has yet to change, some are still treated as an outsider of society.
“Let me ask you, since when Dolphy started playing a role of a gay (comfort gay) gays have always been portrayed as somebody funny, stupid and slapsticks. Kailangan batukan, kataw-an ug himoon joker. Has it stop? Now tell me has it change?,” He asked rhetorically.
WE ARE BEAUTIFUL
It’s not rare for a member of an LGBT community to be bashed with harsh and uncalled comments from strangers. Samantha was not excused on experiencing such comments. However, he brushes it off saying that while smiling.
“That we are beautiful, that’s it. Because if I would allow negative comments to impact my life I would have the “Poor me Drama”, but I am not like that. I’m the type of person na Patumbahin mo ako, babangon ako, at dudurogin kita kind of a person”.
Adding that “Maybe they are jealous and wants to join us,” he concluded.
“They just don’t have to discriminate; they just have to keep an open mind. The blacks before were discriminated by the whites because they were considered dirt, and then the whites had an open mind they accepted the blacks, but still, there is still a certain degree of discrimination. But it has dramatically changed through time. In the same way how that transformation came to be, that is how I also want the public to look at LGBT,” he explained.
Adding “Just look at us as a human being that are capable of loving and deserving of love,” Samantha concluded.