Jake Zyrus has been on a roll recently, with his collabs with Fil-Am producer Troy Laureta coming one right after the other.
There was the crooner “Kung Kita’y Kapiling,” which had him wooing “You’re perfect, you’re beautiful, you look like Linda Evangelista” Valentina in the MV. On Feb. 18, the duo released the music video for “Maghintay Ka Lamang,” a touching and inspiring cover of a song that tells listeners to keep holding on because their time is yet to come. “Kung hindi ngayon ang panahon na para sa iyo / Huwag maiinip dahil ganyan ang buhay sa mundo,” the song goes.
This version is especially touching as Zyrus had previously covered it in 2011 before he had transitioned. To me, knowing that context makes it feel as if both covers are in conversation with each other: the younger Zyrus telling himself that his time will come one day, and the older Zyrus saying that the time did come.
It’s perhaps that song that pushed Zyrus to share a photo of his post-top surgery bod—which he had never done before. In the post, he detailed his insecurity with his body, and how he was freeing himself from that, saying that he’s gone through so much pain for him to finally achieve confidence in his body.
“Pinag-isipan kong maigi kung ipo-post ko ba ‘to. Kasi lagi kong iniisip kung anong sasabihin ng ibang tao. Sa ilang taon na nag-transition ako, masaya ako sa naging takbo ng buhay ko, pero lagi parin akong nai-insecure sa katawan ko. Siguro dahil na rin sa standard ng karamihan.
“Pero ngayon, palalayain ko na lahat yun. Pagtawanan mo o hindi, hindi mo alam ang sakit, iyak at mga dugo na pinagdaanan ko bago ako nagkaroon ng confidence na buong buo ko i-post ito.
“Masaya ako at gusto ko lang ipakita sa inyo na eto ako. Sa wakas, komportable sa nakikita ko. Hindi ako humihingi ng opinyon.”
That last sentence is crucial. Too many people have decided to take it upon themselves to weigh in on Zyrus’s transition and his body. After he publicly transitioned in 2017, many outlets continued to deadname him or criticize his coming out. A now-deleted article published on Esquire even made fun of his name.
And even now, in the year of our Lorde 2022, his photo was met with transphobia. Many netizens, completely missing Zyrus’s point, criticized his current image. On Facebook, aside from leaving hateful comments on reposts of Zyrus’s photo, many users reacted with the laughing emoji.
If you think a trans person’s body is disgusting, then you might want to do some introspection because there’s one disgusting person here, and it’s not Zyrus. (If you need me to spell it out for you, then here: You’re transphobic and transphobes are disgusting.)
It’s also concerning since a lot of this open transphobia is coming from within the LGBTQIA+ community. It’s sadly, however, not surprising. Some of the biggest transphobes come from within the community, especially from those who seek validation from straight people. We saw it in “Pose,” when Black trans woman Blanca is thrown out of a (mostly white) gay bar, and we see it in real life. We need to stick together, not tear each other apart.
But Zyrus’s post is not about transphobia, but trans hope. He wrote the caption for his fellow trans siblings, to remind them that they are not alone and to live their truth in their own time. “Para ito sa mga kapwa ko transgender. Kung naghahanap kayo ng sign o confidence para ipakita at maging proud sa kung sino ka, tara sasabayan kita. Para sayo to. Kung hindi ka man handa pa, okay lang din yun. Lahat yan may tamang panahon.”