Birth of Lakapati

Birth of Ikapati I
Birth of Lakapati I
Model and Gown design: PJ Gepilano; Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Martin, 2017

Because Pinays do not discriminate. It is with honor for Pride month that I collaborated with the stunning trans Pinay model and fashion designer from Cebu, PJ Gepilano, to accompany the poem below that I wrote in honor of the trans men and trans women in my life. I am also very happy to report that I recruited my amazing husband to perform with me an audio recording of this poem. You can read more about PJ in the Featured Artists section. She is the 17th Pinay artist to be featured. 

“Long before the Spaniards arrived, the concept that there were more than two genders was socially and spiritually accepted in precolonial Tagalog society and other parts of the Philippines. Many Spanish records state that there were individuals born with male sexual organs however were seen and considered as women by society often marrying men, dressing in women’s clothing, and partaking in activities often done by women such as weaving and cultivating the fields. Gender fluid individuals were seen as people closer to the divine, often becoming spiritual leaders, known as bayog, asog, bayoguin, those who were an intermediary between the mundane and spirit world. As a modern deity, Lakapati is a patron to farmers, the LGBTQIA community in particular the transgender community protecting the souls of those who have faced violence and death, and governs the crops, fields, and food.” – from Lakapati, Transgender Tagalog Goddess of Fertility & Agriculture by Stephanie Gancayco

Birth of Lakapati II and III
Model and Gown design: PJ Gepilano; Photo courtesy of Rhondel Laurel, 2018


Vocals by Elsa Valmidiano & Josh Kleinsmith

There is a love hidden / but also beauty
as if She could make the whole world jealous
or simply cause world peace –  

Her secrets are delicate

Enough to make one cry
if one were not so afraid to be
that open to another human being

Beauty behind skin

Beauty / under lipstick / under breasts
(made of bags of rice or close-to flesh)
or something closely –
close –
to being –
being –

As She applies her lipstick
like a cigarette between her fingertips
to her lips / like a shush / like a whisper
there arises a phoenix
from ashes / from sea foam  
man-woman woman-man
where they collide / in peace
in explosion and there is someone to love
to learn / to create / to reinvent / to go back and forth

this funny thing we call sex male female female male
while She stands naked / a beauty to behold

my mighty Aphrodite / my Ikapati / where to laugh
is simply a release from all the cares of what this society
has been brainwashed to believe.

I wish I wish I wish I wish . . . .

                                                             . . . . I could be like that

So the chant goes

I wish I wish I wish . . .

among so many conflicted
who roam the earth like drones
stuck in their fears of trying to be
that woman that man
that everyone tries to relate to

when it is they who stand alone –

The lovers who love completely

without shame without remorse without fear

breast to breast / lipstick to lipstick

where She feels herself feels him
inside her inside him
him-her her-him
and it is anew I tell you

it is all anew.

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