Jeremiah Torayno, a 21-year-old contestant in Idol Philippines, was recently given the choice to compete with the group she identified as. As a transgender woman, the Idol Philippines judges felt it necessary to discuss which group Jeremiah should be placed in. They had grouped her with the males in the previous episode but wanted to clarify if that was the best thing to do.
Vice Ganda brought up the subject and said: “She’s a trans woman. Dapat nasa babae siya. [She should be with the women.]” The judges were then considering whether Jeremiah’s cluster should be changed in the next stage of the competition. While Regine Velasquez agreed, there was hesitation concerning Jeremiah’s vocal tone and range, as she retained a masculine voice. Vice Ganda simply waved that away by explaining: “We did not base it sa voice. Sa gender niyo binase, e. Dalawa lang ang grupo—babae o lalaki. [Groupings are not based on voice. It is based on their gender. There are only two groups — women or men.]”
The discussion was drawn to a close by James Reid finally suggesting that it should be Jeremiah’s choice to make. It was decided that Jeremiah would join whatever group she identified as, and that was the women’s cluster. She shared that: “Surprised ako and na-challenge din ako, kasi nilagay ako sa babae this time. It’s a challenge for me, because ‘yung boses ko is pang-lalaki. [I was surprised and challenged because I was put together with the women this time. It’s a challenge for me, because my voice is for a male.]”
Jeremiah has been open about her identity and journey from the beginning. She shared during her audition: “I’m a woman trapped in a man’s body.
When I was growing up, takot ako [I was scared], because my family is religious. Iba ‘yung paniniwala nila sa ginagawa ko… Natatakot ako na mahusgahan, natatakot ako na itakwil ako. [Their beliefs differ from what I was doing… I was afraid to be judged, and I was afraid to be abandoned.]”
Now, she has gained enough confidence to be open on a very public platform: “Pero ngayon [But now], I think I’m ready. I don’t depend on anyone’s validation anymore.”
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