Daddy’s girl: A trans woman’s story of a father’s unconditional love

by Bernie V. Franco
Jun 28, 2021
Clockwise, from left: Rica Salomon today, Rica as a kid, Rica with father Jojo. She describes herself as an empowered transgender woman and credits her father's unwavering love for her success.
PHOTO/S: Rica Salomon

Sa edad na dalawamput-siyam, marami nang napatunayan ang beauty-and-brains na si Rica Salomon.

Graduate siya sa isang kilalang unibersidad ng bansa, isa siyang social-media influencer, sumasali sa beauty pageants, at founder ng TAYO Movement na nagsusulong ng LGBTQIA interests.

LGBTQIA ang acronym para sa Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer Intersex Asexual.

Ang Lesbian ay babaeng sexually at emotionally attracted sa kapwa babae. Gay ay lalaking sexually o emotionally attracted sa kapwa lalaki. Bisexual ang tawag sa taong sexually o emotionally attracted sa babae at lalaki. Transgender, kapag nakaka-identify ang tao sa gender na kabaligtaran ng kanyang gender at birth. Queer ang general term kapag ang isang tao ay hindi straight. Intersex, kung ang tao ay may biological traits na hindi match sa kanyang gender at birth. Asexual ang tawag sa taong may mababaw o kaya'y walang nararamdamang sexual desire.

Ito ay ayon sa OutRight Action International, isang organisasyong tumitindig para sa "Human Rights for LGBTIQ People Everywhere."

Si Rica ay isang proud transgender woman—o mas tinatawag na trans woman.

Continue reading below ↓

Ibig sabihin, isinilang siyang lalaki, ngunit ina-identify niya ang sarili bilang babae.

Dumanas si Rica ng diskriminasyon, kagaya ng naranasan—at nararanasan pa rin—ng maraming kasapi ng LGBTQIA community.

Kung nalampasan ni Rica ang mga hamon, ito ay laking pasasalamat niya sa matibay na pundasyon sa paligid niya: ang kanyang pamilya.

Buong-buo siyang tinanggap ng daddy niyang si Ricardo “Jojo” Salomon Jr., 60, isang abogado at entrepreneur.

Simula pa pagkabata, kakampi na ni Rica ang ama, hanggang sa pagharap ng anak sa hamon ng adulthood.

Ang kanyang mommy, si Anna Liza, 58, na consultant sa isang electronics company, ay nasa panig din niya.

Nagkakasundo silang lahat sa iisang bubong. Pahayag ni Rica sa PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) tungkol sa mga magulang: "I'm close din naman with my mom. I'm just closer to my dad."

GROWING UP RICA

Napansin ni Ricardo Jr. na kakaiba ang kanyang anak na si Ricardo III—na kung tawagin niya ay Joshua—sa murang edad pa lamang.

Continue reading below ↓

Mahilig ito sa kulay pink, na sa Pilipinas ay traditionally associated sa babae, at sa tuwing pupunta ito sa toy store, sa pambabaeng section ang tuloy nito.

Ramdam din ni Jojo na nako-conscious si Joshua sa tuwing naaabutan niya itong nasa girls’s section ng toy store.

Kaya consciously, “neutral” ang mga binibiling laruan ni Jojo para sa anak, ulat ng lifestyle.inquirer.net.

Father and son. Growing up, Joshua was already not the typical boy, Jojo Salomon says.

Continue reading below ↓

Ayon pa sa lifestyle.inquirer.net, malaking luwag daw sa loob ni Jojo nang isilang ang kapatid na babae ni Joshua.

Dahil si Joshua ang nagkakarga sa nakababatang kapatid papunta sa girls's section para pumili ng toys.

Kumbaga raw, nagkaroon ng dahilan si Joshua para hindi na ma-conscious kapag tumitingin ng mga laruang pambabae.

Si Jojo ang pumunta sa paaralan at nakipag-usap sa mga guro nang ipaabot sa kanyang bumabagsak ang mga grado ng anak noong high-school freshman ito sa Ateneo.

Sumusugod din si Jojo sa ekswelahan kapag nabu-bully ang anak.

Kinausap noon ni Jojo si Joshua, at bagamat hindi nag-open up sa kanya ang anak, tiniyak daw niyang malaman ng anak na mamahalin niya ito ano man siya.

Kinausap din ni Jojo ang dalawa pang anak at mga kamag-anak, at sinabihang tanggapin at mahalin si Joshua, at huwag na huwag itinuturing na parang maysakit.

Simula noon, nagkaroon daw ng malaking progress sa grades ni Joshua.

Continue reading below ↓

In his teens, Joshua had to deal with bullying from his classmates at his all-boys' Catholic high school.

Sabi pa ni Jojo, alam niyang hindi sa lahat ng oras ay mapoprotektahan niya ang anak.

Mabuti naman daw na, habang lumalaki, naging matapang si Joshua sa pagharap sa mga hamon.

Continue reading below ↓

May isa pa raw ginawa si Jojo na naging malaking bagay para sa anak.

“I think one thing that I did that mattered to her a lot was, I was able to get an ID for her that read Rica Salomon.

“Sobrang naging meaningful yun kasi there are times when we’d go somewhere and hihingan siya ng ID, tapos mina-ma’am siya ng kausap niya, 'tapos pagbigay niya ng ID, Ricardo… Naiisip ko ’yung nagiging feeling niya.”


RICA’S SIDE OF HER STORY

Bukod sa pagiging professional makeup artist nitong nakaraang tatlong taon, si Rica ay advocate ng pag-raise ng awareness laban sa transphobia, o ang takot sa transgenders, gamit ang TikTok.

Nariyang itinayo niya ang TAYO, may limang buwan lang ang nakakaraan, para sa mga katulad niya.

Kamakailang naman, isa si Rica sa mga naging kandidata ng Miss Trans Global Philippines 2021.

Nag-direct messaging ang PEP kay Rica sa Facebook at Instagram noong June 24, 2021.

Continue reading below ↓

“My course in Ateneo was actually AB Interdisciplinary Studies," pagpapakilala nito.

"I took up Psychology and Communication as my tracks.

“I used to be a volleyball athlete. I’m actually quite athletic as a person, who is into badminton, tennis, table tennis, wall climbing, and wakeboarding.

“I’m also a gamer, playing games like Dota 2, Valorant, etc.”

Noong nasa kolehiyo, isa si Rica sa mga nangampanyang payagan ng kanilang Catholic university ang mga graduating transgenders na mag-ayos para sa yearbook sa kasariang nakakapag-identify sila.

Nagtagumpay si Rica at ang kanyang mga kabaro.

Rica with her proud dad at her graduation at the Ateneo de Manila University.

Continue reading below ↓

DADDY’S PRECIOUS GIFT

Pagbabahagi ni Rica, dalawang beses siyang nagkaroon ng debut—noong 18 anyos siya at noong 21anyos.

“I had a debut at 18, but my hair was short, kasi I was still in high school.

“So, I had another debut at 21, where, ayun, I had the roses, candles.”

Naka-upload pa sa YouTube ang second debut na ito ni Rica.

Aniya, ito rin ang coming-out party niya sa lipunan.

At ito rin aniya ang pinakamagandang regalong ibinigay ng ama.

“I never technically had to come out to my parents or to my friends.

“My debut was my way of announcing to everyone that this is who I truly am.

“The debut meant so much to me because it was also my first time to be glammed up.

"Experienced slow dancing in a beautiful gown with people who played an important role in my life.

“I never got to experience prom as a woman, but this was I guess my fairytale moment.”

Continue reading below ↓

When Rica turned 21, she had a "debut," which she considers the moment she appeared before the world as who she really is.

THE MAN BEHIND THE SUCCESS OF THIS TRANS WOMAN

Hindi raw maaabot ni Rica kung saan at kung sino siya ngayon kung hindi sa kanyang ama.

Continue reading below ↓

Malaki raw ang papel ng kanyang tatay Jojo para maging isa siyang “empowered trans woman.”

Paglalahad ni Rica sa PEP, “My dad is honestly very sweet and affectionate. He doesn’t just show his love through words but through actions as well—with hugs or pasalubongs, like sweets, and ice cream.”

Anuman daw ang nais tahakin ni Rica at ng dalawa pang kapatid, nakasuporta lang ang ama.

“My dad allowed us to explore what we wanted to pursue and supported us in any way that he can.

“He wanted us to do whatever made us happy, and didn’t force us to do something we weren’t comfortable with.”

Nang magtapos si Rica sa kolehiyo, sinuportahan pa rin ni Jojo ang gusto ng anak na mag-aral sa ibang bansa para matupad ang pangarap maging makeup artist.

Ani Rica, “He enrolled me in the makeup schools, the third being an international makeup school, where I was supposed to finish the course in New York last summer.

Continue reading below ↓

“But due to the pandemic, I had to delay my studies.”

Dagdag ni Rica, “My sister, after graduating BS Psychology, decided she didn’t want to pursue it. So, my dad enrolled her in a really good graphic design school.”

Inuuna raw lagi ni Jojo ang kaligayan ng mga anak.

“My dad was always supportive of our decisions kasi, and wanted us to fulfill our dreams, and hangga’t sa makakaya niya—gagawin niya.

“My dad could’ve forced us to take over the family businesses or to study something related to it, but he didn’t, and he still doesn’t.

“We own restaurants and a beach resort kasi,” kuwento ni Rica.

Nauunawaan naman daw ni Rica kung minsan ay may pahaging ang ama.

“And although he makes comments na, ‘Wala ba sa inyo gusto mag-take over?,' hindi naman niya kami fino-force.

“He wants us to find our own way and forge our own paths.”

Continue reading below ↓

Sa sunod na message ni Rica sa PEP, sabi nito: “Naiyak tuloy ako. Hahahahahaha!

“But I think you can see how grateful I am and lucky, and how I know, not everyone has this.

“Especially, when I was exposed to different walks of life in the trans community.”

Naikumpara nga raw ni Rica ang kanyang buhay sa masasaklap na pinagdaanan ng iba niyang co-candidates.

May reaksyon din si Rica sa mga kuwento ng mga kagaya niya na hindi tanggap ng kanilang mga ama.

“It’s quite sad how we treat my situation—as simple as a father loving their kid unconditionally as something bizarre.

“Hindi ba dapat normal lang mahalin mo ang anak mo kahit ano pa siya?

“Why do we celebrate parents with LGBT kids as if they were heroes?

“As if what they’re doing is beyond what parents should do.

“I hope for a future where we normalize these relationships and this way of parenting.”

Continue reading below ↓

DAD’S BEST ADVICE TO RICA

Sunod naming inusisa kay Rica kung ano ang best advice na ibinigay sa kanya ng daddy niya.

Sagot niya (published as is): “I remember he asked me one day if I ever thought of *killing* myself. (trigger warning).

“This was after there was a student who committed suicide. And all the parents in school were asked to check on the well-being of their child.

“I told him, ‘If death would mean reincarnation. Maybe. Idk [I don’t know].

“It broke his heart.

“But I was coming from a place where I just wanted to not face life as a trans woman: Why couldn’t I just be born as a girl?

“I told my dad how it was so unfair and how I wish I was just either a boy or a girl.

“But that’s when he brought it up na, ‘That’s just life.’

“And life is like a game of cards—sometimes you get a hand that is not favorable to you, but it doesn’t mean you still can’t win the game.”

Continue reading below ↓

Rica with dad Jojo, who has always been proud of her.

“THE GOOD OUTWEIGHED THE BAD”

Inamin ni Rica na hindi lahat ay naging madali para sa kanya habang lumalaki.

Pero mas nangibabaw raw ang magaganda kesa sa mga pangit na karanasan.

“Honestly, seeing that I come from such a supportive background, I recognize the privilege I have to be able to live life free of judgment and fear.

Continue reading below ↓

“Growing up wasn’t too hard because I had friends and family who made me feel loved.

“Yes, there were instances that were unfortunate, but the good always outweighed the bad.”

Itinuturing niyang safe space ang kanyang pamilya.

Habang malinaw din sa kanyang may mga tao sa lipunan na hindi siya tanggap.

“At the end of the day, regardless of all the transphobia or bullying that I’ve experienced, I always make it a point to recognize and appreciate that there are people who love me for who I am.

“And there is a safe space for me where I can freely express myself.

“Their love and support has made me so much stronger and why I’ve become fearless and headstrong towards facing discrimination.

Proud daw si Rica na nagpakatotoo siya sa sarili sa kabila ng panghuhusga.

“Looking back, I’m very proud of myself for allowing myself to grow and discover my gender and sexuality.

Continue reading below ↓

“I’m proud that despite living in a society that constantly tells me ‘no’, I didn’t let it hinder me from becoming who I am today, an empowered trans woman.”

Currently, may boyfriend si Rica at alam ito ng kanyang pamilya, maging ng ama.

Ito naman ang love advice niya: “Don’t settle for less.

“I used to be desperate for love that the moment someone takes notice, I try my best to make it work, to settle.

“But if there’s anything I learned, that’s not what love should be.

“If you ever get into a relationship, make sure that person appreciates you for who you are and is proud to have you by their side.

“You are worthy of love, internalize that and live it out.”

Hiningan siya ng mensahe ng PEP para sa lahat ng LGBTQIA++ members na nakakaranas pa rin ng pambu-bully, diskriminasyon, at panghuhusga.

“I promise you, it will get better," sagot ni Rica.

Continue reading below ↓

“If you are ever in need of help and have no one to turn to, there are numerous LGBTQIA organizations that can help and support you.

“Know that no matter what, you are never alone.”

HOT STORIES

We are now on Quento! Download the app to enjoy more articles and videos from PEP.ph and other Summit Media websites.
Read Next
Featured
Latest Stories
Trending in Summit Media Network

Featured Searches:

Read the Story →
Clockwise, from left: Rica Salomon today, Rica as a kid, Rica with father Jojo. She describes herself as an empowered transgender woman and credits her father's unwavering love for her success.
PHOTO/S: Rica Salomon
  • This article was created by . Edits have been made by the PEP.ph editors.
    Poll

    View Results
    Total Votes: 12,184
  • 50%
  • View Results