Nabuksan ang isip ni Addy Raj sa LGBTQIA+ nang masaksihan niya kung paano tingnan nang may panlilibak ang kanyang former manager na transgender habang nag-aayos ng damit niya sa isang male restroom.
“Halos 50 percent ng fans ko, di ba, galing LGBTQ?
"Dahil Indian ako, dati, I would say natakot ako sa bading.
"Kasi sa India, they never show it, they are not flambouyant, they always hide it,” paliwanag ni Addy sa panayam PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) sa presscon ng pelikulang The Panti Sisters noong Agosto 20, Martes, sa Dong Juan Resto, Quezon City.
Kuwento pa niya, “Nung time na unang beses akong pumunta sa Pilipinas, sobrang culture shock ako.
"Kasi, people were flirting with me, people were touching me. And I said, 'What’s going on?'
“This was, like, back in 2014 yata, nung time na exchange student pa lang ako sa Ateneo, bago pa lang ako sa Pilipinas.
“So, wala akong alam.
"Hindi pa ako masyadong marunong mag-Tagalog, sobrang bago pa lang ako sa Pilipinas.
"Hindi ko pa alam kahit ano.
“Sobrang culture shock lang ako nung time na yun, ayokong lumapit sa mga ganyang klaseng tao," pagtukoy niya sa gays.
Nagbago raw ang pagtingin ni Addy sa gays nang pasukin niya ang mundo ng showbiz.
“Pero noong nagsimula na ako sa showbiz, siyempre, lahat ng mga katabi ko, mga make-up artist, stylists, directors, kahit yung maraming co-actors ko, di ba? Galing din sila sa LGBTQ.
“So, that’s the time when I realized na it depends on the person, it doesn’t matter if you’re from the LGBT or whatever.
"It depends if you’re a good person or a bad person.
“So, I can’t really judge them based on what I’ve experienced sa simula.
"And once na maging kumportable ako, that’s the time na mare-realize, lalo na yung fans ko, they were so nice to me."
Pagpapatuloy ni Addy, “I’ll tell you one incident. Meron akong morning show dati, na hosting.
"Naglalaro kami ng isang game na kailangang i-catch yung itlog.
“We’re just throwing an egg at each other and you catch it.
“Nabasag yung itlog sa kamay ko. I’m like completely dirty with the egg smell, right?
"Of course, no one wants to come near me because I’m all dirty and everything.
"But, when the director said, 'cut!' lumapit yung isang fan ko sa akin and he started wiping me and helping me with everything.
“That was really a touching moment for me because I would not probably do that, I don’t know. But he did that.
"It was, like, very touching moment for me, and that’s when I realized it doesn’t matter if you’re from LGBTQ or not. It completely depends on the person.”
Batid ni Addy na naka-experience ng discrimination ang kanyang gay fans.
“I know that their job opportunities in the Philippines are limited.
"You can only become make-up artist, stylist, yung mga job sa showbiz, blogger or whatever,” seryosong pahayag ni Addy.
“Kung gusto mong maging lawyer na transgender, mahirap yun, di ba? No one’s gonna hire you.
“Or you wanna become a doctor. Do you think people will accept you easily? It’s gonna be hard.
“Like, what I’m saying, the job opportunities are very, very limited.
"I feel that needs to change.
“Philippines is much more advanced compared to India when it comes to such things, much more open-minded.
“But it’s still a far way to go.
“When I was new, I used to think that, ‘Oh, it’s almost like a Western country.’
"But overtime na matagal na ako dito, at ngayon dahil marunong na akong mag-Tagalog, doon ko na-realize na... oh, there’s still a long way to go.”