Pride Month 2024: Coming out stories in PH showbiz

Pride Month 2024: Coming out stories in Philippine show biz

/ 01:27 PM June 01, 2024

Pride Month 2024: Coming out stories in PH showbiz

Pride Month 2024: LGBTQIA+ members BB Gandanghari, Gina Pareño, Michelle Dee and Jake Zyrus. Image: Instagram/@gandangharibb, @yourlolagets, @michelledee, @jakezyrusmusic

The Philippine show biz is home to a number of LGBTQIA+ community members whose stories of coming out serve as an inspiration and, more so, an encouragement to those still inhibited to fully embrace their colorful narratives. 

To welcome this year’s Pride Month, here’s a lookback on some of the accounts of those who braved the odds and championed a love that knows no gender. 


Ice Seguerra

Ice Seguerra

Ice Seguerra (left) and him as a child (right) in “Eat Bulaga” in 1988. Images: Instagram/@iceseguerra, screengrab from YouTube/Eat Bulaga!

Ice Seguerra, formerly known as the child star Aiza Seguerra, first came out as lesbian in 2007, although he said his family had always known about his sexuality even prior to his revelation.  

Back then, Seguerra admitted he was not knowledgeable about sexual and gender identities, and that he thought he could only identify himself as either a lesbian or a gay; hence his lesbian declaration.

After being enlightened by some research, Ice came out as a transgender man in 2015.

I did not plan to come out, but when you know who you truly are, that feeling of being free haunts you,” he said in a 2023 interview with Tatler Asia

Liza Diño and Ice Seguerra. Image: Instagram/@iceseguerra

Liza Diño and Ice Seguerra. Image: Instagram/@iceseguerra

Seguerra has been married to Liza Diño since December 2014. They tied the knot in San Francisco, California, where same-sex marriage is considered legal.

Jake Zyrus

Jake Zyrus

Jake Zyrus. Image: screengrab from YouTube/Celestine Gonzaga-Soriano

Jake Zyrus, formerly global music sensation Charice Pempengco, marked his first coming out as lesbian in 2015 with an apology to his family. Then 21-year-old Jake, who was receiving local and international recognitions, was emotional at the time as he addressed those who did not understand and could not accept him.

In 2017, Jake came out again but as transgender man, breaking down the “wall” that was preventing him from showing who he really was. 

“I was still a child, that was already my dream,” Jake said then. “This is the first time I decided it did not matter whatever negative things other people say because this time what mattered to me was myself.”

“I know someday they will understand that I am not doing this to ride on a fad, because I am being stupid or because I have an incurable disease,” he added. “It’s because simply this is who I am.”

BB Gandanghari

BB Gandanghari

BB Gandanghari. Image:Instagram/@gandangharibb

BB Gandanghari, priorly known as Rustom Padilla, confessed being gay in 2006 during her stint in the reality program “Pinoy Big Brother.” Years later, she surprised the public after she came out as a transgender woman.

Gandanghari then legally became a woman in 2016 after her petition to change her gender and name was approved by the Superior Court of California. 

After her transformation, she declared that Rustom Padilla—who was previously married to actress Carmina Villarroel—is “dead.”

“I am very comfortable in my own skin now,” said Gandanghari who is currently residing in the US. “I am ready to begin a new chapter in my life, on my own, on my own terms.”

Rosanna Roces

Rosanna Roces: “Blessy was my first serious relationship and came ahead of all the men in my life.”—PHOTO FROM ADOLFO ALIX JR.’S FACEBOOK

Rosanna Roces: “Blessy was my first serious relationship and came ahead of all the men in my life.” Image: Facebook/Adolfo Alix Jr.

It was in 2016 when veteran actress Rosanna Roces came out as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, revealing her relationship with her lesbian partner Blessy Arias. 

Roces further disclosed that she and Arias first got together when they were just teens, noting that the latter was her “childhood sweetheart.”

After 11 years, the pair reconciled and tied the knot in an LGBTS ceremony, which Rev. Crescencio Agbayani Jr. of the LGBTS Christian Church Inc. described as “a combination of Anglican-Catholic and Protestant liturgy, with a touch of Filipino wedding traditions.”

“I didn’t want people to look at me and judge me,” Roces pointed out, speaking about making her same-sex relationship public. “After all, I was never the type who would hide secrets and act holier-than-thou in public.”

Paolo Ballesteros

Paolo Ballesteros

Paolo Ballesteros. Image: Instagram/@dragraceph

Paolo Ballesteros came out in 2017 along with the revelation of his then-relationship with dancer Roland Ochoa Anog. The actor-TV host didn’t speak much about his sexuality, stressing in a 2019 statement that he didn’t feel the need to announce it to the public as he had always exhibited his true self in his actions.

Ballesteros was also recognized for his projects featuring the LGBTQIA+ community, including the critically acclaimed film “Die Beautiful.” 

In the movie, which won him several local and international acting awards, Ballesteros portrays a Filipino transgender woman who lived her life facing the adversities and consequences of living as such in the conservative Philippine society.

Recently, Ballesteros also hosted “Drag Race Philippines,” the Filipino franchise of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”

The actor-TV host does all of these all while being a present father to Keira, his daughter from a previous relationship. 

Gina Pareño

Gina Pareño

Gina Pareño. Image: Instagram/@yourlolagets

Responding to speculations in 2022 about her sexuality, then 75-year-old veteran actress Gina Pareño proudly confirmed that she is part of the LGBTQIA+ community. 

Pareño made this confirmation through an interview with Ogie Diaz in which she also opened up about her deep connection with late actress Nenita Vidal, whom she referred to as “Doktora Bong” and considered as her “lucky charm.”

“Kaya mo bang aminin na miyembro ka ng LGBTQ?” Diaz asked Pareño. (Can you admit that you are a member of the LGBTQ [community]?)

“Oo, bakit, problema? Saka nagmamahal ako nang tapat,” she answered. (Yes, why, is there a problem? And more importantly, I love genuinely.)

Michelle Dee

Reigning Miss Universe Philippines Michelle Marquez Dee/ARMIN P. ADINA

Reigning Miss Universe Philippines Michelle Marquez Dee/ARMIN P. ADINA

Miss Universe Philippines 2023 Michelle Dee had just won the title when she came out as bisexual, saying she wants to take control of her own narrative.

“I definitely identify myself as bisexual. I’ve identified with that for as long as I can remember. I’m attracted to all forms of beauty, all shapes and sizes,” she revealed in an exclusive interview with Mega magazine. 

Addressing the resurfacing of her old photos with a short haircut and rugged appearance, the actress-beauty queen admitted that she felt somebody was taking away her story.

“When somebody takes away your story, then you should take control of that narrative. Turn it around and make it an empowering story,” she stressed.

“I feel that it’s so important when somebody tries to knock you down and use your past against you. We all have to realize that we’ve come such a long way to just let our past define us,” she added.

Michelle Dee. Image: Doc Marlon via Instagram/@michelledee

Michelle Dee. Image: Doc Marlon via Instagram/@michelledee

Advising her fans, she said: “Own who you really are and have that self-worth and confidence to control your life…There’s too much hate in the world. Let’s make a conscious effort to make this a better world.”

Mark Bautista

Mark Bautista

Mark Bautista. Image: Instagram/@iammarkbautista

Mark Bautista, who rose to fame after he became a grand finalist in the reality talent search “Star for a Night,” came out as bisexual in 2018 through his memoir “Beyond the Mark.”

Speaking about what he is most proud of as a bisexual, he said, “I am just happy that in this day and age, we don’t need to explain our choices in life or question other people’s choices. We can be whatever we want to be without conforming to what society wants us to be.”

Bautista further underscored that despite losing projects and some friends becoming distant, he does not regret embracing his identity out in the open.

Also talking about the celebration of Pride Month, the singer stated, “It is about reminding the world that acceptance, understanding and love for other people is also the key in understanding and accepting the positive and growing changes in our world today, regardless of gender or race.”

Raymond Gutierrez

Raymond Gutierrez

Raymond Gutierrez. Image: P. Adina

Raymond Gutierrez revealed being part of the community in 2021, saying he wanted younger generations to not feel alone and to let them know that he is also going through “the same things.”

“I went through a long period of time hating myself because society taught me that being different wasn’t the right path, especially for someone growing up in the public eye,” he stressed. “So to those saying ‘we knew,’ you never knew my story and my struggles.”

“It feels damn good to be on the other side,” he noted.

Valentine's Day 2024: Unconventional relationships

Image: Instagram/@mond

Gutierrez is currently in a relationship with his non-showbiz boyfriend, Robert William.

Alex Diaz

Alex Diaz

Alex Diaz. Image: Instagram/@ira.giorgetti via @alexandermcdizz

Filipino-Scottish actor Alex Diaz publicly identified himself as bisexual in 2019. However, this was an involuntary coming out as he did so after he issued a public apology for making an “indecent proposal” to a fitness coach.

Diaz took a hiatus after the incident but came back prouder to take part in the LGBTQIA+ representation in the media.

Issa Pressman

Issa Pressman

Image: Instagram/@pressmanissa

In 2018, Issa Pressman came out as bisexual through an advertisement for a toothpaste brand, also making public her then-relationship with singer Marga Bermudez.

Pressman, who is currently dating actor-musician James Reid, then reflected in 2023 on the acceptance she received from her family which allowed her to be “expressive, honest and free.”

James Reid and Issa Pressman

Issa Pressman and James Reid. Image: Instagram/@pressmanissa

“I’ve been blessed to experience love with both men [and] women. Blessed to be seeing who they are [and] how they loved me. Seeing beyond the physical,” she said. “It’s the heart, personality, dreams [and] the connection that becomes the basis of my relationship.”

Miel Pangilinan

Miel Pangilinan

Image: Instagram/@mielpangilinan

Miel Pangilinan, the daughter of Megastar Sharon Cuneta and Kiko Pangilinan, marked her first Pride Month as “openly and publicly queer” in 2022. 

Miel described such a moment as an “emotional and freeing time” for her, also crediting her family and loved ones for showing her nothing but love as she “[grew] and explored [her] own gender and sexual identity.”

“[It] only feels right that I post this at the point I’m in now where I’m comfortable enough in who I am and who I love and how I choose to present. It’s kind of a full circle moment for me, in a way,” she told the public at the time. 

Klea Pineda

Klea Pineda. Image: Instagram/@kleapineda

Klea Pineda. Image: Instagram/@kleapineda

Kapuso actress Klea Pineda came out as gay on her 24th birthday in 2023—a decision she regarded as the bravest one she had made so far.

Alam ko mahirap at nakakatakot, but please know na walang mali sa atin at walang kulang sa atin kahit pa magpakatotoo tayo. Marami man ang manghusga, mas marami pa rin ang tatanggap at magmamahal sa’yo nang buong-buo. Just be the person that your younger self would be proud of,” she addressed those struggling to come to terms with their sexuality.

A day after her revelation, Pineda introduced to the public her girlfriend, actress-model Katrice Kierulf, with whom she had been in a relationship for over a year at the time.

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(From left) Katrice Kierulf, Klea Pineda. Images: Magic Liwanag via Instagram/@kleapineda

Katrice Kierulf (left) and Klea Pineda. Images: Magic Liwanag via Instagram/@kleapineda

“From now on, I want to live my life fearlessly. Sana samahan [niyo] ako sa paggawa ng sarili kong kwento na alam kong tunay na magpapasaya sa akin,” Pineda addressed her fans. “Let’s spread love and empowerment, everyone! And always remember, #LoveIsLove.”

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TAGS: LGBTQ community, Pride Month

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