Graduating senior high trans students gifted with creative grad photoshoot

June 27, 2022 - 6:30 PM
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Four graduating senior high trans students who were given a photoshoot by Mela Habijan and her friends (Facebook/Mela Franco Habijan)

Miss Trans Global 2020 Mela Franco Habijan gifted four graduating transwomen a creative photoshoot after they were previously not allowed to join their respective graduation ceremonies.

Habijan on Sunday, June 26 shared that they were previously not permitted to join their respective schools’ graduation marches because of their long hair and the school’s dress code.

She said the students’ names are Nicole, Kendi, Jade, and Rey.

“Meet Nicole, Kendi, Jade, and Rey. They are graduating Senior High School students. Sadly, they aren’t going to their graduation ceremonies on Monday, June 27, for they aren’t allowed to come in dresses and they are required to cut their hair,” Habijan said.

Habijan said that their predicament broke her heart. She then gifted them a photoshoot where the four students can express themselves as members of the LGTBQIA+ community.

She tapped her friends in the industry, including creative director Vince Uy and photographer Niccolo Cosme, for the grad shoot.

“It broke my heart. So I thought of gifting them a graduation photoshoot that would remind them of their worth as trans people. So I tapped our friends, Niccolo Cosme, Vince Uy, Paolo Gerardo Salapantan, Lao To Myrrh and Raj Traballo. And this photoshoot happened,” Habijan said.

Photoshoot of trans students Nicole, Kendi, Jade, and Rey uploaded on June 26, 2022 (Twitter/Mela Franco Habijan)

Habijan also said that she tried to talk to the Department of Education about the situation being experienced by members of the LGBTQIA+ students.

“I wish I could do more for them. I tried to move mountains and talk to DepEd leaders regarding their (and other LGBTQIA+) situation,” she said.

The photoshoot soon took off on Facebook and Twitter.

Habijan’s tweet received 42,800 likes, 1,462 quote-retweets and 7,648 retweets. Her Facebook post, on the other hand, garnered 29,000 reactions, 537 comments and 13,000 shares.

They also soon reached the students’ school administration.

In an update on Monday, Habijan shared that Nicole, Kendi, and Rey have now been allowed to join their graduation ceremonies.

“JUST IN: Kendi, Rey, and Nicole have been allowed to march today. Just waiting for Jade’s school. Erratum: her graduation is on Wednesday,” she said.

This development coincide amid the end of the Pride Month celebration.

Pride Month is annual month-long celebration and campaign every June for the rights of LGBTQIA+ community in different parts of the world.

Call for inclusivity in schools

In the same post, Habijan once again called on the DepEd schools to “be inclusive.”

“The call stands for ALL DepEd schools: BE TRULY INCLUSIVE! ACKNOWLEDGE AND CELEBRATE LGBTQIA+ IDENTITY! LET TRANS STUDENTS MARCH!” she said.

In her previous post, Habijan questioned the apparent need for some LGBT students to “compromise their identities” for their graduation events.

“Why can’t they be themselves in an occasion they worked hard for? Why aren’t they allowed? Why do they have to compromise their identities?” Habijan said.

She also said that all LGBTQIA+ deserve their “winning milestone.”

“We did what we could. But we will never stop. We will always try. Dahil deserve nilang maglugay. Deserve nilang maging maganda. At deserve ng bawat LGBTQIA+ ang kanilang winning milestone,” Habijan said.

Several Filipinos later congratulated the trans students who were eventually allowed to their graduation ceremonies.

“OMYGASHH!! DESERVE!! CONGRATULATIONS KWEENS!” one user said.

“CONGRATULATIONS! TO THESE QUEENS!!! Sana ako rin, maka-graduate as a transgirl!!! These women are an inspiration to me!” another user commented.

Others also thanked Habijan and her team for the photoshoot graduation gift.