Without a doubt, Pinoy Big Brother is arguably the most exciting, most controversial, and most watched reality program ever on local television.
Throughout its 15-year run, it has introduced us to diverse batches of housemates who came from various groups, walks of life, parts of the country or world, and gender. Despite the differences in their personalities and perspectives in life that often led to misunderstandings and quarrels, each set was able to live harmoniously while inside the famous yellow house.
However, what made us admire their camaraderie more was when they showed their full acceptance and all-out support to their housemates who courageously exposed a very sensitive detail about their life – their gender preference.
We all know the plight of the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer) community in the past decades. Thus, it’s delighting how our friends who are members of this wonderful organization are gaining courage to free themselves out of the closet where they’ve been hiding for a long time and that we are beginning to get educated on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE).
As we look forward on the much-awaited re-opening of the PBB house for its ninth edition, here are nine proud LGBTs who confidently wore their colorful hearts on their sleeves.
The 90’s matinee idol definitely shocked the whole nation when he made a heart-rending and surprising confession to his fellow housemate Keanna Reeves, who intently listened to and lovingly consoled him, about his being gay in the reality show’s inaugural celebrity edition. Making this grand revelation more remarkable and touching was when a mariposa (a kind of butterfly) perched on his knee all of a sudden, seemingly signifying his freedom from years of hiding his real identity.
Years after, Rustom finally declared himself a transgender, which was succeeded by a Los Angeles court formal recognition of him as a woman and approval of changing his name to “BB Gandanghari” in 2016.
Dubbed “Math Goddess of Bacolod”, she made history as the first-ever transgender to join the reality competition. Because of the intelligence and open-mindedness she exuded, Big Brother challenged her and fellow housemate Rob Stumvoll by bestowing them the task to pretend as a couple upon their entrance in the house that completely stirred the housemates for this setup made them feel uncomfortable. Her strong personality also got her involved in a number of altercations with them, such as Seiichi Ushimi.
In an article published on ABS-CBN News, the PBB Unlimited alumna revealed that her stay in PBB not only helped her express her true self and feelings, but it also taught her to stand by her beliefs. Besides, it also helped her mend her tattered relationship with her father, who used to not accept her gender preference, after Kuya invited him to come over to his house to visit Rica and reconcile with her.
The Filipino-British tattoo artist from Cebu City is probably one of the most memorable for being the first-ever openly lesbian housemate. Notwithstanding, she was still romantically linked to her fellow housemate Slater Young because of how close they had become while inside the house during the PBB Unlimited edition. But that didn’t prosper since Divine had a girlfriend then in the outside world.
Their beautiful friendship remained strong even after they went back to the outside world, with their season’s Big Winner as her date in the 2012 Star Magic Ball.
Bothered by a snide comment from a netizen regarding one of the housemates’ sexual orientation, which was relayed by hosts-turned-house guests Robi Domingo and John Prats, the All-In housemate was compelled to confess to Big Brother about his being bisexual.
He also discussed the situation with his twin brother Fourth and their fellow housemate Manolo Pedrosa, who both showed their understanding and full support towards him. During that poignant conversation, he disclosed being consistently compared to his twin growing up because of how he behaved and being tired with addressing the issue over and over again.
He remains active in show business up to now and had his directorial debut recently through the indie flick “Nakalimutan Kong Kalimutan Ka” starring his close friend since their PBB days, Alex Gonzaga.
Tagged as the “Kid Sunshine of Cebu”, he made history for being the first-ever openly gay teen housemate to join the competition. With his cheerful, energetic, and vibrant personality, it wasn’t difficult for him to get along with his PBB 737 housemates, especially with the girls. He further amazed us with his being outspoken, as he unhesitatingly spoke his mind and expressed what he felt to them.
The “Overseas Filipino Warrior of Tondo” welcomed 2017 with a bang after dropping an explosive revelation that truly stunned not only his Lucky Season 7 co-housemates, but the avid viewers as well.
In one of their activities, Kuya told them to write down the personal qualities they would like to let go for the coming year and attached those to the colored water-filled balloons which they had to hurl on a makeshift wall to signify that they’re already quashing those undesirable traits or thoughts. What supposed to be an act of liberating themselves from the negativities became an avenue for Jerome to unravel his true self by bravely telling his housemates that he is “a gay man”.
At first glance, he could easily be identified as a male for he possesses unmistakable masculine features. Thus, we’re all astounded when it was revealed that he’s actually a transman – a person born as female and underwent a series of procedures to become a man.
Upon his entrance, Big Brother gave him a special task not to divulge his own identity, lest he would be automatically considered for the first nominations. He successfully accomplished it with the help of his co-housemates Baninay Bautista and Luis Hontiveros, who he personally chose to be his accomplices for he assumed that they knew some things about him after meeting them during the auditions.
Years prior to his participation in PBB All-In, he was initially known by the public when he joined another network’s reality talent search in 2006 (as a woman), and even became the on-screen partner of now Kapamilya heartthrob Paulo Avelino.
He may not be able to make it to the main PBB house, the 22-year-old “Gu-Role Model of Quezon City” still had a memorable stint inside the Camp Star Hunt as he finally got the opportunity to fully open up about his gender that he’d been waiting for.
It happened during one of their huddles inside the camp when his housemates asked him about the “75%” of himself that he had not shown yet to them, as he revealed in one of their open fora that he was only displaying his “25%”. He imparted how he used to be afraid to be judged and criticized by the people around him, so he was ashamed and afraid to expose his true self. Yet he’s grateful for his family, especially to his parents, who fully accepted him without having to tell them that he is gay.
“The possibilities sa gender are infinite. Just because hindi ka akma sa pananaw natin kung ano ang lalaki o babae, gaya ng ginagawa ni Mae (one of their housemates), frowned upon ka. Just respect choices.”
This was what Sky said during one of his insightful discussions with his PBB Otso housemates about his gender. Through that, as well as with his conversation with Big Brother inside the confession room, he was able to further introduce himself and school everyone about the important topic of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE).
“Now, I see myself as a heterosexual male. But if you would ask me Kuya if I’m open to maybe falling in love to another man, to gay person, a lesbian, I don’t see anything wrong about that, Kuya. Ayoko po maging biktima ng mga labels, ayoko pong maging parte ng pagvi-victimize ng ibang tao. So if you ask me, Kuya, I’ll be open,” the “Summa Cum Lau-bae ng Tarlac” stated.
Are we going to see shocking, touching, and excitement moments like this in the upcoming PBB Connect edition? Well, that’s for us to find out!