Category Archives: Personal

Personal: Good Girls Don’t Wear suits and Ties: My Life As A Gender Non Conforming Person

Joaquin Tenedora-Forte
July 7, 2016


Human beings have a way to make you feel unwelcome by their glances or their words. Since I was a little kid I did not fit in to the gender box of being a girl, oh by the way I am a girl and also have some people would deem a disability as I wrote on the eve of christmas eve, last year I have cerebral palsy yes double minority, for me that is really hard especially growing up.

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I grew up in a moderately catholic home in the Philippines, my parents with my mom a university professor and my father a businessman, I have one younger sister. my first memory of being gender non-conforming is hating barbie dolls, my knee jerk reaction is that I hated their hair, and I was about four. When I was about six years old my parents bought me mega blocks for my birthday. My sister and I played with it for at least seven years. I was always the boy character in our made-believe land.


As I grow older I notice, I became more uncomfortable in girls outfits. in fact the last time I wore a dress at the mall is when I was 10 years old.  Also with my school uniform. I always have crushes on my boy classmates, but when I was 13 and in Grade six I became noticing a girl classmate, she is cute and our class valedictorian. I never made something of it.


Christmas was always been a special day for my family, but their is this one christmas I had vivid memories of. (here’s the deal, Filipinos open gifts on christmas eve,) so I opened my presents, I look at my seven year old nephew’s gifts and I started tearing up, because I never gotten what I wanted but what I wanted is the toys he had. It will be so embarrassing for me to cry so I held my tears up.


At around fourteen, my baby cousin is two and he began learning his words. As a gender non conforming kid, I was always wearing typical  boy clothing. he will call me Kuya, Kuya is a tagalog word for older  brother, cousin or whatever. Of course my aunt and uncle is not thrilled with me. As if I was confusing their son. looking back on it my responds will be, is their a problem, and you should be teaching your kid about acceptance. But they will never do that because they are evangelical christians.

When I was 16 years old, my school had a prom, my 3rd year in high school. I was not planning on going to this prom because I am not wearing a gown!. My dad ask my principal if I could wear something else. the principal said Yes. And I wore a suit to the prom. When I wore that I felt so good about myself. But years after the prom i fell so ashamed, until recently, I said to myself there is nothing to feel ashamed about, that’s who I am.


My family had been so awesome to me especially my mom and my dad  after high school graduation they enrolled me in my mom’s former school, my first reaction (an open university type deal) where in you do your assignments at home and will email it to your teachers, I hated it at first, but today I love the freedom of expression I get from not being a subject to gender norms.


If I will thank someone who will it be, it will be my grandmother, who when one christmas I was wearing a vest and a tie. And my mom was talking to her about me. She turn to my mom and said. Ning, that’s okay, she looks good. My grandmother is the one who bought me all the boy shirts when I was a kid. She is so awesome.

If I have an advice for people who are like me or who have children like me just let your children be themselves. And the world will catch up with your identities, because you are born this way and people who say is not your friends.

Lastly, to makes things clear the name Joaquin is not my actual birth name but the last name is. since 2 years ago I have been using it. After my sister and I was talking to my dad about names if we were boys he said that he would name me Joaquin, so I started using the name.

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Why I believe in a god

Joaquin Tenedora-Forte 
February 12, 2016
This week I was re-watching one of my favorite documentaries on the history channel called The History of the World in two hours. You all know I am non religious but I really have a sense of believe in a god. This is because of this film. For me a god does not control the world. He almost is an absent parent who made you but he is not there.


One of the reasons why I believe in a god is how the world is so organized. The thing Is that how organized space is . When the Big Bang happened and the stars formed and died, the stars creates minerals, like gold and silver, like that. The stars died and millions of years later we came it was all here. People say that people who are non religious do not find amazement in the world, no. that is simply not true, I find amazement every single day.

It is so amazing to me that the fuel I use every day came from fossil fuel that came from the dinosaurs. It is amazing to me how the world had oxygen that we breath. It amazed me every day that even if the space is a harsh place our planet is still here. It amazed me every day that even though everything that happened to us that we are standing loud and clear.

For me God is a god of every and any religion. Not a Christian God or Allah or a Jewish god or Buddha. For me God is everywhere, not just in your bedroom or in pictures or churches. People should be able to use their religion as a way to unite people not to divide. 

Finally, people should be able to believe what ever they want when ever you want. Do you, also for me the only thing that I will ask from people is that you should respectful of people’s religious rights and non religiously.

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My Thoughts On The Bible

Joaquin Tenedora-Forte February 5, 2016

Over the weekend I was watching “Lincoln” an academy award winning film on the great president Abraham Lincoln, and the American Civil War. I notice that the Democratic Party who is the conservatives back then, they are arguing for slavery. Their argument is that gods law i.e. The bible, ‘ they said that this is god’s natural law, and that by arguing against the biblical law that the world Is going to end.

The problem with their argument is that the United States constitution states that the government will not support a particular religious sec. I digress, the bible is wrong about many things. Like for example, homosexuality, how come two people of the same gender can not love each other. They are not even hurting other people, this had been my biggest turn off on Christianity.

The bible is a contradicting book in the old and the New Testament alike. People should not be basing their lives in this 2000 year old holy book. It should be read with a grain of salt. Like a science book from years ago. The thing is that I do not hate the bible or Christianity, I am just pointing out the problematic things in the book. 

For me you do not need a holy book to be a good, moral human being, this is not coming from me this is coming from scientists who researched this thing. People should be about look at the bible as well. I do not see the bible as a literal word from god, if it is, then the book will focus on love and not hate. The problem is the this bible is controlling people’s hearts and minds.

Lastly, I urge people to read the whole book and see how pathetic the people who read it is. The bible is written by men of course this will have some mistakes. Finally, people can twist the bible in its heads and see the results that they wanted to read. 

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My thoughts on the Catholic Church 

Joaquin Tenedora-Forte
 February 3, 2016

Warning: this is a rant and this is my opinion and my opinion alone

As you probably know by reading my why I am not religious post, I was born and raised in the Catholic Church. I was baptized and confirm as a Catholic. I am not religious. But I believe in a god. I think that being in church do harm than good. I will not criticize the Catholic doctrine but their practices within the Catholic Church.

There is a wide spread corruption within the Catholic Church since the beginning of the church. There are church’s that are not built and even if they are it takes a long time. Why are Catholic Church school’s not free, it should be, they have billions of dollars of cash and millions more in vestments and memorabilia from the fourteen to the sixteenth century. 

In 2011, there is this horrible story coming from Ireland, there is this woman who had a toxic pregnancy. She wanted an abortion. Since Ireland is a predominantly catholic country, the lady wasn’t given an abortion She and her ended up dying days later, leaving her husband and young child behind. 

I want to talk about the big elephant in the room, the sex abuse scandal. This is I think because of the massive rejection of sex within the Catholic Church. Because they have the belief that Jesus was celibate. Look, if you suppressed your natural sexual urges then, you will have people that behind closed doors are doing sinful things. The problem is when young children are raped by priests. Then we have a crime. 

Lastly, for me one of the biggest turn offs of the Catholic Church is their treatment of homosexuality and divorce. As a gay rights activist, I believe in the rights for people to get married weather, gay or straight. I still love the Catholic culture. I just do not want to hear some people, priest speak about questionable things. 


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The band that change my life; the Beatles 

Joaquin Tenedora-Forte 

January 29, 2015

  As you probably know when I wrote a birthday tribute to John that I love the Beatles, they are such a intricate part of my life. I listen to their music a lot. They have been a big part of teenage years. Today, I want to write a letter to Paul McCartney and say how the band change my life. 

Dear, Paul:

           I know people writes to you and Ringo all the time, that’s why In 2008 Ringo said no mail, peace and love. But what I want to say is that the Beatles had such an influence in me and my life. John, specially he was the first person that I really connect with in a spiritual level. 

          Paul, because John is such a miss fit through out his life, I felt a sense of connection with him as a person. In many ways I am like him. When I was in school my grades are low. I know that I am a smart person in some reason I cannot get that grades high enough. It’s though. John was a genius, but he really find it hard to get good grades too. 

       Paul, you wrote my favorite Beatle and probably my favorite song ever, Hey Jude. The story of that song to me is so amazing. In case you did not know, Paul wrote at least the first stanza for Julian Lennon (John’s son) after he and his first wife were divorcing. 

      The Beatles had such an influence on me as a person. I never thought of the Beatles as changing my life but they did. John’s song Imagine is really one of the best songs of all time. The lyrics is good, it’s representing the struggle for peace.

       Paul, The Beatles is the best band ever, you made a huge impact on me. I will never be the person that I am today if it’s not because of the Beatles. I love you guys all.

Yours truly,

Joaquin Tenedora-Forte 

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Personal essay: Why I am not religious 

Joaquin Tenedora-Forte

 January 11, 2016


I was born into, and grow up in a moderately religious Catholic household, religion is so much a part of my life. I was confirm. But my mom who is a college professor is open minded enough, that when I told her that I do not want to go to church unless it’s Christmas Eve or Easter, she said no problem. Here are three reasons why I am not religious.

  1. It is not factual: There is a reason why religion is not science, it is just faith. Scientists do not just say things, for example, the theory of evolution; we came from apes. They need to study it, for multiple years or even decades just to say it. In religion they can just say it and then people will believe it, like Adam and Eve.
  2. The Catholic Church child molestation cases: this is really bad, the Catholic Church hid it from plain sight. Pope Benedict XVI never acknowledged that this is happening in the Church, however the current pope, Pope Francis, had apologized to the victims it did not change my thoughts on the matter. Because of their doctrine of abstinence only for their priest, because that is what they believe Jesus is, a virgin. Sex is a part of the human condition. 
  3. I am a liberal: all though I know that a lot of liberals are Christian. What I believe in does not jive with what the church think about for example marriage. I believe that if you love each other you can should be able to get married. I know that the Catholic Church will never allow marriage equality.

Lastly, I want to clear something up, I am not an atheist, I still believe in god, I still pray to God. I do not want to hear some incorrect information. finally. Where do you get your morals from, simple answer the golden rule: Do not do to others as you do not like others to do to you. It just makes perfect sense.

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My life with cerebral palsy 

Joaquin Tenedora-Forte 
December 23, 2015
      YouTube is a great platform that I want to be able to do, this is a speech I wrote last week. Explaining why I can not do YouTube….
     Did you notice how I walk, how I talk, that is because of a developmental disorder due to a luck of oxygen to the brain. What condition am I talking about, It is cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is a brain injury occurring before, during or shortly after birth. CP is one of the most common developmental disabilities in children affecting one in every eight hundred live births. 
       By the way my name is Joaquin, I was born with cerebral palsy and everyday of my life it affects me. The way I talk and the fear of falling down. I have a milder case of CP. Cerebral palsy is a spectrum disorder from mild, moderate, sever or profound. People with cerebral palsy can have profound mental disabilities. But lucky for me, I am a smart person. 
     My cerebral palsy affects how I talk, i have a spastic type that affects the left side of my body greater than my right side. But my memory and intelligence is normal. I am very conscious of talking in public because of my cerebral palsy, I will not order food from restaurants, or even ask help from people at supermarkets.
     The most frustrating thing about having CP is when people look down at me, and talk to me as a young child, which I am not a child. I am 23, talk to me as an adult. We are not virtual children. People like me are smart and we can contribute to the greater good of the world. 
      By the way, I want to do my favorite buzzfeed videos, when they take people for example, who are bisexual, they will say who they are and who they are not. So this is it, I have cerebral palsy, but I am not dumb, but I am an artist, I am a writer, I want to be a filmmaker. I want to change the world.  
      Finally, people with cerebral palsy are diverse. Just keep that in mind when you see people like me. Thank you very much, have a great day.

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