- September 29, 2023 17:02
By Angelic Mizpah Chaste C. Bulanhagui
All the world is a stage, and each life is a performance marked by decisions— the biggest of which involves taking charge of its choreography.
Walking the border between masculinity and femininity gave Matrix Katindig the flair and graces of a professional dancer. His quest to find a gender identity and subsequent stability is a balancing act which took years to achieve.
In his hand, he holds the means to achieve his career goal—dancing. Spinning to the tunes of the Institute of Arts and Science (IAS) Dance Company and Far Eastern University (FEU) Dance Company, Katindig also drops to the beat with the local dance group A-Team to compete in national and international dance competitions.
For most, being granted a scholarship to do what they love is a dream come true; and it was amid the courtship between music and movement that Katindig found solace to counter pent-up stress. More importantly, dancing helped him discover more about himself as choreography blurred boundaries of the binary gender.
“Kapag dancer ka, ang sayaw dapat walang gender so kung ang binigay sa’yo ay pambabaeng sayaw, kailangan mo mag-commit. Kung panglalaki, kailangan mo mag-commit regardless of your gender (When you are a dancer, the dance should not have a gender so you have to commit if you are given a feminine dance. If masculine, you have to commit regardless of your gender),” he stated.
It was Katindig’s comfortable sway to the feminine side of dancing that served undercurrent to the gender crisis he faced. Above it were low, anguished tunes fed by heartbreak with an ex-girlfriend and warm confessions from a boy, that cleared the dancer’s confusion.
One of the things that changed was how he presented himself to others. Where the 19-year-old dance aficionado once hesitated to express his sense of humor for fear of others thinking that it was not appropriate for his gender, he now freely makes jokes that entertains his friends despite it being "below the belt”.
With a growing circle of friends attracted by the ease he presents himself, one would find hard to believe the monsters Katindig’s closet once held.
As a child, the concept of gender fluidity was as foreign as can be. Neither a complete hit or miss, he became downhearted.
Like dust collecting over time, bogeyman after bogeyman filed into the young dancer’s closet—the worst of which were gender stereotypes and roles. While he crushed on girls, Katindig preferred to stay at home as opposed to playing basketball and computer games.
Raging confusion kept him awake at night, with thoughts of being rejected by friends eating his mind. When he was called crazy after asking for help with his mental illness, the young lad realized that he had to depend on himself— coming out as bisexual during last year’s Pride March. He decided to light his own candle in the darkness.
“Gusto ko nalang i-build up ‘yung personality ko na malakas. ‘Yun talaga ‘yung term—na malakas. Independent para if ever man na gumuho ulit ‘yung mundo ko, mag-black out na naman ako, at least kahit papaano ako sa sarili ko kaya kong iangat. Na hindi ko kailangan na maghanap ng ilaw ng iba—ako mismo ang magsisindi ng ilaw ko (I want to build my personality to be strong. That’s really the term—strong. Independent so if ever my world crumbles again, if I black out again, at least somehow, I’ll be able to get up—that I don’t have to look for others’ light, I can light my own),” Katindig affirmed.
Defined choreography offered a reprieve from the emotional toss-and-sway of this experience, and he considered taking a degree in Performing Arts.
However, the dancer’s desire to emphasize the role of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) in the community through film-making was a higher calling he responded to.
Drawing from this, the dancer believes the LGBT community is only tolerated as opposed to accepted in society, as he wanted. LGBT awareness or Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE), Pride March, same-sex marriage and other LGBT rights are some of the things he opines on social media.
If Katindig’s most-asked question on social networking site Curious Cat— advice for coming out—is any indication, the 19-year-old’s acceptance in the community at large is a step many wish to take.
Fear for lack of acceptance is a big ground for LGBT members to keep the doors closed on their colors. Acknowledging this, Katindig encouraged, “Mag-come out [ka] para sa sarili, para mas lalo mahalin ‘yung sarili, hindi para mas lalo mahalin ng mga tao na nasa paligid (Come out for oneself, to love oneself better, not for others around to love you better.)”
Hands on the dance of his life, Katindig spins and sways as he sees fit. His act has just begun and he powers on with braveness for which acceptance has rewarded him.
(Photo by Andrei Enrico / Layout by Antonio Imperial)