FEU Comm student exemplifies grit, determination amid pandemic

FEU Advocate
September 13, 2020 07:35

By Arabella Rochynne C. Asis and Ma. Emilia Nicole D. Bertulfo
Photo from Jayper Palma's Facebook profile

Far Eastern University (FEU) Communication student Jayper Palma proved how multifaceted Tamaraws can be.

Palma recently joined a TV singing tilt which earned him massive support from his fellow Tamaraws after winning the daily round in Tawag ng Tanghalan (TNT) last September 1. 

In an online interview with FEU Advocate, Palma shared how the app TikTok paved his way to TNT, "One time, I did a ‘duet’ video, it blew up and some famous TikTok creators and even singers did a duet with my video." 

Prior to joining TNT this year, he revealed that he auditioned back in 2016 in the same contest as well as in The Voice Teens in 2017. Despite not making it, he decided to trust his passion in performing again.

"TNT is a big competition and it was a huge honor for me just to be there, and compete. I won pa, and nakaabot pa hanggang top two sa weekly finals (I even won and reached top two for weekly finals). One for the books talaga (Definitely one for the books)," he expressed.

Aside from Palma’s undoubted sheer talent in singing, he also developed a deep passion for make-up transformations — the ability to transform into different personas using make-up alone. 

Similar to painting a blank canvas, his interest in make-up started in 2016 as he was an avid follower of Nikkietutorials on YouTube. Most of his works and styles drew inspiration from other famous beauty gurus namely Patrick Starrr, Bretman Rock, and James Charles.

Through this form of self-expression, Palma said he finds joy looking at himself in a mirror and watching the beautiful process of transformation. However, he said that his passion for make-up often strikes “weird stares and looks” from people. 

Despite the lurking eyes and preconceived judgments, make-up artistry for him unveils his most genuine and authentic self without hiding his true colors and compromising his identity.

“I love the fact that makeup does not really mask or hide who I am, it actually shows me who I really am. It gives me confidence, it makes me feel like I can do anything,” Palma shared.

Palma openly identifies himself as part of the LGBTQIA+ community. But to walk in his shoes and freely live his truth comes with personal struggles and stories of discrimination.  

“People tend to not take us seriously. Ang stigma naman kase is that kapag bading, nakakatawa (The stigma is when you are gay, you are funny). I have that side, pero minsan kapag seryoso ka na, ‘di ka pa rin seseryosohin (but sometimes even if you are serious, they will still not take you seriously),” he said.

As a staunch advocate of LGBTQIA+ rights himself, Palma believes that while Filipinos have generally become more accepting of the LGBTQIA+ community, the roads ahead are long and rough. He firmly believes that the battle against prejudice and bigotry should not only be championed by the LGBTQIA+ community alone, but by everyone who values inclusivity and diversity. 

Palma further shared the great need to recognize LGBTQIA+ rights as universal human rights for he thinks the community should not be entitled to less or more rights than others.

“Many people still think that we don’t deserve the rights that we demand. Sa tingin nila, (they think) we are asking for too much, whereas, the rights that we are fighting for is human rights. Hindi naman namin gustong lumamang, gusto lang namin pumantay (We do not want to take advantage, all we want is equality),” Palma voiced out.

Palma also emphasized the need to break down stereotypes and misconstrued societal representation of the LGBTQIA+ community. He believes that the community is more than the face of the entertainment industry and beyond the usual presentation as comic reliefs. 

Far off from the community’s flawed social personification as “laughing stocks”, Palma believes the LGBTQIA+’s job opportunities should not only be limited to being a hairdresser, working at a salon, or being a comedian for they too rightfully deserve the same chances and equal opportunities to prove themselves.

With social acceptance of LGBTQIA+ still not fully embraced, Palma encourages other members of the community to “just keep going” despite the felt exclusion they are experiencing.

Sabi nga ni RuPaul (Like what RuPaul said), we as gay people, we get to choose our family. We are family. Kahit na hindi ka tanggap ng sarili mong pamilya, as long as tanggap mo sarili mo (Even though your own family does not accept you, as long as you accept yourself), that’s it. You’ve got a whole rainbow community behind you,” Palma reassures.