‘Walang mali sa atin:’ FEU alum boosts femme visibility in ‘Sparks Camp’

FEU Advocate
June 27, 2024 20:04

By Mark Vincent A. Durano

Through the lens of the LGBTQIA+ community, you could spot the uncertainty of thrilling love often twisted in proud and loud colors. But for Miguel John “Miggy” Ruallo, a Far Eastern University (FEU) alum, his participation in Sparks Camp Season 2 aims to foster acceptance and appreciation especially for those mocked as halata.

Ruallo is one of the eight campers seeking to find a ‘spark’ in the queer dating reality show which premiered yesterday, June 26.

He graduated from FEU with a bachelor’s degree in Communication under Digital Cinema Track last 2023.

Standing one's ground with pinkies out

On top of gender discrimination, the search to find one’s other half remains in a shadow for queer folks who express themselves with more femininity.

In an exclusive interview with FEU Advocate, Ruallo challenges societal norms that narrow one’s true gender expression in the context of dating.

“We deserve to love and also be loved. Femme gays can also be deemed as a potential partner. As long as you’re being authentic to yourself, you can find a spark whether inside or outside the camp. We don’t have to deepen our voices or wear gender-conforming clothes to attract a partner,” he said.

Despite initiatives to push for gender sensitivity, the LGBTQIA+ community caught itself in a disparity for favoring mutual masculine relationships, often rejecting someone who acts, looks, or sounds like what is dictated by societal norms as ‘not manly.’

Preferences and standards are inevitable aspects when venturing into the dating scene. However, effeminate members of the community still struggle with acceptance along with harsh treatment. 

“Let’s be honest, there’s still a lot of judgment with femme gays. I don’t think we are being appreciated enough just because we are ‘halata’ (effeminate). We are still being ridiculed while the masc-presenting gays are being put on a pedestal,” Ruallo said.

Even if queer feminine icons like co-Tamaraw Vice Ganda have established a name in the showbiz industry, comedy was deemed as a righteous path for a feminine gay person.

Meanwhile, early Filipino television usually accounted for heterosexuals curbing media representation for gay kids growing up, including Miggy.

“As someone who grew up with little to no representation in media, I want to prove [to] them that we are also loveable and there is more to us than being the butt of the joke. I also want the little gays to know that it’s okay to be feminine,” he shared.

Seizing the waves, parang Islang Pantropiko

The ‘Pretty Boy from Las Piñas’ described his Sparks Camp journey as cathartic; an emotional ride across a tide of laughter, kilig, tears, and revelations. 

“Being there has been the most exciting and emotional thing that has happened to me yet… The camp experience was really fun, and lots of tears were shed (as seen on the trailer), but I had a marvelous time,” he added.

What Miggy and his friends dub as ‘the Gayest University’ in U-Belt, the rainbow-painted bricks of FEU paved his own runway that progresses liberated self-expression.

“Before entering the University, I was so ashamed of my voice. Being immersed in [a] community that is so loving and welcoming, made me love my insecurity. Surrounded by people who are known to break the barriers, made me embrace my true and authentic self,” Ruallo expressed.

The former Comm student also hopes to make the FEU queer community proud.

“Especially sa mga sissy kong nasasabihan ng ‘Pass sa halata,’ walang mali sa atin. Wala tayong dapat baguhin sa sarili natin (Especially to my sisters who were told ‘Pass to effeminates,’ there is nothing wrong with us. We do not need to change anything about ourselves),” he said.

While opening his heart once again, Miggy embraces his strong feminine energy to dignify the pretty boys once ridiculed for their self-expression.

Sparks Camp Season 2 will air via the Black Sheep YouTube channel every Wednesday at 8 p.m.

(Photo courtesy of Black Sheep Facebook page)