How did Rain get here? Her story started years prior, but the passing of her baby brother, Josh, in 2015 is what triggered her to live her life… her way.
No more waiting. Live your life now. Life is too short.
And just like that, “Rain” was officially “born.” This time, legally.
Growing up, Rain always knew she was different. Back then, the LGBTQ community wasn’t as evolved as it is now. It seemed like being gay or being a drag queen were the only options she could choose from. Rain didn’t identify with either. But Rain knew since her early high school years that she identified as a woman, even though her outward appearance said otherwise.
In high school, Rain experienced her fair share of bullying. She felt like she had to hide her emotions. If she was angry or hurt by her peer’s bullying and taunting words, she would go somewhere private where she could cry out by herself. When people would ask if she was okay, she’d play it off and swear that everything was fine. Even though she truly felt like the joke was on her. Rain felt like she was an easy target back then because she was the, “obese gay boy,” that only hung out with girls and focused on academia. High school Rain has been called every degrading name there is to label a feminine male.
Unfortunately, Rain was incredibly shy and never spoke back to her bullies. She just accepted the taunting and knew that it would all eventually pass. The bullying just made it more apparent that she was different, and she was curious as to why she felt so out of place. Through all the bullying and her ruthless peers, Rain does remember one classmate in particular. She remembers him not because he was an asshole to her, but because he was the only one that wasn’t. His name was Jordan. He was one of the popular guys at school. All of Jordan’s friends would make fun of Rain and go out of their way to be mean to her. But she remembers vividly how Jordan showed her compassion and kindness. He would wave to her and say what’s up in the hallways, and would smile at her whenever they saw each other. He was a friendly peer that didn’t give Rain a hard time for just being herself. Unfortunately, Jordan passed away tragically before she graduated, but Rain remembers how his kindness meant so much to her during a very difficult time in her life.
“It meant a lot to me because many can hurt you, but it takes 1 to heal you completely,” Rain shares.
High school was the beginning stages of Rain finding herself. She knew that her parents had a hunch about her sexuality, but she never revealed to them how she identified as a female. That all changed on Prom night. Prom night – a staple night for a high school student. Rain remembers her prom night as the day she came out to her parents.
Right before Rain was going to go off to her prom, her parents sat her down in their backyard in Hayward. Her dad calmly asked if she was gay and liked boys, and if she has ever done anything with a boy before. Rain finally revealed to her parents that she was attracted to men, but she didn’t have any experience with them. A weight was lifted off Rain’s shoulders. She could see on her dad’s face that he was relieved that the talk was quick and to the point.
Her parents accepted her, they already had a feeling that Rain was “gay.” Rain admitted to being “gay” to her parents at the time because she wasn’t totally sure how to identify. All she knew was that she was attracted to men and felt like a woman. She looks back and laughs at how obvious it was that she was attracted to men, and that her parents had to have known. She was obsessed with boy bands like The Backstreet Boys and NSYNC, and is embarrassed at how much money she spent on “those boys.” Since she was open with her dad about not having any romantic experiences with men, she gained her parents’ trust. They were more concerned for her safety and how she carried herself.
You know how movies depict prom night as a magical, important, and life changing event in a teen’s life? Well, that was true for Rain. Not in the traditional aspect, she didn’t fall inlove and get her first kiss from her crush, like how Hollywood depicts it. But prom did change Rain forever. That night, she fell in love with herself.
At the actual event, she dressed in men’s clothing, feeling completely uncomfortable and not herself. After prom, Rain and her friends hit up the after parties. That night, she borrowed her friend’s plus-sized dress and boots, and they took over the night. She felt exhilarated. She never felt more like herself. Rain and her friends took the after party to a strip club in San Francisco. There she was, in a strip club surrounded by men in a dress and boots, passing with flying colors as a woman.
“It was so much fun because I never felt so good about myself,” Rain explains while remembering that night she dressed in women’s clothing for the first time. “I seriously felt like the woman I’ve always wanted to be.”
That night, Rain found herself. She always felt different and couldn’t put her finger on what would make her happy. But this was it. Being a woman made Rain happy. And from that day on, she dressed as a woman. She felt so good about herself, she didn’t want to hide anymore. She wasn’t afraid of what her family would say or think, or how strangers would react. She showed up to her family’s barbecue party in a skirt, boots, and makeup. She felt on top of the world, and didn’t want to keep it a secret, she wanted everyone to know who the real Rain was.
In her early college years, Rain tried to perfect her look. She dressed like a woman, wore makeup, and presented and introduced herself as a woman. Around this time is when she met her community of friends that were just like her. Rain’s uncle owned a restaurant/ club in South San Francisco called, “Solita’s.” A lot of comedians from the Philippines would perform on stage and do live shows at the club. This restaurant/ club scene brought in so many different audiences.
Solita’s is where Rain met a lot of her transgender friends. Solita’s welcomed the LGBTQ community with open arms. Rain quickly realized that many of them struggled to find work because they were being discriminated against because of their outward appearance and mannerisms. A lot of these transgender women were underground prostitutes, and that’s how they made their living. Their clients were usually heterosexual men who wanted to experiment with transgender women. Rain connected with a transgender woman at Solita’s who opened her eyes to the transgender world. One night Rain caught her friend making out with a guy outside of the club, she was intrigued, and wanted to learn more. She pondered on how her friend got a straight man.
Through this transition, Rain’s family supported her. Her mom and aunts bought her clothes, designer bags, bras, underwear, and other material things that showed that they were on board with Rain dressing up as a woman. Still, Rain felt like she had to be secretive with her personal life. She didn’t want her family to think that she was sleeping around and not doing things the “right way.” She never rebelled against her parents, she would sometimes push back with her choices in life, but for the most part she obeyed. Keeping her parents’ trust is something very important to her.
When it came to dating, Rain admits that she turned to the internet back in the day because it was easier to talk to men. Also, it was a lot safer because through her online categories and bio, it would tell her matches who she really was. She isn’t a fan of wasting time, so the internet was a way for her to express exactly what it is she was looking for. However, she quickly realized that the internet dating world wasn’t for her. Nowadays, Rain finds herself trying to connect with men in real life. Rain prefers to meet up with love interests in very public meet up spots. She knows a lot of her transgender friends would rather have an intimate setting, but for her own safety, Rain wants to be in a public area.
“When dating, we text each other to meet in well crowded public places, but then again I really don’t have a lot of experiences on dates,” Rain explains. “It’s mostly with guy friends or one on one with the ones I’ve known for a while.”
When she’s dating and knows something is getting serious, Rain will reveal to her partner that she is a transgender woman. But for the most part, she doesn’t say anything right off the bat because she wants to be judged as a regular human being. However, she plans to be very transparent about herself with future love interests because she believes they should know the truth. In her experience, most of the time they don’t ask, almost a kind’ve known topic that doesn’t need confirmation.
“As I get more confident, those days are so gone,” she explains when talking about online dating. “When I meet someone in person, like at work, they never ask me unless it’s going somewhere. Basically I want to ‘go with the flow’ and just be human. After all I ain’t an easy person – meaning I ain’t a hoe. My motive here is get to know him and see where it leads to. Now, if it’s going somewhere best believe I’ll break the ice and say ‘hey, sorry babe, but I’m transgender,’ so that it’s fair for the men. But nowadays most men don’t ask, they simply respect the way I want to be treated. I know for a fact they know of me, yet they still pursue me in a level of friendship or even intimacy.”
One thing that Rain takes very seriously is how she is perceived. She carries herself with high esteem and refuses to be a man’s fetish. She has heard of countless stories where trans women are used for financial gain, sexual curiosities, and just used to achieve someone else’s fantasies. And that’s not what Rain wants for herself. She knows herself well enough to know that she falls inlove fast. She wants to protect her heart, and guard her well-being.
“I just don’t wanna be jumping around with different men when I only want to focus on one,” she explains. “I want to save myself for someone who deserves me. I don’t want to live up to their lifestyle of just always looking for sex sex sex. I want to be different. I want to enjoy a meaningful safe life where its not all about being desired. I want someone to have deep conversations with, a simple dinner and movie, good laughs, holding hands in public without shame and without having to hide from anyone, and be able to show affection towards him with no hesitation.”
According to Rain, men treat her with respect and like a lady. She believes its because of the boundaries that she sets. She knows that she sets the precident for how she should be treated. But to her, it’s not about feeling desired from men. Rain doesn’t want a man so she can start loving herself, she wants to be content with herself first, fall in love with herself first, and a man’s love can come second. All she wants is to be happy with herself, content with her life, and most importantly travel the world.
Rain is the eldest of 5 children. When her youngest sibling, Josh, passed away tragically in 2015, Rain’s world fell apart. She was very close to Josh, and shared that older sister motherly bond with him. They shared a lot of the same interests, like food and anime. Josh was 16 when he passed away, and this tragedy changed Rain’s view on life completely.
“I believe if Josh was still alive he’d live his life the way he would have (wanted),” Rain says remembering her baby brother. “Imagine, a 16 year old in 2nd year college at Skyline, about to transfer to a university. A BSN major and minor in psychology; a life that I would love to have for myself. I’m so proud of him. I look up to him more than my own self. His teenage years I was there. He was my baby, I helped nurture him, understand him, guide him, and spend time with him. Josh and I were never selfish, we always care for our loved ones. When he passed, I chose to be a little bit more selfish for myself so I can fulfill his legacy, a promise to live the life I’ve always been wanting. When Josh died, I told myself, ‘That’s it, lets make it Rain!'”
After Josh’s passing, Rain decided to legally change her name. Her friends referred to her as “Rain” since high school / early college. However, her parents and family still referred to her by her birth name. When Rain legally changed her name, her parents and family had no choice but to comply. She filed for her legal name change, did her vows, and got the official document. To her, she did it the “right way,” by not rebelling and causing a scene, but by doing it legally and respectfully.
Why the name Rain? In the Play Station game “Galerians,” there is a character named Rainheart. She fell inlove with the powerful boss who is psychic and plus sized. But also because she loves cold weather, water, and the ocean. To her, Rain is a majestic and powerful name that she identifies with. Her family didn’t see it as the death of the man they once knew. They were just happy that they raised Rain to be a respectable human who kept the morals and values that her parents taught her.
Not only did Rain legally change her name after her brother’s death, but she also made the decision to transition. She is taking hormone pills, and plans to get her reassignment surgery done this July or August. Her family was supportive up until this moment. They believed that legally changing her name to Rain was enough. They felt like she didn’t need to do the reassignment surgery. But this is something that Rain has been wanting, and she’s doing it for her own happiness. Her family was against her getting a legal sex change because they are worried for her safety. They’re scared of all the sexually transmitted diseases that are out there. Her family knows people that have died from HIV/AIDS, so they are very weary. They are also worried about the complications that can go wrong during surgery. Not only did her family not agree at first, but her fellow transgender friends were not in favor either.
Her friends believed that Rain should keep her “parts,” and just use anal and oral sex. She is irked at the thought of her fellow transgender friends being so controlling on how the “transgender life should be.” Her friends were encouraging her to just use anal and oral sex to gain a reputation for herself, but Rain refuses. Her decision to have a vagina is completely her choice and something she’s been wanting to do for a while. She remains true to herself and her beliefs, though it might not be what her friends want for her. But she let’s her friends live their lives the way they want, and asks for the same respect with the choices she decides to make.
Right now, Rain is taking all the necessary hormone pills to stay on track for reassignment surgery in the Fall. The hormones in these pills sometimes makes Rain depressed, have mood swings, sweat more, and gives her a period every 2 weeks.
“Besides my high blood pressure pills, diabetic pills, here’s my hormone therapy pills,” she explains. “Spirolactin is a medicine to decrease testosterone level so that the estradiol pills works through my blood stream to increase my estrogen level. That I’ll be taking for the rest of my life.”
Rain admits that being a woman is tough work! Sometimes she thinks to herself why she chose this path, since the transition can be sometimes hard on her. She finds it tough that women have to be so concerned about their outward appearance, whether that be beauty, weight, etc. But then she remembers why she’s doing it. She identifies as a woman and feels the most like herself when she presents herself as a female. Everything she is doing if for her own happiness. And her dedication and bravery is nothing short of admirable and inspirational.
It took her some time to figure out who she was as a person. But that journey is what made her who she is today. When asked if she could give advice to younger Rain, this is what she had to say:
“(For) younger Rain, I’d tell myself: ‘Bitch, live now live everyday you only die once! Rain, so many opportunities you missed because you over think what others think of you… Don’t get stuck, if you feel like a real woman by all means make a goal to make it happen. See the world once you start making an income and while you’re young. Fall in love with yourself first before you fall for someone else because it’ll mentally destroy you! Stay healthy and be wise, research if you have time, if you have time to post on Facebook, bitch you have time to do homework and other important things! Take good care of yourself, pursue the happiness you’ve always wanted! Take care good of your siblings and your parents but spare time for yourself. Rain, me time is very important, it becomes a necessity not an option! Explore your world of adventures. Don’t wait for no one, let them be and they’ll follow once you show them what it is like to be one with the world. Clubs and loud music eventually will get over rated! Don’t get into a relationship just to be happy; be in a relationship with God and he will show you happiness! Always stay positive, always challenge yourself, be mindful before you react, actions are more valuable then words. Be humble, be honest, be nice, be calm, and be brave always… another thing count your blessings not the materialistic things!'”
She knows that there are some haters out there that don’t agree with the LGBTQ community. But her message is this:
“Above all else educate those who lack (knowledge) of our existence. I need for the community to know yes we do exist and will continue to co-exist until we are accepted peacefully. There’s still violence and discrimination out there about my transgender community, but we are doing our best to educate those who want further understanding of our world. Its also our job for my fellow trans to educate ourselves on how to better our future without having a war, remember we are accepted, respected, and acknowledge but to what extent if we ourselves don’t prove to those who want to know us. Let us change history to exist peacefully, in harmony, and in balance for everyone to have an open mind.”
When life threw her a curve ball, she made it Rain, full force. She has remained true to herself, ignoring other people’s desires and wants for her life. She is on a mission to live her life her way, and to do whatever it takes to make that happen.