Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

“From Asog to Bakla to Transpinay: Weaving a complex history of transness and decolonizing the future.”


As we look into the last five hundred years of our history in the Philippines, it is profoundly challenging to trace the history of transness and queerness. However, it cannot be denied that in our pre-colonial times, our society was more matriarchal as well as inclusive and celebratory of otherness. The baylans or asogs as usually referred to in the Visayan are reflective of our transgendered past. They were shamans and leaders, revered and feared. But the colonial years seemingly decimated them, erased, silenced. Then later the bakla became the narrative of post-colonial queerness. Then in the age of intersectional feminism, transpinays claimed visibility in various spaces, which sometimes celebrate her but mostly harmed her. This editorial attempts to weave a complex history of transness and explore our narratives within Philippine society where identity politics is amnesiac of our glorious queer past, selfish of our repressed present and unaffected of our uncertain future. As a transpinay, I position myself among these narratives and speak from the power of the truth as well as weave a tapestry of transcendent transgender experiences that bravely begins to decolonize their future.


Keywords: Asogs, babaylans, transpinay, bakla,

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View