A Late Bloomer's Tale: Ychan Laurenz's Journey to Self-Acceptance and Love

Jun 30, 2023 0 comments
In a world where everyone feels entitled to their opinions, it can be quite challenging to be proud and loud about who you are. The journey toward self-discovery often comes with uncertainties and challenges that require immense courage, vulnerability, and self-awareness to overcome. 

Everyone has their own timeline, including Ychan Laurenz, known as Ychan on Tiktok, who discovered and accepted her gender identity at the prime age of 25. Her journey toward self-discovery is a testament that there is no fixed timeline for exploring and understanding one's gender identity.

Ychan isn't afraid to confront challenges in her life and embrace who she really is. She listened to her intuition and became honest with herself to prioritize her own well-being. She is living proof that we all have the right to determine who we are and express our true selves without feeling the societal pressure.

In an exclusive interview with Metroscene, Ychan shares a glimpse of her childhood, the ups and downs of being transgender, and the importance of having a solid support system in our lives.

Beneath the surface

Beyond the funny skits and wacky personas, Ychan is an ordinary young adult who faced a lot of uncertainties in life. Before college, she had always dreamt of working as a film director or news anchor in the media industry. Her parents, however, wanted her to live her best life as an engineer with a high salary. Although it was not what she originally thought, Ychan had no problem following her parents’ wishes since she also enjoys learning about engineering. In fact, it is also her lifelong dream to build a new home for her family by the time she turns thirty years old. Still, nothing beats the fulfillment of pursuing your dream college program. Ychan shared that at one point during college, she thought of shifting to mass communication to pursue the career path she has always wanted to take.

Growing up, Ychan was surrounded by a loving and supportive family. Since childhood, her parents and siblings have always been accepting of her gender identity which made it easier for her to come out and express herself at a young age. Knowing that her family always got her back is also the reason why Ychan can fully embrace her identity and overcome the fear of being judged by strangers. “Yung important sakin yung ano yung iniisip sakin ng mga mahal ko sa buhay tsaka yung sa sarili ko. Kasi kung magpapa-apekto ako, ang dami dami niyan eh. Hindi naman natin sila mako-kontrol,” she said.

Navigating gender identity

But of course, Ychan’s journey was not without a struggle. During elementary school, she was still uncertain about her identity she felt insulted when she was teased as bakla or bading. However, it was a complete turning point once she reached high school and had the opportunity to mingle with gay and girl friends. That’s when she finally became certain of her identity. She then mentioned, “Pero sabi naman ng mama ko, nung parang bata pa ko, alam niya talaga agad.”

When Ychan began transitioning, she felt extremely happy knowing she followed who she really is. To make sure that everything goes well, she even asked Sassa and Pipay for advice about transitioning since they have experienced it firsthand. In fact, when Ychan came out on social media, it was only for the sake of formality since her parents and circle of friends have always known her true identity even way before.

Dismantling societal norms

In a conservative country such as the Philippines, being a part of the LGBTQ+ community comes with a lot of struggles. There were times when Ychan was treated differently because of her sexual orientation. During her OJT, she experienced being disrespected by co-workers who refused to follow her orders just because she’s gay. Unfortunately, she had no choice but to remain professional at that time as she needed to fulfill her OJT.

When asked about common misconceptions about trans people or transitioning, Ychan believes that you don’t have to take pills for you to be considered as transgender. There are many transgender folks out there who are incapable of taking pills due to financial constraints but that doesn’t make them any less of a transgender. For Ychan, if someone considers herself as a woman, then that is all that matters.

On top of that, Ychan also talked about the importance of creating safe spaces for trans individuals. According to her, educating the masses is important in order to build a more inclusive space for trans people in the Philippines. She strongly believes that if you educate the public about the community, they will be more aware and accepting of transgender people, making it easier for those in the community to fully express themselves.

Embracing your true identity

If there’s anything that Ychan would like to say to her younger self, it is that she did great for always following what she really wants. “For me, ang galing niya. Kasi sinusunod niya talaga yung kung ano ang nasa isip niya,” she said. For those who are having second thoughts about transitioning, she advised to think about it carefully and avoid rushing into things. “Huwag ka ma-excite, ‘wag mo madaliin. Sobrang laking change siya buhay mo. Kaya dapat, always consider your thoughts.” 



Finally, Ychan wants to tell the young members of the LGBTQ+ community to never be ashamed of expressing themselves. “Be yourself lang talaga. Kung ano yung nafefeel mo, kung paano mo kiconsider yung sarili mo, accept mo siya kasi kung itatago mo siya mahihirapan ka gumalaw. Huwag mo nalang isipin ng ibang tao kasi wala naman mangyayari kung lagi mo siyang iisipin kasi ikaw lang yung masasaktan. Trust your instinct.” 

Photography by Miggy Broño (@miggybrono_)
Art Direction by Mark Elwyn Baccay (@markelwyn)
Fashion Direction and Styling by Dave Arden (@Ardenstyleph)
Styling Assistant by Angela Correa (@itsangela_c)
Makeup by Mycke Arcano (@mycke.arcano)
Hairstyling by Lars Cabanacan (@larscabanacan)
Production Coordination by Chardy Baldoza (@Baldyosa)
Words by Mark Elwyn Baccay (@markelwyn)

Special thanks to our designers

ḢA.MÜ (@_ha.mu_)
LE NGOK (@le_ngok)
MONTECALVO CREATIONS (@montecalvo_creations)

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