Seat at the Table: Deo Cabrera’s Fight for Queer Visibility and Confidence

Jul 2, 2024 0 comments



“Pasabog,” “deadma,” and “palaban”—these three words define Deo, who loves making bold statements with captivating gender-neutral fashion.

As Deo struts along Taft Avenue on the way to La Salle, heads turn and eyebrows raise. Equipped with classy indifference and a sassy ‘flip off,’ they sport a crop top, mini skirt, and high heels—the main character has finally arrived!

Let’s join Deo Cabrera as they take a seat at the table, sharing authentic personal narratives and addressing the relentless war against discrimination.

A Journey of Self-Discovery

For members of the queer community, the road to self-discovery is about more than just "finding yourself"; it's about reuniting with yourself. It's a process of removing cultural conditioning, discovering hidden facts, and recalling who you were before societal expectations affected your perception of who you are. Self-discovery involves challenging norms, dropping the weight of others' opinions, and changing misconceptions. Queer people navigate this difficult road by seeking authenticity and embracing themselves as they are.




For Deo, their story began with a simple yet profound realization during a photoshoot with friends. "Gusto ko naka-dress ako," Deo recalls. This moment marked the start of their exploration into feminine fashion, which soon became a significant part of their gender expression. "Ang init dito sa Pilipinas, so makakatulong pag naka-skirt ako, mga crop top crop top," they explain, highlighting the practical and personal reasons behind their style choices.

But it wasn't just about the clothes. For Deo, it was about embracing their true self and challenging societal norms. "I refuse to let anyone else dictate what I can and can't wear," they declared. This rebellious attitude became the foundation of their advocacy, inspiring countless others to embrace their identities unapologetically.

Making a Difference

Making a difference as a queer person involves weaving threads of resilience, compassion, and courage into the fabric of society. It’s about standing tall in the face of adversity, advocating for change, and amplifying disregarded voices. Whether through art, activism, or everyday interactions, queer individuals challenge norms, break down barriers, and create spaces where acceptance and understanding flourish. Their impact ripples outward, inspiring others to embrace authenticity and celebrate diversity.

Deo's advocacy work is not just about raising awareness; it's about creating tangible change. Through various campaigns and initiatives, they have touched the lives of many. One of their proudest moments was participating in Avon's first all-queer fashion show. "Naglalakad ako, rumampa ako ng naka-bra at panty lang," Deo shares, emphasizing the message that "clothes are genderless."

Their influence extends beyond fashion. Deo's TikTok content, which combines important messages with entertaining delivery, has inspired countless individuals. "Marami talaga akong narereceive na messages na parang 'dahil sa videos mo nagsusuot na ako ng mga skirt sa school,'" Deo says, reflecting on the positive impact of their work.

Facing Challenges

Navigating life as a queer person involves confronting a unique set of challenges. From the moment they recognize their identity, they grapple with societal norms that often exclude or stigmatize them. These challenges can manifest in various ways: coming out to family and friends, facing discrimination at work, school, or even just in public, and dealing with mental health struggles. Yet, within these challenges lies resilience—the strength to rise above adversity, build chosen families, and advocate for change. Queer individuals forge paths of authenticity, inspiring others to embrace their true selves and create a more inclusive world.

Deo is no exception to these challenges. Despite their success, Deo's journey has been a rough one. They face significant hate both online and offline. "Merong mga araw na pagod ako, so talagang deadma lang," Deo admits. However, they also use these experiences to fuel their advocacy, often responding to hate comments creatively in their content.

Deo's resilience is evident in their approach to dealing with negativity. "I really have developed this ‘ano ba pake mo’ attitude which truly makes me forget about all the judgment and just slay," they said. This empowering mindset has not only helped Deo face the challenges but has also inspired others to adopt a similar attitude.

Advice for Aspiring Advocates

For those looking to follow in their footsteps, Deo offers valuable advice. "Humanda ka!" they say with a chuckle, acknowledging the mental and emotional stress that comes with advocacy work. However, they also emphasize the importance of having a strong support system. "Maghanap ka ng isang malaking support system para kahit anong hate makuha mo, hindi ka masyadong maaapektuhan."

Deo's journey is proof of the power of community and support. They often credit their friends, family, and the LaSallian community for providing a safe space where they can express themselves freely. "Kasi dito talagang kahit papaano ay safe space na alam kong hindi ako mahaharass o maka-catcall," Deo shares.

Looking Ahead

As Deo continues their advocacy journey, they remain committed to fighting for equality and acceptance. Their vision for the future is one where their advice to young queer individuals can be purely positive. "Gusto ko in the future, yung kapag may magtatanong sa akin na parang 'Anong advice ibibigay mo sa mga queer—young queer individuals?' parang yung advice na lang na ibibigay ko ay parang 'you’re doing great!' 'ang galing mo!!' 'I love you so much!!' 'You’re valid!!'"

As queer individuals look ahead, they envision a world where acceptance transcends tolerance, where love knows no boundaries, and where their identities are celebrated rather than merely acknowledged. They dream of a future where LGBTQIAP+ rights are universally recognized, mental health support is accessible, and intersectionality is embraced. In this vision, they continue to advocate, educate, and create spaces that empower others to live authentically.

Deo Gelo Cabrera's journey is a testament to resilience, creativity, and the power of self-expression. Their story inspires us to embrace our true selves and stand up for what we believe in. As Deo beautifully puts it, "Be unapologetically yourself and stand up for what you believe in."

Produced by Mark Elwyn Baccay (@markelwyn)
Cover Images Photographed by Miggy Broño (@miggybrono_)
Creative Direction: Mark Elwyn Baccay (@markelwyn)
Editor-in-Chief: Mark Elwyn Baccay (@markelwyn)
Makeup: Artist: Jia Cruz (@jiaachacruz)
Hairstyling: Gab Villegas (@grandpagabo)

Fashion Styling: Bryan Laroza (@iambryanlaroza)

Designers: Yves Camingue (@ycmng_), East of Eden (@exploreeastofeden
Kurt Abonal (@kurtabonal), and Thian Rodriguez (@thianrodriguezmnl)
Set and Production Design: Studio Tatin (@studio.tatin) by Migs Alcacid (@migsalcid
Assisted by Vienna Bleza (@viennableza), Neil John Remolin (@neiljohnremolin), Mariz Fetalvero (@mariz.fetalvero)
Videographers: Gimo Natanawan (@gimomigo)
Shot at Studio LAJ (@studiolajph)
Story: Alexe Alvarez and Marian Kate Caula
Special thanks to Chicken Chingu (@chickenchinguph) 



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