AS a fan of different kinds of stories whether told through books, movies, or even through daily conversations, I can’t help but notice that most stories spring from one theme: love.
Art Sta. Ana, the author of the revolutionary book He’s Dating the Transgender, should know a thing or two about love. Gaining popularity because of the avant-garde theme of his book, and being an advocate for LGBT rights in the country, Art’s story transcended across genders as it speaks about his love affair with 2015 Miss International Queen Trixie Maristela. The modern love affair gave Filipinos a glimpse of a one-of-a kind love story that promotes equality and enforces the truth that love is love regardless of who the characters are in the story.
Without a doubt, Art’s book broke barriers for the LGBT community, an incredible feat since it was a topic most Filipinos were not comfortable talking about. To this day, Art still feels amazed at how well received the book is.
“It amazes me that people have so many things to say about me, about the book and how it has made a difference. It’s been quite a journey and I can only hope that people see the journey I took from being probably the most bigoted guy in the world to one who fights alongside those who are oppressed and be inspired by that,” he said.
Now Trixie and Art are both seen as strong figures in the community championing equality across all borders. Art muses, “It’s a blessing to be able to have a voice that people will listen to. Whenever one is given the opportunity to create ripples of positive change, I’ve always believed that you need to grab it, whatever the cost. If I am able to make a difference in one person’s life then I consider that life well-lived already.”
Passionate, eloquent, and confident, it is interesting to note that while Art plays the ever-supportive boyfriend to Trixie, there are also a lot of things about him that the public doesn’t know about.
An Ateneo De Manila University graduate, Art actually dabbled in a lot of things before pursuing writing as a career. An aspiring TV host, Art was a radio DJ, a former indie band vocalist, an advertising executive, and student pilot. Always in search for an adventure, Art describes himself as a “Filipino who tries to make sense out of the chaos of living by living one day at a time in an attempt to become the best version of himself.”
For Art, the book is only the beginning as he is interested in going back to the radio industry and be involved in news reporting as well. With a couple of new books he wishes to complete by the end of the year, Art also intends to finish flying school.
But most importantly, his future includes the continuous process of fighting for the love of his life, “I will continue to fight for our love to be recognized and I will continue to fight for us to get the same rights and benefits that other couples are getting under the law because it is our democratic right as law-abiding, tax paying citizens.”
However, still it seems, wherever he goes, he is known as the love guru so it was only natural to ask his unsolicited advice on how to make a relationship work and he gamely said, “Remember how it was when you first fell in love. Remember how wonderful it was, that overwhelming feeling of butterflies playing in your stomach. Now believe and hope that you will have that again. Hold on to that hope, because it will happen. You cannot let disappointments get the better of you, because love will never happen if you don’t allow it to. It will happen when you least expect it to, so you have to be prepared. Be complete alone, be the best version of yourself. You shouldn’t look for someone who will complete you. If you believe in love and in yourself enough, you will find someone who will complement you, who will hold your hand for the rest of your life, just like I did.”
And with that, we are convinced; he truly knows the art of love.
He’s Dating The Transgender is out in all bookstores.