Fil-Am transgender model talks paranoia, coming out

Filipino-American transgender Geena Rocero shows a picture of her as a little boy wearing a “Katipunero” attire. Screengrab from TED Talks Youtube account.

MANILA, Philippines — Filipino-American model Geena Rocero, who came out as a transgender last March, revealed that she admitted the truth because she was “paranoid” that she’d be found out.

“There was always that fear: What if people found out? They’d think I’d duped them, and maybe I’d lose my regular clients. It could ruin my career. I carried the paranoia with me every day,” she said in an interview with Glamour published this August.

Rocero grew up in the Philippines and moved to United States when she was 17, and then later underwent sexual re-assignment surgery. She became a model in New York when she was 21, and carried her secret about her true gender.

The transgender model said she feared that she would one day make it to gossip pages that could reveal her biggest secret.

During her talk last March at TED, a highly influential conference series of world thought leaders, Rocero started to speak about being true to one’s self. Two minutes later in the speech she broke the news: ‘I was assigned a boy at birth based on the appearance of my genitalia.’

She earned a standing ovation and the conference garnered over two million views online.

The decision to come clean was on her 30th birthday. “I don’t give a damn anymore. I’m ready to share my full journey as a woman,” she told her boyfriend then.

After TED, she co-founded Gender Proud, an awareness campaign for transgender rights. “I want everyone to understand that transgender women are women,” she said.


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