Dear Young Me: Koko Alviar On Finding His Direction And Identity | Clozette


Many members of the LGBTQ+ community have had to wait several years — some even keeping their identity a secret when they were young — before they were able to live out their truth. As a way to share their struggles and triumphs, this June, we asked members of the community to pen a letter to their younger selves, sharing what lessons or pieces of advice they would like to give them.


First up is Koko Alviar, who grew up in a Christian family far from the Philippines' capital. Though now he proudly fights for his rights as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, it has been quite a difficult journey for him to accept his identity. Read how he found direction through his letter to his younger self below. 



Hey 16-year-old Koko,


I’m not gonna ask you how you’re feeling. I know exactly how, perhaps better than you do. I look in retrospect; I am you, albeit wizened and made wiser by a decade.


Let me explain what you don’t understand yet: You hide in the persona of the Reverend’s good kid, behind leadership roles, under excellent scorecards, in those male cliques you know very well look at you and say you’re not man enough. It’s difficult because your “status” is a thin and fragile veil people can see right through and tear with the slightest tug. Under it hides the effeminate, gay, loving you that you’ve been exterminating to be normal. In your medieval little town, macho outweighs intellect and leadership.



A young teenager smiling and posing at the camera with friends

16-year-old Koko Alviar with friends


You won’t accept your authentic, rainbow self easily. You’ll take Communication in Baguio City and make tons of friends, but you will avoid romantic relationships altogether. You’ll be a wallflower appreciating cute guys from a distance; you will pretend to be flattered by females confessing a crush on you. You’ll graduate with a portfolio of self-denial essays like, “I’m not gay and I believe myself” (because nobody else buys it), with a manly but pretentious broadcast voice, and friends who see you as effeminate but straight. You’ll do great but will be profoundly confused.


After graduation, your parents will send you to Manila to job-hunt. You’ll be angry at them and afraid of the capital, but you’ll eventually find urban living liberating. Your gay heart will fall in love for the first time and break for the first time. You’ll intermittently fall in and fall out of love and intermittently believe and not believe love per se. (I’m currently single and looking.)




A person smiling shyly at the camera

Koko at present



As you grow older, you’ll find that your narrative is part of a bigger struggle. You will step up and be a human rights activist. You’ll write the LGBTIQ+-affirming statement for the Church your priest-father serves; speak before hundreds of communities on human sexuality and rights; counsel depressed LGBTIQ+ youth; fight HIV and AIDS in the Philippines; join the Pride March. I suffer a bad back now because you’ve slouched for years to hide the man boobs classmates would tease you about (the man boobs will stay, if you’re wondering).


I sometimes randomly remember the elementary teacher who told us while our classmates listened, “Toughen up so we don’t call you gay.” Oh, and the audacious aunt who, in front of all our relatives, said: “You pass off as a normal boy until you speak — too softly.” The parents, to whom I haven’t yet come out even as most all my other circles know, still ask me when I’ll introduce a girlfriend.



Those demons and ghosts will linger, but so will we. Our anxiety and anger will turn into determination and direction. Over the decade, conversations about Sex, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Expression (SSOGIE) equality will grow louder, and we will be talking and pushing and fighting. Our drag will be our wings. We’ll do great.


Lovingly yours,

27-year-old Koko



Koko now works as an account manager for a digital publishing company and does freelance writing and communications consultation on the side. He heads a national ecumenical youth group and actively fights for the LGBTQ+ to be accepted in society. See more of his adventures on his Instagram.


(Cover photo from: @koko_nutnut)

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Would you believe we're already halfway through the year? With all the hustling, deadlines, and personal agendas we had to work through, we say a little mid-year pick-me-up is necessary. For us, that comes in the form of retail therapy, with some 'me time' on the side. Because nothing beats recharging and gearing up for what's ahead.


So what's on our mid-year wishlist? We're currently looking at these fashion, beauty and lifestyle picks for an empowering daily routine that will help us survive the rest of the busy year. 


Jorj

Deputy Editor


Clozette Covets: Glamglow GentleBubble Daily Conditioning Cleanser

SGD39


"I have to admit: cleansers are not my most favourite skincare products. But cleansing is the first step to a good routine, so surely, it should hold a bit more weight, right? So I’m putting more premium on it now and will start with the Glamglow GentleBubble Daily Conditioning Cleanser on my to-get list. Aside from its super fun packaging that’s truly hard to miss, it’s got hydrating, softening and protecting properties thanks to apple extract, vitamin E, Teaoxi Green Tea Leaf and oat amino acids — yes, all that on top of cleansing."


Amanda

Features Writer and Campaign Executive


Clozette Covets: Furla x Hello Kitty

Price unavailable


"I believe that every woman cannot leave the house without a trusty bag. And yes, you can blame it on the fact that our clothes usually don't have very reliable pockets (if they have any at all). But we've embraced the piece like an extension of our personalities and choosing the right one is just as personal as one's own skincare routine. So as soon as I saw Furla x Hello Kitty's latest collaboration, I knew I found pieces that fit my taste just right. Elevating Hello Kitty's fun and quirky vibe is Furla's chic and sophisticated aesthetic, making it perfect for kids-at-heart like me who deal with #adulting on the daily."


Therese

Features Writer and Community Specialist


Clozette Covets: Rouge G de Guerlain

Left to right: Guerlain Rouge G Matte Shades, SGD48; Guerlain Rouge G Cases, SGD31

 

"As cliché as it may seem, no one can deny that a red lip has unbeatable allure. The colour is bold, empowering and unapologetic wearing one is like saying to the world that you're unstoppable. Over the years, I've tried many red bullets and now have my all-time favourites, but it wouldn't hurt to add another tube to my collection. This month, I'm eyeing the Rouge G de Guerlain in the shade Rouge Intense. The best part is that you can even customise the case that comes with it when you purchase one. So chic!"



Em

Features Writer


Clozette Covets: Dyson Lightcycle Task Light

SGD799


"My eyes are suffering from fatigue a lot more lately and it makes it difficult for me to manage my daily tasks efficiently. That’s why I’m excited for Dyson’s Lightcycle Task Light, which is engineered to adjust automatically throughout the day to give you the perfect light. The desk lamp adapts to your local daylight and age, so you get the optimum brightness and temperature you need. Hopefully, when it’s released this July, it can finally reduce my eye strain and help me enjoy my night-time reading once more."



Sabrina

Community Executive


Clozette Covets: SS19 EVISU x Keith Haring


Left to right: SS19 EVISU x Keith Haring shirt, SGD1,099; SS19 EVISU x Keith Haring sliders, SGD599


"After a week's long vacation in my favourite city, Tokyo, my enthusiasm for Japanese High-Street Fashion has not dwindled. A new playful collection featuring EVISU and legendary '80s pop-art artist Keith Haring has just been launched. The collection includes a range of t-shirts, denim shorts, beach boxers, beach slippers and all other fashion items in fun and colourful prints. Throw on an EVISU x Keith Haring tee, a pair of pool sliders and be ready to indulge in an artistic and creative summer."


Laura

Creative Lead


Clozette Covets: The Hustle 2019 movie


 "I have been wanting to watch The Hustle featuring Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson, who star as female scam artists, one low rent and the other high class, who team up to take down the dirty rotten men who have wronged them. Rebel Wilson, who studied law in her early days, fought in court for the rating of the movie as it was considered sexist towards men. I love such stories of women standing up for women! I can't wait to watch it." 


(Cover photo from: @guerlain; @furla)


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When we were younger, puffy sleeves were part of ballgowns worn by our favourite Disney princesses. So its no wonder why when we grew up, it's a style trend that we can't seem to shake off. Our now elevated preferences when it comes to fashion still draw inspiration from our youthful aspirations and it's undeniable especially with these puffy-sleeved outfits sported by the Clozette Community.


Mellow yellow


FAVE 5: Puffy Sleeves - Lingwei

(Photo from: Lingwei)


Jumpsuit chic


FAVE 5: Puffy Sleeves - laveenab

(Photo from: laveenab)



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