Meet Dyosa Makinista a.k.a. Aljon Asusano, ang trans woman na seafarer

meet dyosa makinista a.k.a. aljon asusano, ang trans woman na seafarer

Meet Dyosa Makinista a.k.a. Aljon Asusano, ang trans woman na seafarer

Ang transgender woman na si Aljon “AJ” Buquid Asusano ay isang seafarer o “seaman.”

Siya ay proud member ng LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual) community, at may posisyong First Engineer sa barko.

Ayon kay AJ sa interview ng Philippine Entertainment Portal (PEP.ph), “key player” siya sa engine department ng barko.

Aniya, “First Engineer is second to the highest position, next to chief engineer, in the Engine Department of the ship.

“I am the one responsible for maintaining the good working condition of the ship’s main engine, and other essential machineries.

“I am also responsible for the ship’s maneuvering.”

Kahanga-hanga na narating ni AJ ang kanyang current rank dahil hindi biro ang mga pinagdaanan niya sa male-dominated industry.

Sabi nga niya, “I have always been judged & underestimated because of my gender.

“But I always prove them wrong. I always show them that even us, members of LGBTQIA+ are pliant & qualified.

“If others can do it, why cannot I?””

meet dyosa makinista a.k.a. aljon asusano, ang trans woman na seafarer

dyosa mekaniko

PHOTO: Aljon Asusano

Para kay Aljon Asusano, isang trans woman seafarer, kung kaya ng iba, kaya niya rin. 

ANG KABATAAN NI AJ

Si AJ ay bunso sa limang magkakapatid na mag-isang itinaguyod ng single mom na si Nancy Gava Buquid.

Mula Nueva Vizcaya, lumipat ang pamilya sa Famy, Laguna, para roon magtrabaho ang ina.

At sa murang edad, nakita ni AJ ang paghihirap ng ina.

“Because of that, I dreamt big and I wanted to return the favor to my mother by studying well and by taking one achievement at a time,” mensahe ni AJ.

LUMAKING ACHIEVER

Pinagbuti ni AJ ang kanyang pag-aaral. Mula kinder hanggang makapagtapos sa elementarya, “I always got awards and medals at every level.”

Ipinagpatuloy niya ang kanyang pagiging achiever hanggang high school.

Humakot siya ng awards sa akademya pati sa extra-curricular activities.

Ginawaran siya ng mga medalya, pinagkalooban ng mga leadership awards sa commencement exercises.

Pumasok siya bilang member ng crew ng isang fast-food resto habang naghihintay ng kanyang admission sa Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific (MAAP) sa Mariveles, Bataan at umaasang magiging scholar.

Nagbunga ang paghihintay ni AJ at kumuha siya ng Bachelor’s Degree in Marine Engineering.

Sa tulong ng isa niyang kapatid, nakapag-aral si AJ.

“I graduated from the academy with flying colors,” ani AJ, na consistent Dean’s Lister.

 

meet dyosa makinista a.k.a. aljon asusano, ang trans woman na seafarer

dyosa mekaniko

PHOTO: Aljon Asusano

Mula pagkabata, achiever si AJ pagdating sa kanyang pag-aaral sa hangad na matulungan ang nanay niyang mag-isang itinataguyod ang limang anak. 

DISKRIMINASYON sa eskwela at trabaho

Pero hindi sapat ang pagiging achiever ni AJ para maprotektahan siya mula sa diskriminasyon.

Lumaki si AJ sa paligid na hindi hinuhusgahan ang kanyang pagkatao.

Pero dumating ang panahon, gaya ng maraming miyembro ng LGBTQIA++ community, samu’t saring pang-aalipusta ang dinanas niya.

Sa unang taon niya sa kolehiyo ay nagdesisyon siyang itago ang kanyang pagkatao.

“Because during our indoctrination & orientation period, one of the professors told us that the academy does not produce gay seafarers,” lahad ni AJ.

Natakot si AJ mapatalsik sa paaralan dahil ang marine academy ang kanyang “last hope” para makaangat sa buhay.

Pero nagpakatotoo siya sa sarili nang tumuntong sa second year college.

“I witnessed that my classmates were open-minded, mature, and well-accepting,” paliwanag ni AJ.

“Also, during one of the events, I heard from the president of the academy that MAAP does not discriminate, so it gave me more courage to reveal my sexuality.”

Pero mas matinding bullying ang natikman niya nang sumampa na siya ng barko para sa kanyang cadetship o on-the-job training (OJT).

Dalawang co-workers—isang deck officer at isang engineer—ang ginawang mala-impiyerno ang buhay ni AJ sa loob ng siyam na buwan ng kanyang cadetmanship.

Ani AJ, “They would teach me wrong information about the machinery.

“They would write ‘DEMONYONG BAKLA’ on the wall.

“They would spill water on my face.

“They would demand me to drink so much alcohol.

“They wouldn’t let me finish my meal.”

Minumura rin siya at dinadamay pati ang kanyang pamilya.

“They would like to throw me overboard,” lahad ni AJ.

“They would never last a single day without bullying me.”

Muntik-muntikan na raw sumuko si AJ. “I would like to quit from seafaring. I would like to shift profession.”

Pero ang ina niya ang nagbigay sa kanya ng lakas ng loob.

“My mother told me that If I feel like giving up, I should think of the first reason why I have started.

“Through her advice, I stayed strong, I continued to fight and moved forward.”

BETTER ENVIRONMENT

Matapos ang ilang taon niya sa pagbabarko, mas nirerespeto na si AJ ngayon sa trabaho.

“Currently, my co-workers treat me as their gem. Their acceptance and respect are overflowing.

“That’s why I want to give them my highest appreciation for making me feel that I am special,” ani AJ.

Kaya naman mataas ang respeto ni AJ sa mga kabaro niya na pinasok din ang maritime industry.

“I also salute them for making a seafaring career a safe haven,” aniya.

meet dyosa makinista a.k.a. aljon asusano, ang trans woman na seafarer

dyosa mekaniko

PHOTO: Aljon Asusano

“Currently, my co-workers treat me as their gem,” ani AJ sa kasalukuyang trabaho. Dati ay matinding diskriminasyon ang naranasan niya. 

Ito ang nais ipaglaban ni AJ, na ang mga miyembro ng LGBTQIA++ community ay bahagi ng lipunan.

“We have to give a chance for all the members that we are also needed, we are also capable, and we are also deserving to be part of the maritime industry.”

DYOSA MAKINISTA

Ilang beses nang naitampok ang kuwento ni AJ sa Facebook maritime pages, sa isang major online media news outlet, at maritime websites.

Ang bansag nga sa kanya ay “Dyosa Makinista.”

Kuwento ni AJ, noong nasa kolehiyo siya ay “Dyosa” ang tawag sa kanya ng classmates niya.

“Because I was the only loud and proud gay of our batch.”

Noong OJT days niya, “My First Captain asked for my nickname & i told him ‘Dyosa.’”

Sinabi ng kanyang superior na first time daw niyang magkaroon ng “gay” crewmate.

Dahil si AJ ang nag-iisang “dyosa” sa engine department, nagdesisyon ang first captain na tawagin si AJ na “Dyosa Makinista.”

Simula noon, maging ang kanyang crewmates ay iyon na ang itinawag kay AJ.

PAYO SA MGA KAGAYA NIYA

Sa mga kabaro niyang hangad pasukin ang maritime industry, ipinayo ni AJ na patatagin ang kanilang loob sa posibleng diskriminasyon.

“If you are a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, and work in the maritime industry, it is so easy for others to sell-short you and think that you are [do not] belong.

“They will laugh at you because you are different and will toss you offensive words because of your sexuality.

“Fortunately, we, members of LGBTQIA+ community are born ready.”

meet dyosa makinista a.k.a. aljon asusano, ang trans woman na seafarer

dyosa mekaniko

PHOTO: Aljon Asusano

Ani AJ, nais niyang kilalanin at irespeto ang mga kagaya niyang miyembro ng LGBTQIA community sa maritime industry. 

Hindi raw nila inuurungan ang mga pang-aalipusta bagkus ginagawa itong inspirasyon para patunayan ang kakayahan nila.

“We always prove them that it is not about gender preference, it is about doing our best, exerting more effort, and showing them that even us can be first-rate leaders of the seven vast seas.

Giit ni AJ, “I am gay, but I don’t want my gender to be the basis of my workmanship, for I believe that ‘If others can do it, why cannot l?'”

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