You’ve probably seen her strutting around the campus, making Visayas State University (VSU) her endless runway, but behind those fancy outfits, alluring makeup, and statuesque appearances is a story completely invisible to everyone else.

She is Mackelvin Tanzy Donayre, a 22-year-old transgender woman and a Bachelor of Culture and Arts student, a student-teacher at Plaridel National High School (PNHS), and an advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) rights.

In the eyes outside their home, no one sees her as Mackelvin; she’s appellate as "Macy Tanzy," an alter ego that she confessed is happy-go-lucky yet fierce, dauntless, and unstoppable.

Mackelvin, like all of us, also had her fair share of life’s setbacks and predicaments. At an early age, she tasted the bitter truth of life after her parents separated and abandoned her. She was adopted by a lesbian named "Lydia," a native of Pilar, Camotes Island, and Cebu. "Mama Lydia," as Mackelvin calls her, was raised and heaved as her own. Through Lydia’s dedication and hard work as a barber on their small island, she provided Mackelvin with every basic necessity a child needs—a shelter to live in and an education to cherish.

Mackelvin genuinely admitted that Lydia is the epitome of the best of both worlds. She loves Mackelvin like a mother and protected her like a father. To her, Lydia is her only family, a haven she can call her own. Macy knows that she is loved and fully accepted in Lydia's arms.

Despite being an open book to all, Macy opened up about her harsh experiences of being bullied and discriminated against because of her skin color, appearance, and gender identity. There were times their violent voices would just crawl into every chamber of her veins and cause her emotional breakdowns. To her, it’s an unending trauma—a nightmare she badly wanted to escape.

"Nganung nag binayot man ka nga hard man kag lawas?" ("Why did you decide to be transgender? Your body isn’t even feminine.") and "Wala man kay angay ma bayot kay bati man kag nawng!" ("You’re not fit to be called transgender because you're ugly.")

Those were just a few of the hurtful words Macy had to endure. She recalled how her close friends mocked her appearance and labeled her with what names they wanted. During those times, silence was her only friend, and her Mama Lydia was her confidante, source of strength, and cradle of inspiration to make herself better.

Macy knows that discrimination and bullying will not stop her from succeeding, so she concentrated on what was truly important. She values education and taking more time for herself and loving herself.

"Kung imung e focus imung attention sa pag higugma sa imung self, unya di mang hilabot sa uban, mo grow ka as a person. Sa ako, nag focus ko sa akong study og sa pag take the time to make myself more appealing sa uban kay kahimangnu ko maka tabang ni nako as a transgender" ("If you focus your attention on loving yourself instead of minding other people’s business, then you’ll grow as a person. As for me, I focused on my studies and took time to make myself more appealing to others because I knew this could help me as a transgender person," Macy responded when asked about her rebuttals to her detractors.

After experiencing the harsh veracity of discrimination, Macy found comfort and confidence in transforming herself into a better version through hormone replacement therapy (HRT), a form of therapy in which sex hormones and other hormonal medications are administered to transgender people for the purpose of more closely aligning their secondary sexual characteristics with their gender identity. Macy starts off by taking hormonal pills to achieve a more realistic feminine look. Then she switched to injecting ampules with high doses of estrogen and male hormone blockers.

Macy’s journey to becoming what she is today is the product of a bitter past, her dedication, resilience, and her love for herself. She took revenge by loving herself more, and she didn’t settle for less; rather, she collected all the hurtful words thrown at her and used them to empower herself, and to this day, she still continues to use her story of transformation to inspire young LGBT members to dream more, learn more, and be more. Indeed, a real queen knows how to make an empire using the same stones thrown at her.

Macy’s transformational story proves that everyone can thrive, even in the most isolated time and place. You just have to find the worth of your existence, take up space, and cement yourself in society.

True to the mantra that inspires her every day, "Goals are dreams with the deadliest deadline.” Macy is now pushing forward to finish her practice-teaching internship at PNHS and aims to graduate this semester, get a license to teach in a public school one day, and be a beacon of hope to the LGBTQ community.

The future is truly unlimited, so she envisioned dreams. And now, Macy works hard to turn those dreams into realities and gives no damn to what others would think or say about her. To Macy, her existence and the existence of all her brothers and sisters in the LGBTQ Community are a blessing that needs to be celebrated and recognized. She pledged to continue to be a beautiful representation of her community and dauntlessly reach greater heights, move mountains, and stretch skyscrapers.

Macy Tanzy is a transgender woman, and she is woman. This time, no one is stopping her. She leaves no room for doubts and fears. Her transformational journey would be her greatest sword in facing the complexities of the world. Truly and surely, she is undeniably unstoppable!

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