|High School Life|
|As A Gay Advocate|
|Gay Asian Empowerment|
|As Mr. Ryan P. DeCarlo Reyes|
|As A Green Party Candidate (this will transfer you to an archived District 21 Greens campaign site)|
|My Encounters with Fame|
|Rize in Pictures|
|Rize in Videos|
Born on August 14, 1976 in Quezon City at around 11:50 P.M., Ryan Pesigan Reyes is the second child of three children. Ryan was nicknamed Rize because it simply sounded unique. Three months later, Rize was baptized as a Roman Catholic. His earliest memory as a toddler was that he had to undergo surgery a year after he was born in order for him to live. Yet, Rize could not remember the pain of undergoing the surgery itself.
Pre-nursery and nursery school for Rize was at a school where his mother taught - Infant Jesus Kindergarten School. There, he met many acquaintances who would become close friends in the future. He also remembered getting his first award ever - Best in Rhythmic. What rhythmic meant, he did not know at that time. All he knew was that he got an award and he was so happy about it.
Elementary years in the Philippines normally is finished within eight years. For Rize, it was from 1982 to 1990. He was enrolled in Claret School of Quezon City. He remembered receiving a few academic awards, yet they were simply awards.
It was in his elementary years that he first visited America for the summer vacation. It was 1985, and America was simply a whole world for Rize. Everything was new to him - the culture, the people, the places. Being a tourist, he mostly went to the tourist sites. Of all, he recalls Disney World as the best. He promised himself that someday he would come back to America and even live there someday.
Rize was in fourth grade when he developed a passion for theater. "The early signs of a queen," Rize muses to himself nowadays when asked about his love for the arts. He was a member of Teatro Claretiano. He was also a longtime member and now alumni of Teatrong Mulat ng Pilipinas
1986 in the Philippines was the People's Power Revolution - the overthrow of the dictatorship. For Rize, this simply meant no classes for more than two weeks and just staying in the house all that time. It wasn't that he was apathetic to the situation; it was just he was still young then - 9 years old - to grasp the importance of the whole event.
Towards the end of his elementary years, Rize recalls when he was appointed editor of their school paper - Claretian. This was the most unforgettable event for him in his elementary years. To be the editor of the school paper! A marvelous legacy before leaving elementary school and marching on to high school.
Rize's four years of high school was from 1990 to 1994. At this time, he had transferred to Ateneo de Manila High School.
High school - the best and the worst time in Rize's life. It was at this time when he outed himself gay to his classmates. It was during his English class in his sophomore year when he told everyone that he feels like a rose among all of them. To consider oneself a rose in the high school community is a dead giveaway since his high school is an exclusive one for boys.
Life was tough in high school especially being gay in an all-boys' school. The teasings, the beatings, the blatant discrimination - all these created an aura of hostility in Rize's high school life.
It was also in high school that romance was very active in Rize's life. But to have crushes on straight handsome classmates just made Rize's life more depressing - maybe even to the brink of suicidal. Yet when asked now, Rize says that he would never exchange his high school life with anything else. As he said earlier, his high school life was the best and the worst, and without the experiences he underwent then, he would have been an all different person now.
Hmmm, what to write in his college life. College seemed so fast to him. First, he remembered passing the University of the Philippines College Application Test (UPCAT). Next thing he knew, four years have passed and he has finished all his subjects to graduate.
His first year college was in the University of the Philippines - Los Banos. There, he studied for one year pursuing Veterinary Medicine. For him, it was tough - Zoology 11, Chemistry 15, and Physics 1 - he found out that he wasn't much of a science person. After a year here, he shifted to History and transferred to another campus - University of the Philippines - Diliman.
Rize loved history, and it seemed that history loved him back. This was seen by the grades he received from his classes. Diplomacy, Philippine history, Cultural history, and Historiography - these were topics Rize learned and loved to learn.
Romance??? Well, he was out, and he was gay. It was in college when he first got a taste of gay relationships. The dating, the courting, the sex(!!!), the loving, and the breaking-up - he experienced them all in college.
It was also in his college stay that Rize got his first dip of gay activism. It started out June of 1996 when he attended his first Gay Pride March. "Solidarity '96" and he wasn't just watching, he was marching. It was there where he saw University of the Philippines Babaylan - a gay support group in his campus. Three months later, he found himself joining this gay organization.
The gay activist in Rize grew in him, and he found himself devoting a lot of his time to gay studies particularly the Gay Movement in the Philippines. With twenty-one years of being gay and his three years of researching of gay life in Metro Manila, he wrote for his undergraduate thesis, "The Gay Movement in Metro Manila 1980-1998."
Rize never really graduated from University of the Philippines - DIliman. Still needing two semesters of R.O.T.C., Rize had to immigrate to the United States with his family. There, he quickly got a job and entered the working force of America. But he vowed that he'd finish his college someday.
Rize's jobs ranged from fastfood grill person to department store cashier to barista. But eventually, he slowly went back to the academe, He first pursued Appraisal Studies in Fine and Decorative Arts in New York University. Afterwards, he enrolled part time in Excelsior College hoping to finish his baccalaureate.
GLBT. Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender. Rize's knowledge on gay activism was so miniscule compared to the broad discussions on GLBT movement. He was awed on the vast collection of books, articles, and studies pertaining to the gay movement. He first tried to acquire everything that seemed to be gay related. But it dawned on him that it was like stabbing through water. There was simply too much. But he noticed though that there were only a few that discussed gay Asia. Moreover, he was introduced to the two terms that seemed to divide the gay Asians - potato queen, and sticky rice. He felt insulted that the broad and diverse gay Asian culture was simply divided into this binary. It was in this enlightenment that focused him to pour his struggles into a more progressive activism - gay Asian empowerment.
Currently, Rize is active with a lot of progressive groups. Among them are Progressive Organization of Gays (PROGAY) - a group based in New York and New Jersey along with chapters in other countries concerned with the empowerment and dignity of the Filipino LGBT community. With his longtime companion, he is also involved with Friends against Sexual Orientation Discrimination - a grassroots movement involved with the high school policies in New Jersey. He is a proud co-founder of the Lavender Greens of New Jersey - a caucus of the Green Party of the United States.
Online, he became a Community Leader for Yahoo! Geocities WestHollywood. Moreover, he also became a contributor writer for Alyson Publication's Revolutionary Voices (edited by Amy Sonnie). In addition, he was interviewed by asian sites such as Fridae.com.
Rize has certainly mellowed down through the ages. Hitting the big 3-0 in a couple of years, Rize has certainly been seen a lot already. And being in a relationship may have made him less involved and less of an advocate. He has done his share of lobbying and protests; he has done his share of bar scenes. Now, he's more involved in his personal nest. He still helps out to the community, but he believes that the torch should be passed on to someone else already.
Yes, Rize officially and legally became Mr. Ryan Pesigan DeCarlo Reyes. On, July 1, 2000, Vermont, USA passed the Civil Union law allowing gays and lesbians there to go into civil union with their partners, Additional information about this law can be found on Vermont Freedom to Marry Task Force and Vermonters for Civil Union, Inc. A more general understanding of gay and lesbian couples can also be found at Partners Task Force for Gay and Lesbian Couples.
Anyway, on August 17, 2000, Rize and his longtime companion, George Thomas DeCarlo decided to go to Putney, Vermont to be in civil union with each other. They both met at Fire Island two years ago on August 22, 1998 and have been together ever since. A historical event, some people wrote that Rize may be the first gay Filipino to go into civil union. Of course, this is still unsubstantiated until records can prove no other gay Filipino went into civil union between July 1, 2000 and August 16, 2000. Still, Rize is proud of this occasion in his life.
After the civil union, both lifelong partners decided to go to Provincetown, Massachusetts for their honeymoon. It was Carnival Week there as well. To view some of the pictures taken during their civil union in Putney and their honeymoon in Provincetown, click to Photos of Civil Union.
Links/Documentations to their Civil Union