Singer Jo Awayan opens up about same-sex marriage
LOS ANGELES - Remember singer Jo Awayan?
Awayan first gained popularity in the Philippines in the early 1990s when she was discovered by Randy Santiago.
She moved to the US in early 2000, after receiving offers to perform for the growing Filipino-American community.
But the Cebuana singer's decision to move to the US was also prompted by a personal issue: her desire to live freely as a gay woman.
"It's easier na nandito ako sa Amerika. Kaya nag-decide ako na nagpunta dito eh. During the '90s na nandun pa ako sa Pilipinas, yung mga managers, 'Ah, tago, tago, tago.' It's all lies. And I'm growing older and I hated when I lie to myself," Awayan said.
The singer, who frequently performs at Filipino events in southern California, is also very happy to hear about news that Aiza Seguera has proposed marriage to actress Liza Dino.
"I'm glad for her. Oh, I'm so proud of her. Si Aiza is one of those best talents we have na hindi mo-- You can't put down a good talent. Dito sila magpakasal kasi it's legal here," Awayan said.
It's been five years since Jo took fellow LA-based singer Angel Pe as her wife.
"Oh, I've been married since 2008 when we got together, kami ni Angel (Pe-Awayan.) And then finally, naging legal na dito federally sa California, last August we did it again," she said.
The couple have known each other for a long time. Their 15-year age difference doesn't matter, Awayan said, since theirs is a healthy relationship that works.
"You just have to be honest with each other. And I've been dreaming for this kind of relationship na finally I found one. It was only Angel na, kasi ayoko ng-- No lies. At siya yung hinahanap-hanap ko. Hindi ako kinakahiya kung sinuman ako. That's what I've been longing for all these years," Awayan said.
The US Department of Justice recently mandated that same-sex married couples will get the same benefits as their heterosexual counterparts.
Jo and Angel, who are also business partners, said they were very happy when they received an official letter saying they can now be in each other's health insurance plans like regular couples.
"That's very over-the-top. Now that we have that right, we're just so happy," Angel Pe-Awayan said.
Given the chance, the couple has been wanting to start a family either through adoption or through a donor.
"It was supposed to be my brother na magbigay sa amin as a donor but he died in Februrary last year," Awayan said.
But Jo and Angel are not giving up and they are hoping to raise children together soon.