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I saw a tweet once that truly resonated with me. It said "Maybe gay people act like teenagers in their twenties because they were too busy hiding in the closet in their teens." And it's true. People always say high school is the happiest part of one's life, but it's not true for most of us who haven't even accepted who we were.

I came out in college. But it took me a while to be comfortable with my sexuality. Even when I've accepted that I was gay, I believed I deserved less. I was conditioned to believe so, so much that I missed a lot of opportunities to flirt. To fully embrace joy where I found it. To express love. 

The first time I really fell in love with a guy, he was a bit older than I, and he had this confidence, this nonchalance about who he was that really attracted me to him. But I couldn't equal it. I couldn't reach his level. Because again, I wasn't even sure if it was right for me to seek love from another guy, or if it was right for me to have found it. By the time I was already head over heels in love with him and was ready to jump, he had already found another.   

This was in 2007. Thirteen years later I'm happy to say that a lot has changed for queer people everywhere, even in this country. As for myself, now that I'm confidently and unapologetically gay, I can say that I'm happy with my five-year relationship. 

Still, I know a lot of kids out there are doubting their worth on the account of their gender identity and sexuality. Happy as I am now, I still feel bad for my 17-year-old self for the freedom to love he doubted he had.

I wonder if he'd be like that had he seen this amount of boys-love shows from different parts of Asia, especially Thailand. I wonder if he'd doubt himself had he all the representation that I have now. The more that I got comfortable with my sexuality, the more my need to tell stories about my community got stronger. And now that the market for stories about gay people is more apparent, I'm more confident than ever that this is the perfect time to do this: a romantic comedy series about college boys falling in love. And I know that my experience and perspective alone aren't enough to represent all of the LGBTQ+ community but I hope this opens more doors for more stories from more storytellers in the margins.

I wish I could say that I went into this project with just altruism. That this is me simply being an advocate for my community. I am, but it would be a load of bull to deny that I'm also doing this to atone. That this is my apology to my younger self, and to every queer kid who I thought deserved less because of their queerness. 

For me, for everyone who -- because of shame -- lost opportunities to love and be loved, this is a love story I wish the world were kind enough to afford us when we were younger. And to those younger than us, believe: this is a love story you deserve now.

This is Gaya sa Pelikula (Like in the Movies), created and written by Juan Miguel Severo. And this is just another love story.

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