‘Ice is good’

Tim (left) and Brian wed in Connecticut.

By Cristina DC Pastor

As New York rolls out the wedding carpet to same-sex couples on July 24, Tim David looked back on his own civil ceremony to then fiancé Brian Mancuso two years earlier.

The pair wed in 2009 in Connecticut with only four people in attendance: three friends and Brian’s mother. Tim’s Filipino parents found out through Facebook and browsed the ceremony photos on his wall.

“It was just surreal. I’m still getting used to calling him my husband,” laughed Tim, 31, a national figure skating champion in 2005 and 2007. “But I always expected it.”

Today, his conservative parents – watercolorist Angelito and Estrella, who works at the Union County Cultural and Heritage office in Elizabeth, N.J. – have come around to accepting Tim’s gender identity, and adore his husband. It has been a series of revelations – from the time Tim outed himself on Good Friday to the wedding pictures posted on Facebook.

As for having a child together? That is the next in a series of imponderables for his conservative parents.

“As my mother would say in Tagalog: Kumuha ka na lang ng pusa kaysa magkaanak ka (Better you get a cat than have a child),” he guffawed at the funny way his mom likened adopting a child to picking a stray cat off the street.

Tim, one of the leaders of Barangay NY LGBT advocacy network, knew he was gay at age 7. His family migrated to the U.S. when he was 12, in part because they wanted to give him an environment that would treat homosexuals with tolerance and respect, even if not always with unconditional acceptance.

“I didn’t have a lot of friends in school,” he recalled the family’s first few years in Elizabeth, N.J.

As the Davids lived near the Warinanco Skating Rink, Tim found himself spending a lot of time there after school. He learned to skate, showing enough promise to impress one teacher to give him free lessons.

“The rink was a safe haven for me,” he said. “My teacher, Heidi Vanderhoof, saw I had no fear and that I just kept going.”

Around this time too in 1994 was the Winter Olympics and the Tonya Harding attack on Nancy Kerrigan. Figure skating had never been more popular. His addiction to skating appeared incurable.

Tim finished “dead last” on his first regional competition at age 16. He was nervous, he said, his legs stiffened to “Beethoven’s 5th Symphony.”

On ice

He tried again years later, and this time he was bagging medal after medal, winning regional and national competitions. He won golds in the U.S. Adult National Figure Skating in 2005 and 2007, and bronzes in the same category in 2008 and 2009.

He put skating on hold when he came home to visit because his father, a noted artist, received an award from the Philippine president. When he stopped, his appetite took over. His ideal weight of 125 pounds expanded to 150 pounds.

“I stopped at standard track Olympic eligible. The one you see on TV,” he said. Training at this stage was tough on both his body and his pocket. He tried seeking out sponsors, but was not as lucky.

He is now trying to get back in shape in preparation for the adult nationals in 2013.

“I felt so tired this morning, & surprisingly sore. I think it’s the muscles I haven’t used in a while,” he posted on Facebook, as he tracked his progress while his friend cheered him on.

For Tim, it just felt great being back in the rink. “Ice was good.”

Cristina DC Pastor is the founding editor of The FilAm.

One Comment

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