• Eduardo seeks to repair his friendship with Haylee in this week's episode of 'Look Me In The Eye'. (SBS)
“I’m hoping that it inspires people to be their authentic self and be 100% truthful, and avoid the same mistakes as I did."
By
Michaela Morgan

13 Sep 2017 - 6:22 PM  UPDATED 13 Sep 2017 - 6:22 PM

When 22-year-old Eduardo found out about the new SBS series Look Me In The Eye, he was immediately reminded of the documentary, Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present—and of his broken relationship with former friend, Haylee. 

“Haylee was actually the one that showed me that film, so it felt like a really full circle thing as to why I wanted to take part in Look Me In The Eye,” Eduardo tells SBS. 

Eduardo was born in the Philippines and moved to the Gold Coast when he was six—and had a difficult time accepting his Asian identity at a mostly white school. But when he met Haylee, she accepted his differences and made him feel like he could be himself. 

After high-school, the pair went to separate universities and Eduardo went on to discover his sexual identity—but was afraid of telling Haylee that he was gay. 

 

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His fear of coming out to her and a series of miscommunications led to the pair severing their friendship, with neither of them making contact for the last few years. 

Look Me In The Eye brings together estranged friends and family members and tests whether prolonged eye-contact can heal broken bonds. 

"I was so nervous, my heart was beating so fast. I could hear it beating while I sat down on the chair,” says Eduardo of the intense experience. 

“When she started walking over, everything was just going so slowly—but my heart was beating so fast and loud.”

“When I first walked in, she wasn’t there. So I thought, ‘Ok obviously I’m first’, but I was also just praying that she was actually going to arrive.

“When she started walking over, everything was just going so slowly—but my heart was beating so fast and loud.”

Eduardo says that when they locked eyes—in the extremely emotional exchange—it was as though the conflict in their friendship melted away. 

“It was like we were talking to each other without speaking the whole time,” he says. “It was like I could see what she was saying to me through her eyes. 

“She was crying and I was getting emotional as well.”

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“You’re not alone. There are many people out there just like you. You will always be loved for whoever you are.”

Eduardo says that he hopes by sharing his story, he can empower young LGBT+ people to do the same. 

“I was thinking about this yesterday [in the lead up to the show’s airing],” he says. 

“I’m hoping that it inspires people to be their authentic self and be 100 per cent truthful, and avoid the same mistakes as I did. 

“I wish there was a show like Look Me In The Eye when I was younger—because we don’t have enough [LGBT] characters on TV in Australia."

Eduardo and Haylee are now friends, back on good terms and have caught up since the taping of the series. 

“And now we chat everyday on Facebook or via messages,” says Eduardo. “Just sending each other little things that remind us of each other.

“I wish there was a show like Look Me In The Eye when I was younger—because we don’t have enough [LGBT] characters on TV in Australia. 

“The other day when Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty line came out, Haylee said, ‘Yeah, I can do drag makeup on you!’ and I’m happy to do that,” he laughs. 

Eduardo says that appearing on Look Me In The Eye fast-track the healing of their relationship and that he now sees the power that eye-contact can wield in an emotionally-charged situation. 

“Sometimes in the moment, when you’re communicating with someone and you’ve got all these emotions, you can’t… translate it properly because you’ve got all these things going on in the back of your head. 

“Looking into someone’s eye, you can see what they’re feeling,” he says.

“And then you just know, you can see it.” 

The ground-breaking new six-part documentary series, Look Me In The Eye, continues on Wednesdays on SBS at 8.30pm. Each episode will be available to view on SBS On Demand after broadcast.