In just two episodes of 90 Day Fiance: The Other Way Season 4, Gabriel Paboga has done two major things.
He has brought long-overdue trans representation to the franchise. And he has also absolutely endeared himself to viewers as an instant fan-favorite.
But that doesn’t mean that people don’t want to learn more about him. Or have some concerns.
Did Gabe wait too long to tell Isabel who he is? That’s a complex question, actually.
Did you know that Gabriel was not actually the one who wrote in to 90 Day Fiance in the first place?
We met his sister, Monica, who read him for filth while he got his tattoo tribute to Isabel. Gabe is charming … and a little impulsive.
It turns out that Monica was so sure that he would be a good fit for the franchise that she wrote as him, pretending to be him.
Of course, being in the spotlight means that Gabriel has a lot riding on his shoulders.
He is a transgender man who is on television at a time when the trans community is facing a massive, coordinated attack all across America and in other countries. A lot of eyes are on him right now.
“It feels like I have to live up to an expectation,” Gabriel admitted to Entertainment Tonight.
“And it’s scary, because I never know what I’m doing,” he confessed. “I’m kind of just winging it at life. So it’s just … I just don’t know what to expect, ever. Because I just I don’t plan anything. Really.”
Because Gabe and Monica have both watched the show, they know the memes and body-shaming that can spawn from people appearing on screen. So yes, that’s an insecurity.
“I’m just thinking, ‘Oh, a lot of people are gonna make fun of my nipples.’ That’s exactly my thought,” he admitted.
“So that’s the first thing I thought about, is how many memes my nipples are going to be,” Gabriel added.
“And then I’m like, well, you know what, I guess, you know, people make fun of me for my nipples,” he added with acceptance.
“But then it’s like, everything is gonna be beneficial to everybody else,” Gabe added. “Because I’ll go out of my way and be a fool if it’s going to help somebody else.”
“Overall, it’ll be better for the thousands of people,” he then suggested.
“Because I know what it feels like to be in a transgendered person spot,” Gabriel continued.
“So it’s like, I wish somebody would have told me all the things that I know now,” he admitted.
“So I feel like it’s a good thing to show people that, you know, trans people are not just like, weird, or, you know, or a freak,” Gabe added. “Or they’re never gonna find love because you can live a normal life and still be trans.”
He does worry about being seen as a touchstone for the entire trans community. Among other things, he’s “a little bit too reckless,” he admitted.
Meanwhile, some viewers have criticize Gabriel for not immediately telling Isabel Posada — at least, not before they first kissed — that he is transgender. He told her before they slept together, but Isabel had already found out by accident by (relatably) thirst-stalking his Instagram.
That is a complex topic. And it’s something that Gabe has thought about.
“I’m not gonna lie, we were, like, dancing real nice together, and we was, like, making out together,” Gabe recalled of the night when they met.
“And I’m like, ‘Oh, crap. She doesn’t know,’” he continued. “And I always tell people because I do have a YouTube channel and I give people advice — like, if you’re trans guy, you’re transgender, whatever.”
Gabriel added: “I always give people my social media before I even get on the date with them, before, like, I even give them my phone number. … Because people, when you see me, they won’t know.”
“I 100 percent should have, like, that’s why I never get myself in this position,” Gabriel said of outing himself to her.
“But then it’s like, when you meet somebody in person, and you’re with them, like, do I say it, like, right before?” he explained.
Gabe added: “It was just everything happened so fast. … Yeah, no, it’s terrible.”
“I wish that, you know, in a perfect world I would, but I didn’t know that she even liked me in the first place,” Gabriel continued.
He commented: “So it’s like, do I tell her that and I’m never going to see her again?”
Just for the record … not everyone would agree that he owes her that info right on the spot?
There are some things that people should always disclose. But someone being cis or trans is debatable. I certainly am not an authority on that.
But it’s worth asking: how many people “disclose” that they are cisgender before kissing someone? Is it fair to demand that of a trans person? Especially when trans folks can become targets for the worst bigots imaginable.
If someone can face eviction, firing, or even violence just for existing … who are we to demand that they put themselves in potential danger before a harmless kiss with a new friend?
Meanwhile, Gabriel has zero qualms about sending money to Isabel. He doesn’t think that she’s using him — and notes that it’s for him, too.
He has a home, with his clothes and more, there. It’s significantly cheaper than one of those overpriced Airbnb rentals, too.
“How am I losing money and how is she using me if I have things there as well? I have all my clothes and I have everything there,” Gabe noted. “How’s she using me? If anything, I would be using her to house-sit.”
And Gabriel is even more adamant when it comes to helping provide for Isabel’s children.
“Yeah, well, that’s what you do, you take care of a family when it’s your family,” he pointed out.
“I just felt like, I don’t know. I love her. I love her kids,” Gabe reasoned. “So it’s not like she would say give me money for this and this and this and this and then she’s, you know, buying lavish things. She’s buying food and clothes.”