Social Issues

Mexico’s first Trans Memory Archive champions LGBTI pride

By Monica Rubalcava

Mexico City, Jun 30 (EFE).- The first Trans Memory Archive, a virtual space of justice, memory and resistance that showcases the lives of four “social fighters,” was unveiled Thursday in Mexico.

“The trans woman became a social fighter from the moment she dressed as she wanted because she transgressed the heteronorm, transgressed the fucking patriarchy, machismo and the norms established by religion,” 61-year-old activist Emma Yesica Duvali, the project’s founder, told EFE.

At just 14, Emma Yesica began her gender transition, this was for her not only a way to strengthen her identity, but also her entry into a violent and deeply macho country in which her human rights would be taken away.

“I arrived at school at 13 with my eyebrow plucked and my hair a little long and they kicked me out, they told me that there was no more school for me, or where to study because I was ‘a problem boy,’ but what they didn’t know, is that I was defending myself,” Duvali said.

This was the beginning of a tortuous path but also one of great glamor and strength that led her to become a star of the burlesque shows of the 1980s at the Garibaldi Theater.

Now, Yesica’s life is told through photographs and testimonies in the recently inaugurated Trans Memory Archive, a virtual platform open to the public promoted by curator and researcher Cesar Gonzalez-Aguirre, in which, from the beginning, the work and stories of three more trans women, such as Brandy Basurto, Coral Bonelli and Terry Holiday.

“It is a testimony, a claim, it is a way to make visible what the repressive systems of the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s took from trans women. We want to make visible the lack of human rights, our murdered women and that their death is not in bucket,” Emma said.

On her part, Brandy Basurto considers herself a “success story” within the LGBTI struggle, her gaze is positive and with her existence she seeks to show the good side of assuming herself as a trans woman.

“My life story is beautiful, I have nine siblings, a wonderful mother who always loved me, who always respected me and supported me, I studied classical dance, I have a master’s degree in colorimetry, I am a beauty consultant and I was able to function always on an educational level”, said Basurto, adding that she felt, she lived in a “bubble” not having suffered the atrocities that her companions went through.

Although she considers no one took anything from her and does not consider the difficulties of her life as discriminatory, she hopes society has the respect toward the community, as any other human being has.

“The women of the community deserve love, respect, medical studies, to have a family, to have children if we want, but not to fight because they are given to us, rather it is implicit, all human beings have the same rights,” she said.

The platform was presented Thursday at the UNAM Chopo University Museum, and was attended by trans singer La Bruja de Texcoco and a panel in which those involved recounted their experience of being part of what they consider to be a “historic project.”

“Before us there were many, what happens is that no one knew about them, they died were murdered or kidnapped, so if we have had the possibility of exceeding that statistic of 35, 40 years (that a trans person lives on average in Mexico) we have to take advantage of it and do something useful with this life that we have,” Terry Holliday said at the event.

Although the project begins with a look at these four great personalities, it is expected the archive will grow, and that there will be more and more stories from the community on the platform. EFE


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