Eight trans-women have been killed in Brazil in the last six months.
My name is Bea, I am Brazilian and I am transgender. Today I am alive, I’m fine, but maybe just because I had the courage to escape to Spain, where I now live as a political refugee.
My history as an asylum seeker began a year ago, when I left Salvador on account of the physical and moral violence I suffered just because I was transgender. Recently I had started receiving anonymous death threats: if I had not left my country my family and I would have been killed, and sadly I knew this could really happen.
I started to present myself, as the proud woman I am, when I was 12 years old, by wearing feminine clothes and makeup. But you are not allowed to do so in Brazil. When I was 13, I began taking hormones without any kind of medical consultation, as trans people don’t have access to health care in Latin America, because of discriminations, everything we use comes from the black market and we take it without any medical prescription, with the related physical and mental damage you can imagine.
By the time I was 14 I had already been a victim of two gang rapes by some local mafia men: they took me, they tied my hands and my feet, they blindfolded me, put a gun in my mouth and first they started beating me up and then they sexually abused me. They cut my face: three slashes to my left eye and one to my right nostril. I never reported them, or rather, I was never able to report them. Why? Because trans women like me are not protected in my country, not even by the police, and because I was afraid for my family. So, after yet another threat, I bought the cheapest ticket I found and left for Barcellona.
Ever since I’ve been in here, my life has partially changed: I’ve found free medical care, I have an endocrinologist, a doctor who personally monitor me, I don’t feel discriminated against, and everybody I’ve met has tried to help me. Of course, I’m aware that, as an asylum seeker, I am at a disadvantage when compared to people who have their papers, but on the whole I’d rate my experience as between 8 and 10!
While the institutions have been willing to help me, I’ve been discriminated against by my own kinspeople, by that part of my family who lives in Barcelona since before I arrived. Crazy, uh? I’m thinking about when my mother joined me in Barcelona, a few months ago, and she stayed at my sister and brother-in-law’s house. One day, while we were having lunch with them, my sister berated me, screaming that I wasn’t welcome in her home.
I died inside.
I bite back my tears because I didn’t want her to see me crying, I said to myself: “Hold on! Don’t cry! Hold on!”.“She’s sick” I comfort myself: “She’s a Spanish nationalist” but in the end, considers me as nothing more than a stranger, rather than as her sister. I feel like, people who come from my birth country, don’t have any values anymore, because all of them have been repressed by the mafia, by violence and intolerance.
Eight trans-women have been killed in Brazil in the last six months. But now that I’m here, the most important thing for me is to get ready and fight for my future in order to get the worthy job I deserve.
Bea* and Letizia
translation by Micol
* invented name
©2017 Il Grande Colibrì