By: Marisa G. Lohana Berkins raised her voice against violence towards transgender women and transgendered people. She died on February 5 in Buenos Aires Argentina. It dawns. She leaves behind a dominant world angered by her smile, an enemy world that is not ours, a passage from silence to speech; lives crossed, names and identities that no longer pay with their bodies, under a sky that heals as it challenges us. It is dawning in tears and, accompanied, Lohana Berkins dies in Buenos Aires.
|Published (Last):||28 August 2004|
|PDF File Size:||16.42 Mb|
|ePub File Size:||18.56 Mb|
|Price:||Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]|
Jump to navigation. The late afternoon sun casts a golden glow over children playing in the little park where Lohana Berkins has suggested we should meet. She speaks in a clear, rather deep voice. Straight talking and fiercely analytical, she comes across as a woman who knows exactly who she is. Lohana has been a transgender activist since the s. She has played a key role in bringing about legal and social changes in Argentina that can only be described as revolutionary.
Killings and assaults were common, often at the hands of the police. And in the worst male prisons, containing the most violent criminals. But to start, Lohana is determined to set out the reality faced by transsexual or travesti people. We are the poorest sisters of the movement. I have lost hundreds of friends, through violence, because the police killed them, through illegal surgery, HIV, suicide At the root of this shockingly low life expectancy is discrimination and all that emanates from it: poverty, lack of education, exclusion from the labour market, poor healthcare.
Loss of self-esteem is a major problem. So you go into a discourse of internal misery that nothing will change, that nothing will make any difference, whatever happens.
We are raped, tortured. We have known all sorts of violence. During the years of military dictatorship, travestis were routinely killed and imprisoned. The return of democracy in brought no change. But trans activists like Lohana were drawing international attention to the appalling abuse. International human rights organizations such as Amnesty International began reporting their plight. In , Lohana publicly announced that she was leaving prostitution — and that she wanted a job.
She became the first ever trans person in Argentina to obtain a job in the public sector. His approach has been continued by his widow, Cristina, culminating in the passage of the landmark gender law in May This makes gender reassignment surgery, paid for by the state, freely available.
Changing legal and social gender ID without medical intervention has also become possible. The law applies to anyone aged 18 and over. But unders are allowed to have their name changed and be recognized according to their own gender identity. The bill was not just fought for by transgender people; it was shaped by them. Tight definitions of transgender are avoided — allowing for the possibility of new identities in future — and it bears not a trace of the pathologizing language that so often surrounds the issue.
Named after an activist who died aged 33, the co-op is run by trans people and provides training and employment. They make items such as the overalls children wear in state schools. For its members, the co-op is an alternative to prostitution and life on the streets. The co-op now has 20 members, down from 60 — but for the best possible reasons. Those who have left have set up other co-ops. There are now around travestis working in co-ops in the Buenos Aires area.
She is keen that trans people obtain jobs outside the co-ops, too. That status marks out Latin American travestis from many in other parts of the world. We have a more revolutionary character. We do not exist in a ghetto of trans activists. We are very much involved in the wider political struggles At the heart of her own approach is feminism.
She is a big fan of gender theorist Judith Butler. You do not have to conform to a strict stereotype. You can push your tits out if you like. Or you have a deep voice and big feet — so what? As people gain rights and acceptance, and the rigid binary definitions of female and male are challenged and become more fluid, so the need for surgical intervention decreases.
They can be women without surgery. There is still prejudice and abuse. When the gender law was passed there was euphoria among the wide range of social movements that backed it. But we were also asking ourselves: why did it have to cost so many lives? Today, Lohana looks at young trans people with pride and pleasure. They are so much more confident than those of her generation. I think this is the best legacy we could have left. Lohana Berkins has made it — but the personal price she and her comrades have had to pay was shockingly high.
This article is from the June issue of New Internationalist. You can access the entire archive of over issues with a digital subscription.
Patreon is a platform that enables us to offer more to our readership. New Internationalist is a lifeline for activists, campaigners and readers who value independent journalism. It is free to read online — please support us so we can keep it that way.
Trans revolutionary. Today Argentina leads the world in recognizing the rights of transgender people. But it hasn't always been that way. Help us produce more like this Patreon is a platform that enables us to offer more to our readership.
X New Internationalist is a lifeline for activists, campaigners and readers who value independent journalism. Related Articles. Since the early s, Argentina has been forced into a cycle of debt and austerity.
Nick Dearden presents solutions to this Why is hunger growing in a country known as an agricultural powerhouse? Amy Booth reports from Buenos Aires. The violent crackdown against Chilean protesters is reviving painful memories of dictatorship. Roxana Olivera talks to a High seas, low deeds.
Slavery, murder, abandonment. Where human rights do not reach. Argentina's growing anti-abortion movement. Ana Ionova reports from the northern province of Paper promises: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at Why is it so easy for governments to ignore this much-feted document? TJ Coles analyzes the British case. Human rights after Trump. Nanjala Nyabola explains why Trump presents a challenge for those who work in human rights.
Reforming the Gender Recognition Act is a feminist responsibility. The moral panic surrounding proposed changes is incoherent. Husna Rivzi explains why. Is China detaining a million Uyghur Muslims? Nithin Coca reports. Our bodies, our rights. According to the UN, most surgeries on intersex babies amount to torture.
Valentino Vecchietti calls for urgent change. Locked away forever. Shahidul Alam imprisoned another month. Rumana Hashem reports. Free Shahidul! Chris Brazier explains what Alam's detention means and Prime Minister Hun Sen has dissolved newspapers and the opposition.
Becky and Simon Kenton-Lake report. The Ni Una Menos movement are making history. Orlando James Jenkinson Defending journalism in a climate of fear.
Jump to navigation. The late afternoon sun casts a golden glow over children playing in the little park where Lohana Berkins has suggested we should meet. She speaks in a clear, rather deep voice. Straight talking and fiercely analytical, she comes across as a woman who knows exactly who she is. Lohana has been a transgender activist since the s. She has played a key role in bringing about legal and social changes in Argentina that can only be described as revolutionary. Killings and assaults were common, often at the hands of the police.
It is with great shock and dismay that ILGA has learnt of the passing of our comrade and friend Lohana Berkins , a fierce advocate for the human rights of trans and travesti people in her native Argentina and across the Americas. Her health conditions had worsened during the last few weeks. She passed away today, a few hours after sending her last message to her travesti sisters. That's why I want to thank all of you for your love and support and send you these words through our comrade Marlene Wayar to whom I also leave my mission. Many are our accomplishments over the years.
Lohana Berkins: after her death, she left us a legacy of trans and feminist struggle
The LGBTQ community in Argentina, and the region at large continues to mourn the loss of one of its most vocal and compassionate leaders. Another moment of admirable resistance came in when Berkins enrolled in a training and licensing program to become a teacher in Buenos Aires. Upon hearing that she would not be able to do so under her name and self asserted gender identity, she filed a formal appeal to the government of Buenos Aires and won, paving the way for countless trans men and women to receive an education and employment while having their identities respected. See author's posts. Tags: lgbtq , Lohana Berkins. Share The diverse landscape and favorable exchange rate for tourists makes it a popular choice, sharing ranks with cities in New Zealand, China, and France. Share Live updates form the G20 Summit.
Remembering Lohana Berkins: Activist, Leader and Proud Transvesti
Lohana Berkins Pocitos - February 5, Buenos Aires was an Argentine Travesti activist, defender and promoter of transgender identity. In , she starred in a fundamental demand for the visibility of transvestites and trans people by enrolling in Normal School No. She was a legislative adviser mandate fulfilled at the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires for the Communist Party led by Patricio Echegaray , thus becoming the first travesti person with a public job. She was a candidate for national deputy in the year , accepted in the electoral lists officialized by the Electoral Justice on the occasion of the renewal of positions of the Argentinian Congress. The labor enterprise managed and administrated by travesti people was inaugurated in mid , in a place donated by the National Institute of Associations and Social Economy Inaes.