In this week’s reading Marcia Ochoa discusses transformistas of Venezuela. She begins the chapter by discussing what she will cover throughout the chapter, and gives the reader some basic definitions of transformista, transgender, and transsexuality. She explains that transformistas a is not recognized as a transsexual because, “(1) they are not recognized as transsexual under the diagnostic criteria, (2) may or may not desire sex reassignment surgery, and (3) may or may not have access to the medical or psychiatric care necessary to produce this category in Venezuela. They also do not impersonate women for entertainment purposes.
Ochoa then goes on to discuss the term loca-lization. From what I understand this term describes an individual that is “fabulous” even through great societal constraint. Ochoa seems very intrigued by these locas and talks of them having intense bravery to stand up for themselves. She talks about how these locas bring shame to themselves and their families and that really hit home to me. In their culture family honor is very important and for these locas to go against this honor in order to be true to themselves and be happy really impresses me.
The issue of citizenship is then brought up. Ochoa talks of Venezuela as a very modern place but not in the political sense. Transformista’s citizenships are affected negatively because they are denied some of their rights and just generally excluded from the political realm of life. Ochoa describes a situation she saw in Venezuela where two transformistas where taken under a bridge by soldiers with guns. The transformistas stood at gun point but Ochoa never found out what happened to them because one of the lookout soldiers had spotted her and she was worried she would make it worse for the transformistas. This really upsets me and kind of actually makes me sick to my stomach. I do not like to hear that anyone can be escorted by men with guns simply because they choose to live their life in a way that their government does not seem to accept. This is just not right and I have so much respect for the transformistas that stand up for themselves even through this persecution. It must take extreme bravery and self esteem.
Apparently, there is very little that the transformistas can do because the police do not take their complaints seriously. They are not given full citizenship because of the way they choose to live their lives. Yet they still strive to be “fabulous” which I think is awesome! I believe that the government in Venezuela is completely in the wrong and something needs to be done to ensure that rights are given to everyone within the country and not excluded to someone simply because of the choices they make about how they live their lives. That is just simple human respect guidelines I feel that all humans are entitled to no matter what.
Ochoa’s reading really opened my eyes to this discrimination that is happening in Venezuela. The transformistas continue to live their lives and be “fabulous” and I really learned a lot about not letting anyone put you down for what you believe.