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What does “social travesticide” mean?

Updated: Feb 4, 2022

According to the Observatory Lucía Pérez, the year 2021 has already seen 24 social travesticides so far. Did you know this term?

Alma Fernández, a travesti activist, explained to Cosecha Roja:

“Social travesticide refers to the full picture of the abandonment of our people condoned by the State. Yes, we are forced into prostitution but beyond having to get into a car and risk being murdered by a client at any corner, us travas die again and again every day. How many of us had to flee from home at age 14 never to come back, our families never hearing of us ever again? How many of us are left to rot in prison?”

Although this term has no legal entity yet, labelling their murders as social travesticides calls attention to the fact that the deaths of travestis could be prevented through public policies to dismantle the structural violence that this community has to endure to this day.

Contratá Trans and their work

Contratá trans ("Hire trans") is a project created to help provide job opportunities for the trans community.

Why, though? According to a report published in 2018, 6 out of 10 trans people are driven to drop out of high school because of the amount of discrimination they face. Around 83% of them have suffered severe aggressions and discrimination in hands of the police, 46% live in precarious homes and around 34% is HIV-positive and struggles to get access to antiretroviral therapy.

Under these living conditions, their job opportunities are few and very unstable: many women work as hairdressers, seamstresses or sex workers. This is the reason behind this project, created by Bachillerato Mocha Celis and Impacto Digital. and supported by UNFPA, UNPD, ONU and the Kingdom of the Netherlands: to establish an online labor pool where employers can connect with possible employees.

Additionally, they provide training and open talks as well as develop awareness campaigns for LGBTIA+ rights.

Diana Sacayán, a driving force behind the bill for a hiring quota for trans and travesti workers

Diana Amancay Sacayán was an Argentinian transfeminist activist. She was born in Tucumán but moved to La Matanza (Buenos Aires) when she was young. She was brutally murdered in 2015.

She endured institutional violence because of her gender identity. While in jail, she got more acquainted with the Communist Party and so her activism began, something she would continue till the end of her life. She was part of the National Front for the Gender Identity Law and the first travesti person to receive her national ID with the correct gender marker.

She also led the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), worked in the National Institute Against Discrimination, Xenophobia and Racism (INADI) and founded the Anti-Discrimination Liberation Movement (MAL). She advocated for the hiring quota for trans and travesti workers in the public sector in the province of Buenos Aires, but she passed before her work came to fruition.

For her travesticide, Gabriel David Marino was sentenced to life in prison as a co-perpetrator of the crime, described as "a homicide aggravated by gender violence and hatred" in 2018. This ruling set a precedent to have hate crimes analyzed and punished from a transfeminist approach.

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