(Santiago de Chile, June 10th, 2020).- My name is Fernando Javier Ojeda Bastardo ,I am a venezuelan trans men and I have lived in Santiago for 4 years. The reason of my letter is protest and complaint for the basic rights that as a person I deserve in anywhere. I’m hoping it can call people to change this and many more contexts that venezuelan trans people suffer every day.
On June 9th, 2020 since the covid-19 pandemic started, I went to work and as everybody else I got checked because the region where I live was under quarantine. I was carrying my documents and safe-conduct so everything should be fine. It should have been as any other check. But because I was a trans person and migrant it wasn’t. My ID Card, safe-conduct, passport and legal documents DO NOT IDENTIFY ME. They have a gender and name that 4 years ago I decided to stop using by autonomy. For my conviction and happiness, I live how I feel every day. So I felt naturally scared of being involved in an identity check.
Not even my empowerment years or fights as an activist prepared me for the moment in which a functionary in charge in a bus full of people said out loud and with authority a name and gender that are not mine. In front of the reaction of this functionary that didn’t understand what was happening, the best for him was repeat it many times and ask me if this was my ID Card. With effort I talked and just said ‘I can’t change my name, I’m venezuelan’. Then he said again with authority ‘Sure gentlemen or lady, I don’t have to take you and verify it’. I had to say ‘Yes sir, it is my ID Card and that is the name I have’. I was feeling my stomach so tight, and he finally asked me to step a side and let him finish the operation. I don’t know if luckily it iwasn’t worse because I don’t feel guilty about my existence. For many people it is a routine, but today it turned into something scary and outragous for me. This is not fair.
It’s not fair that having emigrating from Venezuela with documents that do not endorse my identity, because trans people human rights do not exist, they are trapped between bureaucracy, corruption and political agreements. It’s not decent that to make use of a law that protects my rights in a country in which now I’m living, I must pay corrupt proceedings to certificate my documents. I thought that having a definitive residence as foreigner I could be in equality among the obligations Chile demands and the rights I have.
In Chile exists an insufficient Gender Identity Law. With incongruous migratory politics. I have always wondered, what other obstacule besides will a state would have to take in their trans migrants with the right to an identity? But this reality repeats everyday with many trans people in almost every territory and we go through it just because we are trans.
It is not my duty to educate, tell my life or expose myself. But I am tired, now every morning when I have to get out of my house I will feel fear. I will have to deal with situations like this or worse for deciding to be who I really am.
I demand to every person that has the hability to change this reality to do it. Even though I don’t want to say it, not every person can deal with these circumstances. It is up to all of us to make this a better world and society.
I call to the states of Venezuela and Chile to have will and work for the human rights of trans people in their territories, To adequate their politics, make them equal for all and to give us the dignity we deserve.
To every migrant, trans, and Venezuelan person who can read this, I hope you can find the strength to rise up from every unfavorable situation and change it from out realities. Never give up, I’m still standing. Many of us are still standing.
MIGRANT TRANS LIFES MATTER.
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