She Died As Miguel
She deserved to die as she deservered to die as Geraldinne.
BY THE EDITORIAL TEAM
June 10, 2018
Between 2014 and 2017, an estimated 164 trans women were murdered in Mexico.
The relatively small state of Colima has not been immune to the ongoing violence against trans* women, having been rocked by several murders in the past 6 months alone.
Geraldinne ‘Mickey’ Verjan Contreras is one of these women.
Nelly Ochoa, a queer rights activist and friend of Geraldinne, points to the neglected responsibilities of the government to protect and promote acceptance of trans* women and the queer community in general.
Several of the trans women interviewed for the Queer Here upcoming feature 'Making Machismo', articulated that gendered norms in machismo-centred conservative culture provide an accommodating environment for public harassment and acts of aggression towards trans women – of which all had experienced on a daily basis. These gendered norms also limit their employment opportunities and career prospects, with stereotypes perpetuating social expectations of trans women’s work as related to fashion, cosmetology or the sex trade.
In conservative contexts such as Colima, trans* women may find themselves alienated by family and the community at large. In the absence of support networks and opportunities in education and employment, Nelly explains that women like Mickey look to work in the sex trade to survive and this is where they encounter violence.
Although sex work is legally permitted at designated sexual enterprises in the city, extensive and regular health checks and STI testing is required for sex workers. Those not willing or unable to pass the health requirements turn to the streets - with no oversight, they are particularly of vulnerable to gender-based violence.
The grief and loss in the queer community in this small city of Colima sits just below the surface of conversations, its heavy presence weights talk of the many injustices suffered by both trans women and men. Our discussion with Nelly turns to that of the broader injustices suffered by the trans community – most notably at the top of the queer rights agenda is the federal and state administrative amendments needed to allow for trans people to reflect their true gender on their birth certificates. Although in Mexico DF, Michoacán and Nayarit corrections to include true gender identity is possible on official documents, for those residing outside of these states it is not, Colima included.
The heavy grief surfaces again, as Nelly reflects on Mickey’s passing, “As a sex worker, she knew the risk that she was taking. But the worst thing is that she died as Miguel - and she deserved to die as Geraldine. That’s the worst”.