By Miss saHHara
‘Having a strong support from home and being able to speak to them does make life a whole lot better. This will encourage transpeople to get an education, a good job and a better quality of life.’
This campaign is the brainchild of Aleika Barros, the current Miss Trans Universe 2015. She started it with the collaboration of women in the trans beauty pageant industry to draw attention to the wanton killings of trans women in Latin America.
This January 2016 alone, Brazil has already recorded over 43 murders of trans women and men. South America continues to hold the highest share of deaths, violence and discrimination against transgender, gay and gender non-conforming people worldwide. Click here to read about the most recent killing of a Brazilian man, here is another murder of a Brazilian woman in the woods only few weeks apart. It has been stated that a memeber of the LGBTQ+ community lose their lives every 27 hours and the the list goes on and on.
From misgendering in life, at death, to no legal rights to live peacefully as humans. The life expectancy of the LGBTQ+ community is very low and no significant changes are being made by the government, despite global outcry by activists.
Miss Barros who is originally Brazilian but resides in Europe, explained a bit farther below.
Why did you start this campaign?
‘I started this campaign because many trans people are being murdered in Brazil. Since 2008 to 2014, more than 600 trans person have been murdered. I started this campaign to educated people how high the level discrimination and violence against trans people are. We should all have the right to live in peace.’
What do you hope to achieve?
‘I hope people can understand deep down in their hearts that because of the discrimination and hate, transpeople are being killed and not given decent opportunities like education and respectful jobs like every other human being. I hope the Government can help our community by passing protective equality laws, educational based scholarships and good jobs to restore some sort of dignity for our community.’
What can people do to make your vision a reality?
‘Well, I will like to see many transgender women finish their education in peace and not end up on the street because of family and society rejection. It is import that families accepts and supports their children through the difficult journey of being a transgender person. Having a strong support from home and being able to speak to them does make life a whole lot better. This will encourage transpeople to get an education, a good job and a better quality of life. In Brazil, due to religion, lack of equality and government policies, life remains very difficult for our community.’
She made it very clear that not all violence are due to transphobic reasons. Some are because transpeople result to crimes to make ends meet. She continued below:
‘Not all transwomen are murdered for transphobic crimes or because everybody in Brazil are transphobic, we have transpeople who are involved in all sorts of crimes too. Many transwomen who commit these crimes in the end pay with their lives. I believe that when someone commits an offence, they should be punished by the law of the land, by going to jail to serve their time, not by being murdered by jungle justice on the streets.‘
What are your dreams for the future?
‘I will keep fighting for opportunities for my transgender community, especially at school and in the jobs market. It is very important that the next generation of trans people have positive opportunities in life. It is better to start now, instead of leaving the responsibility to later generations. We can make the world a better place for all. I don’t know exactly how long it will take, but I prefer to think that WE NEED TO TRY… And keep fighting to be accepted. We are human and normal like anybody else.’
Brazil has a long way to go like many parts of the world where being born different is a taboo due to religion and cultural beliefs. We, transpeople and allies included should put our heads together to educate people on what it means to be a transperson and why we are not to be afraid of, because we are human too.
You can contact Aleika Barros below: