Argentine Workers' Central Union Secretary of Gender Florencia Guimaraes García works each day to defend, redefine, and educate others on transgender identity and what it means to be a travesti person in Argentina.
“It’s not that there’s a difference between a comrade that calls herself trans or me calling myself a travesty,” she said. “It’s not like one has four boobs, another has three, another has two. No, we are talking about a political stance.”
While Florencia’s family supported her in whatever ways they could, her childhood was marked by different kinds of violence: violence from neighbors and violence from a school that didn’t embrace her. And at 38 years old, Florencia is a survivor; the life expectancy for transgender people in Latin America, not just Argentina, is just 35 years old.
Florencia said she spent 12 years working the streets because she did not have a high school education or job alternatives. After returning to school to get her degree, Florencia now works for the Argentine Workers' Central Union. She was elected Secretary of Gender and helps others access gainful employment.
“I do lots of things as Secretary of Gender,” she said. “Mainly defend the rights of my union comrades, like defending the demand for legal abortions, the fight against gender-based violence that is suffered in all classes, in all jobs, including the unions.”
Argentina passed its Gender Identity Law in May 2012, the law is considered one of the most progressive in the world. The Gender Identity Law requires the state to recognize people’s gender based on how they self-identify.