Thursday, February 12, 2009

Where Are The Positive Black Brazilian Transwomen Role Models?

Brazil has a population of African descended people of about 100 million, which is more than the combined population of African descended people in the Caribbean, the US, Canada and Central America.

Based on Lynn Conway's 1/250 ratio of transgender births the estimated potential population of Black Brazilian transsexuals in Brazil is 400,000. But most of the transwomen that we've heard about who have garnered international attention from Brazil are people such as Roberta Close or recently Patricia Araujo, who just walked the runway at a Rio fashion show.

Unfortunately it seems as though the same pattern that we have of invisibility of Black transpeople in the United States has replicated itself in Brazil. Yeah, you see Black transpeople in Brazil, but unfortunately, just like what happened here in the States, they are disproportionately the subjects of adult websites.

So the question I ask as a concerned citizen of the Diaspora, where are the Brazilian transwomen of African descent who are positive role models? Where are the ones who have transitioned and are contributing to Brazilian society and why haven't their accomplishments and achievements been told to the rest of the world?

I know they must exist, it's just they haven't had their moment in the media sun yet.


Gina said...

One story, anyway. I found her very inspiring and, at least, she doesn't look European like Roberta Close does. Brazil is a very racist country, the last country in the Western Hemisphere to abolish slavery (it still exists there in some pockets) and no matter how they dance around at carnival time, the transwomen in Brazil are at the very bottom of society. Sound familiar?

Gina said...

Oopsie, let's see if that link works this time.

Griffe said...

Aparently in the African Religions still flourishing in brazil the Transvestis are considered to be influenced by a goddess, much the same way gays and transpeople are regarded in Haitian Vodou by the loa Eruzlie Freda.

But if you can't get a black model on a billboard (Or even a Pardo) how can you expect to see dignified black transwomen.

gogojojo said...

This is something I though when I saw your last post about the pageant that happened there recently. But it's always hard to find mainstream representations of Afro-Brazilian culture or Black people (despite it being considered, at least to most people I know, one of the "Blackest" countries in Latin America.)

Monica Roberts said...

Jo Jo
That pageant post led to the musing that produced this one. (funny how that works sometimes)

I read Faiza's story and e-mailed her a few moments ago.

The same way that Patricia Araujo ended up on that stage in Rio walking a fashion show runway.

Just as someone opened the door for her, there have to be Afro Brazilian transpeople that have the looks and talent to do the same.