By: Marisa G. Ruiz Trejo / Source: www.diagonalperiodico.net / The Dawn / February 8, 2016. Lohana Berkins raised her voice against violence towards transgender women and transgendered people. She died on February 5 in Buenos Aires (Argentina).
Lohana Berkins died in Buenos Aires on February 5, 2016.
It dawns. She leaves behind a dominant world angered by her smile, an enemy world that is not ours, a passage from silence to speech; lives crossed, names and identities that no longer pay with their bodies, under a sky that heals as it challenges us. It is dawning in tears and, accompanied, Lohana Berkins dies in Buenos Aires.
She is encouraged, surrounded by many people, as she says in her last letter:
“Dear sisters, my health is at a very critical state which does not allow me to meet with you personally. So, I want to thank you for your expressions of affection and say a few words through my friend Marlene Wayar, whom I pass on the torch. Many are the triumphs we have obtained in these years. Now it is time to resist, to fight for their continuity. The time of the revolution is now, because we will not return to prison anymore. I am convinced that the engine of change is love. The same love they have denied to us is now our impulse to change the world. All the blows and contempt that I’ve suffered, do not compare with the infinite love that surrounds me right now.Transvestite Anger*, always. A special hug”.
Her words reverberated throughout Latin America, from Argentina to Central America and beyond borders. She conveyed love as a set of practices and procedures that we can all follow, as a methodology and a tool of theoretical and political struggle. Behind the murmur of all accompanying voices, all the voices of Lohana can be heard as a massive flutter, because “in a world of capitalist worms, it takes courage to be a butterfly”, as she once said. Her visibility resounds everywhere and her strength spreads awareness.
A purple blanket with the name of the “Nadia Echazú Cooperative”, the first working textile cooperative school for trasngenders and transsexuals, is held behind her coffin. Among the flowers, there is a sign that says “thank you for your struggle”, while dozens of women mourn her death; a life that deserves to be mourned.
Why is her life important? Why are these lives important? Because Lohana Berkins, free, dared to challenge the authority of the patriarchal power that damns 98% of trans women to spend half of their lives incarcerated; because Lohana raised her voice against violence towards trans women and transgenders and fought for the recognition of their name and identity.
Lohana Berkins took the microphone to denounce police repression as the only way that States have for dealing with trans women because they do not want to take on diversity and prefer to control them by incarcerating them and excluding them from public spaces. Dispossession, eviction from their homes, displacement, violence and unemployment among trans women and transgendered people are traumas of war and are attacks against their economic rights, that often destine them to prostitution. Lohana Berkins, her partners, her collective and all the networks she generated deserve a space of appearance so that her dignity grows big. She spoke of writer Pedro Lemebel as a “revolutionary ideal”, but so was she.
*Transgender Anger was a struggle slogan that Lohana frequently used. It is also the name of a documentary on the textile cooperative that Lohana helped to create in Buenos Aires.