Argentinean trans* activist, Lohana Berkins, died in Buenos Aires on February 5, 2016. AWID joins the voices and hearts remembering Lohana, a trans* activist who, along with others, created Asociación de Lucha por la Identidad Travesti y Transexual [ALITT, Association to Fight for Travesti and Transsexual Identity] in 1994.
In 2008, she created and led “Nadia Echazú”, a textile cooperative, which is also a workshop-school where travestis and transsexuals can learn and work in order to move out of prostitution. Since 2010 she was part of the Frente Nacional por la Ley de Identidad de Género [National Front for the Gender Identity Law], an alliance of more than 15 organizations advocating for the Gender Identity Law passed by the Argentinean National Parliament on May 9, 2012.
From 2013 until her death, she headed the Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Office under the Observatory of Gender (Issues) in the Judicial System of Buenos Aires City.
Lohana’s strategy was to open up dialogue with feminist movements and she helped forge alliances and connections between trans* and feminist activists, she was a long-term participant in the National Campaign for Safe, Legal and Free Abortion in Argentina.
Her activism was not only local
Her voice was heard in different international conferences, including the AWID Forum. She was able to shake her audiences in those spaces, always saying, “In this world of capitalist worms, you need courage to be a butterfly.”
Lohana advocated for the recognition and respect of trans* and travesti human rights, and her struggle managed to force cracks in the wall of heteronormativity, driving the systems based on gender binaries into a crisis.
On the day before her death, Lohana shared the following statement through fellow activist Marlene Wayar:
“Many are our accomplishments over the years. This is the time to resist, to continue fighting. The time for revolution is now, because we will never again go to prison. I am convinced that the drive for change is love. The love that was denied to us is what moves us to change the world. TravestiN.T. Rage Always.”