September 28th is International Safe Abortion Day. On this day, we bear witness to the struggle for the bodily autonomy of women, transmen, and childbearing people, which transcends our bodies and spreads onto the streets, courts, and legislative chambers.
Defending Life in All Its Profusion of Expressions: Decolonization, Anti-racism, and Harmonizing Textiles as Diverse Paths to Freedom
Chahim A’jam Vásquez Leal, shares reflections, feelings and thoughts that she has lived through actions for the defense of life in plurality of existences, as well as concerns and proposals for freedoms to defend plural expressions of life.
Transfeminists in the region are committed to uniting all bodies and all marginalized groups to fight patriarchy, capitalism, and, of course, racism with a Central American perspective.
Ana Argelia Marcelly García, 72-year-old woman, teacher, cultural manager, mother, grandmother. This is her first-person testimony of her, in which she tells how she also became the guardian of the memory of her daughter, the poet Leyla Quintana, “Amada Libertad”.
The absolute or partial criminalization of abortion in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala puts the lives and freedom of women and all people with the capacity to gestate at risk, helps thousands of girls continue to become mothers and denies the right to interruption of pregnancy that, from the indigenous worldview, has been given for centuries.
Trans women access mainly informal work and, to a lesser percentage, formal work. Within informal work, 33% perform sex work and 28% are engaged in other types of informal work such as street vendors. Regarding formal work, 16% work in the maquila sector, on banana or coffee farms and are not unionized. It is unknown if to work in these sectors they have had to renounce their gender identity.
When I graduated high school at eighteen, I told my mom I wanted to work; I wanted to earn my own money and feel productive. With the help of a close acquaintance, I applied for a job, and I got it. I was happy. Everything was going great until, suddenly, after two months, they found out. Don’t ask me how. One day, they just said to me, “We don’t need you here because you have HIV.”
“Fundamentalism takes root and bears fruit in systems of social inequality,” and this inequality has been abetted by several historical characteristics, such as the centralization of public services in metropolitan areas at the expense of peripheral rural areas, the racial geopolitics that marks the Caribbean lowlands as a region for resource extraction that benefits the Pacific region, and the low levels of education in most of the isthmus, which often hinder people’s discernment and consequently foster breeding grounds for indoctrination.”
Since the beginning of the pandemic, hate crimes have increased, repressive public policies have been implemented, cybernetic and institutional attacks against activists that were not aligned with authoritarian governments’ official narratives have risen, and militarization has been the governments’ response to the disease, which has resulted in the violation of human rights of various people and social groups—primarily women, and trans and non-binary people.
I guess the urgency of co-creating a feminist organisation grounded in radical healing and transformative feminist power came from the shock of the pandemic, from the interruption of the status quo that it brought, from the realisation that we couldn’t procrastinate any longer.