Original text (in Spanish) from piedepagina.
Marijose, tojolobal and zapatista, A member of Escuadrón 421, shared their story with groups in Zurich, Switzerland: «Red blood also runs through these veins, just like yours, like everyone else’s, being trans, being a “compañeroa”, has no other color of blood«
ZÚRICH, SUIZA.- The Escuadrón 421 maritime caravan shared its experience of fighting with collectives in Zurich. Marijose, a member of the delegation of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), spoke of their personal and collective resistance. their story focused on three parts: their childhood, Zapatismo, and the resistance.
After the activist Dominica spoke of their experience as a trans woman in the Swiss feminist movement, the word came from Marijose.
I am Marijose, Tojolobal and Zapatista, this is my story that I want to share with you.
I am going to share my life with you in three spaces:
At the beginning, I realized that at the age of five that it was not the same, I had not yet entered primary school, at that age I realized that I was a different person from the others. I began to discover that I was a girl.
I did not feel comfortable with my body, I liked girl games. This is how I lived my first stage of life without knowing that later I would live discriminated against. When I entered primary school I suffered humiliation from the older children in school, they insulted me, I felt contempt, pain, but those pains, those anguish I endured with sadness. I stored it in my heart.
I thought it was a child’s whim, when I am older I would change my way of thinking, but it was not like that, at the age of twelve I realized that I liked children, so I said, I cannot compete with this feeling.
With the body of a man and in love with another man, how is it possible to fall in love with a person of the same sex? I wondered. While the insults increased at school, the sixth grade children were the ones who insulted me the most, they humiliated me because they knew about my homosexual condition, although I denied it, I tried to hide it, say no to them, that everything they say about me It is not true.
At 14 or 15 years of age, I began to discover myself, there I realized that my body belonged to another body, it was when I began to see what was happening with my body, and I asked myself: How do I free this person that I carry? inside? I couldn’t tell my family, I was afraid that they would kick me out of the house, that they would despise me. My life was silence, I didn’t talk about it with anyone.
When I had more strength that I accumulated during the time that I was insulted, humiliated and discriminated against, I used it as a weapon or tool to grow and be stronger, because in my heart and in my mind there was the security that one day I was going to free myself, to show him to people what I am.
I needed time and space to grow, to strengthen myself, to remove those insults, which I stored in my heart. I started to make some changes in my person, but that led to the loss of my friends, when I told them my homosexual condition, they told me “you are fucking, you are a manpo”, and they rejected me in their circle of friends. “You know I don’t want a friend like that, people will say that I’m also like you, so I prefer that you don’t come near and don’t talk to me,” that’s how they distanced me from me.
From there I began to participate in the Zapatista movement, because I realized that they have two ways of living life. In Zapatismo, I got involved in the meetings for the education workshops, and I began to work on health issues, I saw that the Zapatista comrades did not discriminate against anyone, while some began to ask that if I am homosexual, I was hiding that, But they said that they do not discriminate, that they do not humiliate people, that they are like that, because the struggle does not distinguish religion, sex and skin colors, the only thing that matters is fighting for freedom.
Now I hold positions in the movement, because the struggle demands it, there I grew up as a person I wanted to be, I felt safe. I told the compas what I am, I wanted to see their reactions when but there was no rejection, so I got involved with certain words about homosexuality, that they think how they see it and what they said sounded very nice, it made me very happy because In the end I found a place where I will not suffer discrimination, because there I could dress as I want, and no one was going to criticize me, I thought, but I did not tell them yet, to get to where I am now I began to think I am gay or I am trans or I am a transvestite, I had those doubts.
With the support of the internet I studied a little about genres, I was confused because I did not know what I wanted to be, then I told a friend what I felt, what it was like. Why am I like this? He did not believe it because he never imagined that of me, as I was a comrade, he said that there is no problem, that he is proud to have such a comrade, what matters is the work and the decision of the fight.
For me that took a load off my shoulders. I told him about it when I was 23 years old. I told him that I was homosexual, because even in the family I had to find a way to tell my parents what I am, so as not to hide; I thought of many places to hide, first it crossed my mind to be a Marist because there people will not discriminate against me, because Marists surrender to what religion is, they cannot marry, that was the first thing that occurred to me.
Then I saw the possibility of going to the mountains with the insurgent comrades, but I said no, that is very compromising and very hard, I thought I would not hold out there. What do I do? Could it be that I leave my house, give up the fight? But I had seen that there is something better there. It was impossible to leave that, I am not going to leave this path and return to the world where there is humiliation, where there is discrimination.
I met more friends outside of Zapatismo, I talked with them, I saw that they also live in a discriminatory, homophobic situation, I joined them to explain that I was going by another path, that the path I am on is a safer path, I talked to them A little of the movement and they felt happy and happy because I was going to make my dreams come true, the moment comes when you don’t know what to do, you are in the wall, you don’t know what to do at that age.
I felt more hate, when they yelled at me in the street when they saw me walking, I heard the insults, not only from children but also from young people, parents who insulted me, they began to humiliate me in such a hateful way, in a way as if I was doing something bad to them, sometimes I asked them why their anger towards me? I’m like you, I told them, if I’m fucking, you fag, I accept it. But what is the problem? It is my life, not your life, look after your family, your children if you have them, don’t look at people’s lives.
At that time I was at the exact point to show people that the person they insult does exist, that it was only hidden, I fought for a long time, I did my own fight against my body, because that is also a resistance that one believes in one same. I began to grow, to resist against myself and against that body that made me uncomfortable.
I never thought of getting hormonal, I met people who told me “get hormonal so that you are different”, I don’t want that, I want to be the way I am, the one who is going to love me, is going to love me as I am, because those things also have consequences or sometimes is to generate money expenses, I love myself like that and see what happens.
I began to transform, I did it secretly so that my family would not notice it, I would go somewhere and on the way I would get ready, I would dress as a girl, on the way back I would take away everything and I hid it in the mountains, I would come home like nothing. Before that I spoke with my parents, to find out their opinion of all this, I worked with them, I told them that in the Zapatista movement they do not discriminate.
It was time to talk about it with my dad because some people had seen me dressed as a woman in cities near where I live. It was spread throughout the community that they saw me dressed as a woman.
Before it reaches the ears of my parents through the mouth of the people, I pluck up the courage to tell them everything about myself, my parents heard what I am through my own voice, for them it was a blow but they were able to overcome it, because in the movement I was oriented about those talks, they resisted accepting that. My mother, happy to be the way I am, that she loves me the way I am; my father, a little upset, but he told me that everything is fine, that nothing is wrong, that helped me a lot, because there was no need to leave the house.
My parents know what I am, I became that person who since I was a child asked for help and freedom, although people began to murmur and criticize me more strongly, but they did not hurt me, because I had grown many years in humiliation, in the discrimination, at that point he had strength, and endurance. When the Zapatista comrades saw that change, instead of criticizing me, they began to ask me why are you like this? Why did you suddenly change?
There I saw how the companions treat us who, instead of criticizing, instead of judging, the first thing they did is ask me, and with pleasure I would talk to the compas, sometimes they made circles of about 20 or 30 companions and put me in the middle to tell you about my life of suffering when I suffered insults, humiliations in my childhood and youth outside of Zapatismo.
They told me that in the fight we all deserve respect and a space where we can express our feelings, I saw the companions and the compas, who did not see me as a monster as others say, that I was not a stranger, that I was not a sick as the capitalist treats us.
For the patriarchal system we are sick, sick of mind, people who do not deserve to live in this space, to erase that, hospitals were created where we can change the gender reassignment, all that. In the capitalist world there are only male and female, but what about this part of us, that some dream of that too, they need a lot of money, they need to take risks, they either come out of the operating room alive or dead, these are things that one takes risks, I’m leaving accept as I am, I will fight for my life, my freedom and for my body.
In Zapatismo it is more beautiful, it is calmer, despite all that I also have positions in the struggle and the comrades have never discriminated against me for having a job, for having a position in the struggle, but people who are not Zapatista discriminate and make fun of me. They say that I am a bad example, to be a promoter of education, because I work as a promoter of education in towns and in the Zapatista area, I teach workshops.
The brothers who are partisans say that I am a bad example for the children, I will teach them for what I am, but it is not like that, a person knows that he is going to do as we are trans children, we bring it, it is not because we are going to turn on, it’s like us, nobody taught us to be who we are. At that time we did not watch television, there were no social networks like now.
We did not know if there were those kinds of people that the capitalist system has put transsexuals, bisexuals, heterosexuals, gays, lesbians. For us as Zapatistas, that word is like discrimination against those people, that’s why we as Zapatistas grasp the word as a “compañeroa”, because “compañeroa” is a word that includes you as you are: if you are a lesbian, if you are gay, if you are trans, everything encompass in a single word that does not hurt.
As the companions say to me, they call me companion to Marijose, I feel flattered, I feel happy, I feel respected, protected, because this word companion for me encompasses many things, like that he hugs me, so that word is what we use.
Outside of Zapatismo at this point they still insult me, because people like us are humiliated, we are used, because there are certain people who in the world of heterosexuality call themselves very macho, but when a person like us is discriminated against, sometimes it happens that the person who discriminates against you is because deep down in his/her heart, he/she is the same and he/she is angry that we have freed ourselves.
I have lived it firsthand, they insult me, but then they flirt with me and try to seduce me, when their friends are there they try to be a person, they hide what they are, that’s when I realized that there are those hatreds, those homophobias because the person could not leave where he is locked up, that is why that hatred towards those people who do have that courage to come out of the closet to face our reality is born.
I suffered humiliation, sometimes they see me, they invite me to have a coffee, but when they find out or hear that I am a man, they are scared, I tell them that I am not a real woman, that I am actually a man, at that moment the charm ends. “Fuckin ‘, why do you dress like that?” These are things we face. I have experienced that kind of life, how it is lived out there, how it is lived in the world of capitalist society, all those things I have lived.
The things that I tell you I have lived in the flesh, it is painful when one tells you “go to hell because you are not a woman”, I have learned to make it clear with them, when someone makes me an invitation they said of course I am not the woman What do you expect, I am one as they say in their current world: I am trans, and if you want, go ahead, if not, no problem.
There are people who tell you it doesn’t matter, let’s talk, let’s talk, tell me about your life; But there are people so cruel that they almost kick you because we are like that. These are things that we live, when we are alone or lost we do not find the way out, some even commit suicide, because they do not resist that hatred, contempt, more if the family does not tolerate them, it is a sad reality that many people like us end up in the hands of homophobics, in the hands of the oppressive system, being the way we are does not make us different from others, because as much as we, like you, red blood also runs through these veins just like yours, like everyone else’s , being trans, being a “compañeroa” has no other color of blood.
As Zapatistas we are fighting for a world where there are many worlds and as comrades we have that world built within autonomy, within the Zapatista struggle and we want to be like the reflection of all those comrades, of all those comrades who are still in hiding, who are still in hiding. They are afraid to say who they are, we want them to learn to fight, to learn to organize, to defend their lives.
We all deserve freedom, to live calmly, to live as we want, it is not that we fight among ourselves, that people insult us, yell at us, it is not that we take hatred against them, it is not that we are going to fight against them, I ignore them because I know what we have to face is the capitalist system, it is the main enemy of us seeing us as people without rights, as strangers.
The capitalist system put these people in the head of society, these people cannot exist, that we are a hindrance, that people like us must be eliminated, from there hatred begins, if everything were the opposite, if that had not been sown in the head of the rest of the human beings or of humanity, the capitalist system, the patriarchal system would have accepted, we people would have recognized that we are like that, perhaps now it would be a different world, there would be no homophobia or discrimination.