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PHOTOS: What It Is to Be Transgender In Mexico City

PHOTOS: What It Is to Be Transgender In Mexico City


Renowned photographer Kike Arnal's photo book Bordered Lives shows us the everyday lives of seven trans people in and around Mexico City.

Bordered_lives_final_0The men and women pictured in Bordered Lives: Transgender Portraits From Mexico by Kike Arnal live with intensity and make sacrifices daily to exist as their authentic gender.

In Bordered Lives, Arnal takes us into the lives of seven individuals in and around Mexico City. He shows them going about their day-to-day lives: getting ready in the morning, interacting with family and friends, and devoting their lives to helping others in the transgender community.

Despite some important advances in Mexico recognizing and protecting the rights of its transgender citizens, their persistent problems include employment, loss of family, and financial insecurity. And despite legislation on hate crimes targeting transgender people, discrimination still persists, with the majority of the violent attacks on the LGBT community perpetrated against transgender women.

Copyright (c) 2014 by Kike Arnal. This excerpt originally appeared in Bordered Lives: Transgendered Portraits from Mexico, published by The New Press, and is used here with permission. Bordered Lives is available through The New Press.

Funding for Bordered Lives has been generously provided by the Arcus Foundation a global foundation dedicated to the idea that people can live in harmony with one another and the natural world. The Foundation works to advance respect for diversity among peoples and in nature,

The photographs presented in this book were made possible by a commission from Jon Stryker: philanthropist, architect, and photography devotee.

Oyuki Martinez Colin is 34 years old. She was raised in a poor family in Mexico City.

Redefining-bodies-0449bwx633_0 Oyuki Martinez Colin

Redefining-bodies-9932bwx633_0 Oyuki Martinez Colin

Redefining-bodies-0160bwx633_0 Despite her bachelor's degree in political science, Oyuki has not been able to find a job because she's trans. She earns a living as a sex worker, and as a trans activist working in HIV and AIDS prevention within the high-risk transgender community and among Ixtapalapa's sex workers.

Redefining-bodies-bodies-7385bwx633_0Genesis Rafael Lopez Ramirez is 39 years old. Originally from a socially conservative city in the state of Guanajuato in central Mexico, Genesis realized that he wanted to live as a man from a very early age.

Redefining-bodies-8893bwx633_0Himmel Reyes is a well-known transgender entertainer who has sung on television and taken a number of roles in films. For many transgender people, Himmel represents success and is a source of inspiration.

Redefining-bodies-8825bwx633_0 Himmel Reyes

Redefining-bodies-mexico-1386bwx633_0Mario Sanchez Perez and Diana Laura Guerrero Sandoval (not pictured here) gained national attention in 2008. On May 17, the International Day Against Homophobia, they became the first transgender couple to marry in Mexico.

Redefining-bodies-1833bwx633_0Angie Rueda Castillo is an activist from Mexico City. She studied sociology at Universidad Iberoamericana, one of the most prestigious private universities in Mexico.


Angie Rueda Castillo

Redefining-bodies-mexico-3960bwx633_0_0Jessica Marjane Duran Franco is a 20-year-old transgender woman from Mexico City. Jessica realized she wanted to live as a woman at the age of 15, when she first became sexually active. She immediately told her family, who received the news with mixed emotions.

Redefining-bodies-3742bwx633_0 Jessica Marjane Duran Franco

Originally from Venezuela and now based in the San Francisco Bay area, Kike Arnal has covered stories in the Americas, the Middle East, Asia, and Europe. His photographs have been featured in TheNew York Times, Life, and Mother Jones, among other leading publications. He has directed and produced video documentaries, including Yanomami Malaria for the Discovery Channel.

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