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The Senator, the trannies and Rev. Pat Roberson

27 January 2007

Wow, any time I tag an article “travestis”, I get hits from … Brazil, Peru, Egypt – everywhere really. I don’t know why Mexican trannies are so popular around the world, but Mexican trannies apparently even outclass the Thais when it comes to the best of the best.

A name change would seem to be a small thing, but not in Mexico, where whatever name you’re born with is your name for life. Consider the saga of Senadora Yeidckol Polevnsky (the PRD used to call Carlos Salinas “the unmentionable”.. the PRI refers to her as “the unpronouncable”), who was nearly disqualified as a candidate when she ran for Governor of the State of Mexico on the PRD ticket, because of a name change. Power, politics, child-abuse all factored in something very rare .. a court recognizing a name change.   

The background was sordid.  The candidate and businesswoman had been continually raped as a child, and gave birth hershelf to two children.  Worse the abuser was a family member, and the family was already covering up a second scandal.  The future Yeidckol’s mother was the illegitimate daughter of Maximiliano Avilla Camacho (bagman and sleazy brother of the WWII era president, Manuel Avilla Camacho).  Political considerations and protecting the family name, as much as protecting the daughter all played a part.  The idea was simple… buy a birth certificate from somene who would keep their mouth shut.  Unfortunately, there was no one with a name like Lopez or Garcia available, but there was a Polish immigrant whose daughter’s birth had been registered, shortly before the baby died.  Citlali Ibáñez Camacho beame Yeidckol Malka Polevnsky Gurwitz.

When this came out during the gubenatorial campaign, the PRI (and PAN) made a stink about it… they couldn’t just stick to raising questions about her honesty (“how can a candidate who doesn’t know her own name… blah, blah, blah”), but went in for overkill and tried to have her disqualified.  So, the thing ended up in court, and in this rare instance (after all, she was a minor at the time and couldn’t be held culpable for any criminal acts involved in the name change) the improbable Polish name was her “new” and legal name, and had been since she was in her early teens. 

As Yeidckol Polevensky, she had become a chemical engineer, opened a successful plastics factory and become a “self-made millionaire”. Having been head of the National Chamber of Commerce, she wasn’t an obvious choice, but she was an excellent one, for the Socialist PRD candidate for state governor.  She wasn’t expected to win, but the scandal gained her some backers she hadn’t counted on  — single mothers, abused women and… transexuals. 

Situations like the now Senadora’s are probably more common than we like to think, but few Mexicans can afford to change the name on their birth certificates. Not having the right documentation in Mexico is a problem —  If José Lopéz becomes Josefína — she’s S.O.L. when it comes to voting, applying for social security, going to the university, or… hell… just about anything to do with the bureaucracy. 


While trannies don’t have it easy, and there is discrimination (especially in rural areas), for complicated cultural reasons (best explained by Amaranta Gómez Regalado, “two-spirit” traditional Zapotec educator, social activist and political figure) transexuals are not rare in Mexico. And, as I wrote in my little guide to Mexico City:

 

Transvestites and Transgenders are – surprisingly – well accepted by Mexicans. A popular TV program (la Roña) features transvestite performers satirizing the prominent and pompous. In some indigenous communities, where women hold economic and political power, ambitious men adopt women’s clothing. While most “out” transvestites in Mexico City work as hairdressers (though I know a transvestite grocer and auto mechanic too), many are prostitutes. Friends tell me the pretty streetwalkers are usually boys.

 

As a foreigner with a passport (and the same gender that was on my birth certificate), I hadn’t considered the problems trannies faced. Unable to get a “real job” (every legitimate job requires you show your ID and school papers and every other damn certificate under the sun), it’s no wonder streetwalking is a common career choice. Even “proof of age” is only required if you join the streetwalker’s union.

 

So… it would seem there is a need for bills like that introduced by Polevensky’s PRD colleague, David Sanchez Camacho (a relation?)  .. but which really, really bothers  foreigners who make it their business to complicate other people’s lives. I got this from Pat Roberson’s “news” service:

By Michael F. Haverluck (CBNNews.com) January 25, 2007

MEXICO CITY — A bill to amend Mexico’s constitution and change civil laws guaranteeing transexuals the right to change their name and gender legally will be submitted in March by Mexican congressman David Sanchez Camacho.If Sanchez Camacho’s bill passes, Article Four of the Mexican Constitution will have an extra paragraph asserting that “every person has the right to the recognition and free exercise of their gender identity and their gender expression.” This legislative action could ignite much contention, especially amongst conservative Mexican Catholics adhering to the biblical stance on homosexuality.The guarantee of equal rights for men and women, along with the rights of families and children are currently contained in Article Four, with no mention of homosexuals or transexuals.

It is hoped by transexual activists that other nations will follow cue in pushing for such liberal legislative action.

Conservatives, on the other hand, realize how crucial it is for nations to support biblical family values in order to maintain the backbone of society.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. 27 October 2008 2:32 pm

    Hi friends,
    I’m not sure how to reach you directly, but I was wondering where you got the image of Amaranta Gomez? I write an AIDS activist publication, the Solidarity Project http://www.champnetwork.org/solid and I have not been able to reach her directly for permission to use this image, because she is very busy. Thanks!

Trackbacks

  1. Jennifer Rogers » Blog Archive » Name changes in Mexico?
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