What happens when trans people take to the streets and connect with others, especially in a very traditional society like Bolivia?
Tam is a 23-year-old nonbinary dancer from Bolivia, living in Buenos Aires. This is the story about Tam’s return home for the first time since transitioning during the lockdown.
We invite you on this journey out and about the streets of Cochabamba, where we challenge gender stereotypes or simply wait and see what happens.
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Tam says, “Trans nonbinary people exist in Bolivia, South America, and the whole wide world. There isn’t just one way of being nonbinary; we are all unique, just like human beings. This is me.”
43% of Bolivians believe that homosexuality should be accepted by society, while 49% believe it should not.
NONMEDICAL OR SOCIAL TRANSITIONING
The trans umbrella holds space for many different gender identities and expressions. Gender is self-determined, and transitioning can be different for each trans individual. Tam transitioned without medical procedures, such as hormones or surgery. A person may socially transition by changing their name, modifying their appearance (hair, clothes, etc.), or asking people to use pronouns that match their gender identity.
Nonbinary is an intensely wide spectrum that boasts of creativity and diversity. The fashion of nonbinary is personal.
How a person expresses their gender is personal, and social transitioning does not mean that a person must conform to gender roles and expectations.
Bolivia has a rich history and emerged on the idea of respecting its ancient cultural traditions. The patriarchal ideologies that Bolivia originated with have silenced women and LGBTQ people for centuries.
Tam’s family accepts their gender identity but sometimes fails to address Tam using their desired pronouns (they/them). Tam likes to leave little reminders around the house.
“Living away from home gave me the space to embrace those changes as they came, figure out how I wanted to present, and not worry about who I saw from high school at the local grocery store when I was trying out something new.”
“I always felt upside down growing up in such a traditional society, but I think I’m finding my way around it.”