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Colombia LGBT: The shop that wants men to 'leave behind shyness'

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Carolina F. Del Dago

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Andrea (now not her actual identify) is without doubt one of the shoppers who frequents Tranxtienda

Pinned to the glass door of Tranxtienda, a garments store tucked away at the 3rd flooring of an growing older concrete mall within the Colombian capital Bogotá, an indication reads: “If this door is closed, DON’T BE SCARED.”

In the back of the glass door is an array of flamboyant garments, faux nails, wigs and men-sized heels designed in-house for the town’s transvestite neighborhood.

However what makes Tranxtienda stand except for another position is that it caters to most commonly heterosexual males who’re within the closet and acts as a store-cum-social membership within the center of downtown Bogotá.

“I come right here as ceaselessly as I will,” says Valentina, a standard of Tranxtienda. She makes use of her pseudonym out of concern of being recognised however apologises for the secrecy with a shy smile.

Worry of being recognised

These days she does now not have time to “become” herself, she explains; as an alternative she has come to take a seat within the shop’s petite makeup room to socialize on a bustling Saturday afternoon.

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Carolina F. Del Dago

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Katherine (now not her actual identify) moves a pose within the mall the place Tranxtienda is positioned

“I believe happiest when I am dressed as a lady,” says Valentina. “The remainder of the time I believe like I am performing in a play dressed up as a person,” she provides.

Valentina explains that she hasn’t ever pop out to her circle of relatives or companions, and most likely by no means will.

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Whilst she stocks those main points, some other buyer in complete drag shies clear of interplay within the adjoining locker room, which shoppers hire from Tranxtienda for a small charge, and the place they ceaselessly spend the day for concern of being recognised out of doors.

However reputation by way of family and friends isn’t the purchasers’ most effective fear. The shop may be positioned in a run-down and threatening facet of the city. A couple of streets away is the pink mild district, the place transvestites run the chance of being wrong for intercourse employees or handled violently.

Bogotá and Colombia as a complete have a thriving mixture of subcultures however dressing in drag or being lesbian, homosexual, bisexual and trans (LGBT) nonetheless carries very actual dangers. Minority rights non-governmental organisation Colombia Diversa estimates that 440 LGBT other people had been murdered between 2013 and 2016.

‘Exploring their femininity’

Tranxtienda is split into 3 stores:

  • One the place clothes and niknaks are purchased or rented
  • Every other the place shoppers will have their makeup carried out in addition to hire a locker house to modify out in their garments
  • A workshop the place Derly Lineras, the landlord, and her spouse, Zahira, design and tailor outfits

The extra bold shoppers at Tranxtienda walk across the mall in complete drag and makeup, and others project out to the road, or move out to birthday celebration at the weekend.

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Carolina F. Del Dago

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Yuri is one in every of Tranxtienda’s shoppers who is worked up to blow their own horns her outfits on the street

“The baptism here’s purchasing bread from over the street on the bakery,” says Ms Linares, chuckling. “The folk on the bakery experience assembly the newbies.”

However the level, explains Ms Linares, is that there are a protected haven and reinforce community for any individual in need of to decorate in drag. “Some shoppers don’t seem to be even transvestites, they only come to discover their femininity,” she says.

Ms Linares opened the shop seven years in the past so as to supply a spot the place males may purchase girls’s garments with none trouble.

“I first considered it as a industry, however then it was a social undertaking as a result of I spotted how a lot other people wanted reinforce. Sadly we will be able to’t depend on govt reinforce,” says Ms Linares, regarding what she says is a scarcity of good enough mental and clinical reinforce for trans other people in Colombia.

Ms Lineras is a poster kid for LGBT rights in Bogota. She was once born a person, become a lady and had a kid along with her spouse, Zahira, whom she met in a while after opening the shop.

She is lately operating along the mayor’s workplace to boost consciousness for LGBT other people in Bogotá.

Social stigma

Ms Lineras gave the whole thing up in her existence after popping out as a trans lady: her males’s garments, her closest buddies, and after all her paintings. However the shop temporarily took off, filling a miles wanted void, she explains.

In the beginning her neighbours kept away from her, and sought after her out of the mall, however with time they came over to just accept her. “Although it was once not at all simple,” she says.

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Carolina F. Del Dago

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Derly Linares says her son helped spoil the ice with no less than one neighbour

Ms Lineras recollects fondly that it was once it was once because of her three-year outdated son “that the ice was once damaged” along with her maximum intransigent neighbour when her son simply puzzled into the neighbour’s workplace on his personal in the future and befriended him.

She says that there were essential developments for LGBT other people. Colombia just lately legalised same-sex marriage and in addition lets in trans other people to modify their identify and gender marker.

Western hemisphere nations the place same-sex marriage is prison:

  • Argentina
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Colombia
  • Mexico (positive states most effective)
  • US
  • Uruguay

However simpler lend a hand for transgender other people to get admission to elementary public services and products is nearly non existent and social stigma stays one of the pernicious hindrances in the way in which of development, Ms Linares argues.

“Folks call to mind us as thieves and criminals, or worse. However we are preventing to eliminate that stigma.”

What’s extra, with extremely polarized presidential elections arising on 27 Might, minority rights advocates fear that innovative LGBT rules might be shelved and even rolled again by way of politicians who concern the political prices of this kind of stance amid a swelling conservative temper across the nation.

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