Amara and Indianara spoke at the Observatory of Prostitution‘s extension course, A Particular Revolution: The Brazilian Prostitutes Movement, at the Institute of Philosophy and Social Sciences at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro on November 24, 2015. (Quem fala português pode assistir o video embaixo.)
Indianara, I was thinking about how for a travesti in prostitution, the word “family” has a special significance for us. For example, for travestis who were kicked out of their homes, or who preferred to leave home than to continue putting up with abuse.
And how, in most cases, prostitution represents a space of freedom, a space where you can start your life, and exist in the form you want to exist, start your transition, have your place in the world.
I’d like to hear what “family” means for a travesti involved in prostitution. I’m thinking about how, for example, the brothel owner is going to be called “mom,” you’re going to have “grandma,” “auntie.”
What is family, inside the travesti universe? What is family for us?
On the subject of family, “family” is an invented concept. It’s a religious, orthodox occidental concept that was invented to ensure paternity. Nothing more.
Family for us is who you get attached to, who you have feelings for – whether that’s your husband, or partner, or friends.
Amara, you, for example, are part of my family. I was there when “Amara” was born. So you are part of my family.
I have another family that I have no contact with anymore, and no regrets about it. I have no problem with having cut ties to this other family.
This here is my family – Lourdes [next to her onstage], for example, she is my mother, my grandmother, my puta. She taught me to be proud of being a whore.
Betânia [also on stage] is my sister, because we are the same age. So here on stage we have generations of whores.
And we have prostitution itself, which is, for some people, a family business that gets passed down.
So this is what family is. The people who feel like family.
I have family all over the place, many people who have come through the doors of my home, many people who I feel saudades for [missing or longing]. Many people who taught me.
A piece of advice I always give: Live and let live.
Love more, and hate less.
Practice more peace and less war.
When people ask me about irrational and rational animals… The “irrational” animals, at least, don’t make bombs. They don’t start massacres. They don’t start shootings in Paris.
So I fight, every single day, to get rid of all of the remnants of “humanity” inside of me. All of the remnants of humanity.
Every day I want to become more savage, more animal, more “irrational”. Until the day I can say that I have evolved.
Animals don’t know if they are defined as “male” or “female”. They live their lives. They don’t need a life after death. They live, and that’s it.
We have to think like this, and live like this – live our own nature as animals.
So if I had to define myself as a travesti, as a woman, or transsexual… I’d define myself as a person. I am a person, and I have breasts and a dick.
If this is a problem for society, if the way I construct my body is seen by others as “feminine” or not – that’s not my problem. That is society’s problem, for needing to define things according to binaries and discriminate between things. It’s not my problem.
I just want to live, as a person. As a human being, I have the same rights as all of you. As a person, and as a prostitute.
So respect is not a favor you can do for me. It’s your obligation to respect me, and it’s my human right to be respected.