Brazilian activist claims Mexico detained her for transvestite identity

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Keila Simpson, a Brazilian trans and transvestite activist, says she was arrested and refused entry to Mexico City International Airport last Sunday because authorities objected to the difference between her appearance and name on his passport. The 57-year-old activist and president of the Brazilian Association of Transvestites and Transsexuals (Antra) was due to attend the 2022 World Social Forum – a gathering of LGBTQ, indigenous and environmental activists – in the Mexican capital. But Simpson says she was arrested after showing a passport bearing her old name, which airport staff said was “incongruous” with her appearance.

In Brazil, a person can change their social name without needing to change gender, according to a 2018 Supreme Court ruling. But the choice to do so is up to the individual. Simpson, who identifies as a transvestite and not transgender, had not changed hers. Simpson told Reuters she was detained for 10 hours and not allowed to see her lawyer.

The Mexican Migration Entity said in a statement that Simpson did not provide requested information upon arrival, such as where she would be staying, what activities she was going to participate in and information about her return ticket. “The immigration authority acted on the basis of the law and unrestricted respect for the human rights of migrants, regardless of their ethnic or national origin, sex, age, religion or gender identity” , he added.

But Simpson’s lawyer, Gustavo Coutinho, said she had all the required documents with her and other members of her delegation had been allowed entry with the same documents. The Mexican Foreign Ministry declined to comment.

“My documents had my original name on it, and that’s my (transvestite) identity. My passport photo is new and it’s valid until 2028,” added Simpson, who lives in Salvador, in the northeast. east of Brazil. In Brazil, a transvestite person is a gender identity that does not correspond to the two commonly used male and female identities, unlike transgender people who may go through a process of transition.

“The only thing I have that identifies me as a transvestite is my ID card,” she said. “If I change it, I will erase myself as a transvestite.” Brazil and Mexico are the deadliest countries in the world for transgender and gender non-conforming people, according to a survey conducted by Transgender Europe (TGEU), a network of non-profit organizations advocating for trans rights in the world.

Despite the efforts of some trans politicians to change the rules and fight prejudice, Latin America remains one of the worst regions in the world for trans people.

(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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