Woman Crush(ing the Patriarchy) Wednesday: Isa Noyola

Woman Crush(ing the Patriarchy) Wednesday: Isa Noyola

When reading the stories about undocumented trans women, these women often leave their homelands because of the violence or risk of violence they face for being themselves fully. What happens when these women are deported?

It’s a cycle. Trans women flee violence from their home country and are then placed in detention centers, where they are retraumatized and experience more violence. Once they leave detention, if they do, they realize they are vulnerable, from street violence to the lack of a safety net. They have little to no housing and job opportunities, forcing them to survive through a street economy like survival sex, which places them in physical danger. Many trans people come here and, because of pop culture, believe they are coming to a place that is more accepting of them, and maybe in some ways they do find more tolerance, but there’s another reality saying, “you really can’t survive here.” Some do give up and go back to their place of origin, back to the trauma and the harassment from police and family members, and when the risk of danger becomes unbearable, they try to come back to another city in the U.S. It’s a cycle.

How do you see your work as helping to crush the patriarchy?

I crush the patriarchy by leaving a seed of consciousness behind at every space that I navigate. I crush the patriarchy all the times that I’m the first trans Latina to speak at an event or a school, which is often. I crush the patriarchy by ensuring that I’m not the last trans Latina to have these talks. I make sure the people in my community also hold the keys to crush the systems that keep us down, in place and silent. We all have some truth to speak. But that brings me to something else: We, trans Latinas, also have truth to speak against the patriarchy. As a Latina mujer, I value sisterhood; many of us do, yet I always find myself disappointed when I’m in Chicana feminist or chingona spaces. I’m usually one of just two trans Latinas in a cis Latina feminist space. We really need to change that and think about how trans women fit into the conversation on crushing the patriarchy. Trans and cis Latinas need to understand each other better and connect the dots. Cis women can’t do this work fully if we’re not brought along in the conversation.

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