Most of the girls are former men - or very young boys - from poor families who have traveled from the Northern provinces of Salta, Jujuy, and Tucuman to the capital to be transformed into women. For many of them getting an operation is the only way out of poverty and misery. In their hometowns, most of them have been victims of incest and harassment and lived as outcasts. They are brought up Catholic, and homosexuality is by no means accepted, but a transformation into a woman nevertheless gives them more respect and acceptance by Society.
part of interview with Flavia, 23 years old:
”When I was 6 years old I was abused by my uncle. When I was about 12 years old I began to reflect upon the assault and could not bear to be in my own body. I felt dirty and could not understand that a man could be sexually abused. I didnt feel comfortable in a man's body. The operations and the transformation becoming a woman have helped me processing that feeling. As a woman I feel confident and beautiful!”
Part of interview with Nahomy, 21 years old:
”I feel as a woman both outside and within. In Salta, where I come from people look down on gays, and they are being mocked. I did too, but after my operations I was finally accepted in society. Now they see me as a woman and respect me for it!
I believe in God and attend masses. God created us as we are. There is a reason why I am who I am and it is His will. It is He who created me as a transsexual.”
I was invited by the the girls to follow them at their work in the park, Bosque del Palermo. Here they are allowed to work after dark. The first girls arrive at 8pm and the last ones leave the park around 8am. Most of the customers are usually family men from the wealthy neighbourhoods. On weekends it is more mixed.
Many girls dream of saving enough money, and then moving back to their home villages and start their own business – a restaurant, a beauty parlor or the like. But very few make it. The operations are expensive. One operation will lead to the next. Plus of course the lifestyle as a prostitute: New clothes, shoes, bags, taxi rides, coke ...