(Editor’s Note: This short article is about the organizing working being done by Yaqui Trans woman, Polet Valenzuela Murilla, the first Trans woman of the National Indigenous Congress. The original was published in Spanish by Desastre and can be found here).
Polet Valenzuela Murillo is a transsexual Yaqui woman. The Yaquis are indigenous people of the state of Sonora who originally settled along the Yaqui River. Polet is also the first openly transsexual person to be part of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI), an organization of indigenous communities in Mexico.
Polet, who has been teaching primary education for some years, said that her transition process began after finishing her university degree in Education Sciences.
“I graduated as a male with short hair and once I finished my major and did not depend on anyone, I decided to carry out my transformation. I’ve been accepted, people believe that we Yaquis are very closed-minded. On the contrary, I believe that we are one of the most open-minded communities,” said Polet, who says she received the support of her parents.
Valenzuela wears the typical clothing of Yaqui women, made up of a flowered skirt, colored blouse and huaraches, and assures that she has not been rejected by the different indigenous groups she has visited as a member of the National Indigenous Congress.
“I like the acceptance the Triquis, Guarijíos, Mayos and other indigenous people give me,” said the 30-year-old woman.
Polet is the student representative of the 8 Yaqui towns and one of the main defenders of indigenous human rights. Although she has never suffered discrimination due to her gender identity, she knows that there is a large number of cases of homophobia and transphobia.
The activist explained that this is the reason why she is working to help the LGBT population in indigenous communities.
“In fact, I’m doing research and I have heard the testimonies. I defend indigenous communities because violence can be seen and homophobia exists. Maybe not openly but it does exist and that is why I work with lesbians and homosexuals,” she said.
With information from Debate. Image from UniRadio Noticias.