One of my articles in April featured one of the “Niñas Santas Trans”(1). I have been asked often where I came across her and if there are more liken her. Well, she is part of a colorful and provocative project of mexican trans-feminist artivist and illustrator Medusczka Gorgona, who developed a series of images that mix religion Mexican popular culture and trans identities to make visible the non-conforming childhood subjugated by heterosexual discipline.
I have known Meduscka for a while. I am personally fascinated with each one of those beautiful and cheeky “Niñas Santas Trans.” Now is your chance to meet her and her “Niñitas”(2), through this short interview she agreed to have for this site.
Who is Medusczka?
I am a person who grew up in a Catholic education as the vast majority of people in Mexico, a female hetero-dissident person who always felt persecuted and harassed by the God who sees and knows everything. It was very painful to discover what God said about people like me with my thoughts and feelings. I lived with this terror most of my childhood.
Medusczka is a denied identity of a person of female experience, who was assigned within the dichotomy of gender as male at birth. It is a symbolic place of resistance to this hetero-patriarchal imposition. I am trans feminist; this has brought to my life the reconciliation with my femininity, that dangerous femininity that I was taught to hate, reject and repress in my body and in other corporalities. I now recognize and embrace my femininity, kicking out the internal and external orders that say I have to become masculine to be accepted, to avoid assault, to skip vulnerability. My only care is turn completely the back to hetero-normativity and its frames.
Medusczka is the identity that I have taken and from which, through my art, I resist the patriarchal mandate. Medusczka is the variation of Medusa, a word that can refer to the sea creature or the Gorgon of Greek mythology; both lethal female figures.
How the “Niñas Santas Trans” were born?
They arise after my reading of the text of Paul B. Preciado, called “Who defends the queer child?”(3). In this piece, Preciado speaks of the “Queer Child” refering to those childhoods that we were invisible and abused by heterosexual hegemonic discourses. These narratives defend the “Traditional Family” and “Rights of Children” to normalize heterosexuality, based in an ideology endorsed by naturalism and religion. These speeches suppose all children are already under the heterosexual gender norm (cisgender) and do not recognize that there’s genderqueer children. I wanted to interpret the impact this text had in me, with an image that was powerful and condense everything I had lived.
Representing hetero-dissidents childhoods. is a personal exercise of justice to my own childhood, which was suppressed in many ways. My place has always been what the male hegemony has designated as “otherness”; there with resisting, with the oppressed, never with the oppressor. This series means for me to take a feminist stance of political resistance that is part of my individual process as transgender person.
What’s the role of Mexican culture in your work?
There is a very popular Catholic holiday in Mexico known as “Dìa de la Candelaria” (4). Every February 2th, a figure of Jesus, made of plaster, is dressed in countless ways and named “Santo Niño Jesús”(5). I saw there a potential opportunity to do something I love: Transgressing.
Appropriating the Mexican popular imagination, it is a communication tool that I use to transgress symbols that people identify in their daily lives. I give them a discursive twist to provoke the viewer to confront a new way to see them. I try to create a visual experience that challenges them to question what they thought it was normal. What I look for with my “Niñas Santas Trans” is to subvert hetero-patriarchal, androcentric, misogynist phallocratic and hegemonic patriarchal speeches with their own symbols.
My “Niñas Santas Trans”(6) have a political reading: They represent an inexistent childhood for one of the more patriarchal and powerful institutions, which is the Catholic Church, a childhood saying that we are here, we exist, we do not need the representation of the church, do we not seek inclusion, but we resist and burst its speech of death and hatred against childhoods that are not and were not heterosexual nor live under the rule of gender comforming. They are also an angry crying against the patriarchal violence committed against women and tolerated by the church, violence that in my country, murders 14 women a day.
What about the links between Religion and Feminism?
I had never considered the possibility of introducing feminism in religion as a deconstructive activity. I personally rather decided to abort Catholicism. I ran away from it as I felt it was not safe space for me. I am more of the idea that we must abolish these patriarchal institutions for good than reforming them.
Religion, Power and Sexuality is a successful patriarchal alliance. A very well-crafted mix that serve to hetero-patriarchy to sustain itself through the control of bodies. A deal that allows the necessary condition for reproduction through the naturalist discourse of heterosexuality and enable continue supporting capitalism.
Although there will be women and hetero-dissidents people for whom religion does represent something very important and they want its presence in their lives and want to feel welcomed and accepted by their religion. So I think that feminism and a greater representation of women could achieve embracing them and transform religions into a safe space for these people.
Featured Image: Meduszka, with wings, in her denied childhood
(1)”Niñas Santas Trans” in english “Holy Trans Girls”. Since the name is part of performance I kept the original in spanish (2) Little Girls (3) In spanish “Quién defiende al niño queer?” (4) Candelaria’s Day, a religious tradition (5) “Holy Jesus Child” (6) The images are available for exhibition and sale. Also Medusczka Gorgona can design a “Niña Santa Trans” of your own. Contact the artivist here (https://www.facebook.com/medusczkagorgona).
Vanessa Rivera de la Fuente is a Writer, Mentor and Community Educator in Capacity Building for Grass Roots Female Leaders and Advocates. A Feminist who is an Independent Researcher of Gender and Islam on Feminist Hermeneutics, Muslim Women Representations, Queer Identities and Movement Building. She blogs in Spanish at Mezquita de Mujeres, a site dedicated to explore the links between Gender, Religion and Feminism as well to Women from the Global South as Change Makers in their communities.