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Does the world change if I change the gender?

Work in progress - CORA is an evolutionary project. 2018 - at present

"When I grow up I want to be a girl," she confessed to her mother one night before closing her eyes and falling asleep. She was 5 years old. In that dreamlike space that hid her pillow, another reality was announced. I met Cora in 2018 when she was 7 years old at her home in the outskirts of Barcelona. In 2016 she had become the youngest trans person to belong to a Spanish trans association.

This long-term work consists of 3 chapters: childhood, adolescence and adulthood. CORA is an evolutionary work,  that makes visible an invisible childhood, and shows the beauty of being who you are by demonstrating that it is possible to be a trans minor and grow up happy if the environment -which generations ago to exclude- now respects and accompanies you.

Often, when we think of LGTBIQ people, we think of adults. Trans people have always existed, but historically, the first place of exclusion of trans people was the family. Then, other institutions (social, school, legal, health, etc.) also expelled these people, denying from the beginning the possibility of a trans childhood. With the Convention on the "Rights of the Child" in 1989, childhood is recognized as a subject of rights, but these rights are built on cisgender childhood. Trans children remain among the most vulnerable to bullying, assaults and suicide. For LGTBIQ organizations, when "a family, school, hospital or club respects a minor's identity, it is literally saving their life."
Spain is undergoing a true revolution, with the passage of a Trans Law BOE-A-2023-5366Ley4/2023 that recognizes diversity childhoods. Adult trans people often speak of their infancy as "a lost childhood", and they are linked in the photo media with stigma, poverty, loneliness and the short life expectancy. "Cora" documents the growth of its protagonist, in all the vital universes that historically had closed the door to any trans person. It is unknown how the children of this generation who are accepted, will evolve into adults. Nor do we know how society will evolve. The only thing we know for sure is that there has been a total rupture between the lives of these trans children and those of children of previous generations. By sharing Cora's life in images, it humanises, fosters empathy, inclusion and respect, opening a light dialogue on the importance of creating safe and supportive environments for trans children.

The first chapter "childhood", is already finished. Cora is currently 13 years old. She has already spent more than half of her life with her real identity. I am currently working on "adolescence", a historically sensitive and complicated stage for trans people. For trans children, growing up and becoming an adolescent can be a "shock" to reality, as family, friends and school often function -according to experts- as "protective factors", and as they grow up, this "exit to the world" can be painful. Also, in trans childhood, gender transition is only at the social level, but in adolescence this changes: There are physical, emotional, sexual, social, intellectual transformations. According FRA, the adolescence is the stage where "most attention should be paid". I document her life, through the historically expelling life universes for trans people, the new social and political challenges in Spain, her experiences and challenges during this new stage, her new friendships, the hormone treatment, her start in love, her new wishes, and how she explores her gender now. 

This report was supported by the Fund for Women Journalists of the International Women's Media Foundation of the IWMF.

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