For Marco Pérez, a pansexual, transmasculine person, photography was the ideal medium to narrate his journey and expose a reality that is often ignored in his native Peru.
In his current professional role with Presente, Peru’s leading LGBTQ advocacy group, Pérez creates content and develops trainings to promote LGBTQ-inclusive practices for businesses and organizations that wish to embrace LGBTQ-inclusion for employees. HRC has been working with Presente to develop best practices to promote LGBTQ inclusion in workplaces across Peru.
HRC sat down with Pérez to learn about his journey and experience as a transgender advocate in Peru.
Tell us about your role with Presente.
I am responsible for content and training to educate the private sector about LGBTQ issues. The workshops are designed to help human resources professionals implement inclusive hiring processes for transgender job seekers, to promote diversity councils to achieve LGBTQ-inclusive policies for employees and to create inclusive corporate culture.
What is the most difficult aspect of being a transgender person in Peru?
I personally find it very difficult to overcome the loneliness and the feeling of being constantly misunderstood. I am always surrounded by people who, although they are aware, often lack understanding about the experiences of transgender people.
You worked to implement gender-inclusive student identification cards for the first time at a major private college in Peru. What was the key to this victory?
“Reforma Trans” had support from a large group of students, professors and authorities at Pontifical Catholic University of Peru. Our success came from the clear consensus of people who understood that a fundamental human right is being violated by denying the recognition of transgender students’ identities.
Tell us about “Cuerpx.” What inspired you to share your transition process through a photo exhibition?
I used photography to assimilate the changes I was experiencing during my transition. When I started to appreciate the beauty of my photos, the idea arose to create a project to show the life of a transgender person as a valid story and not through the stigma in which society always pigeonholes us. I tried to make my journey visible to humanize the processes of transition, since it is one of the factors by which some seek to pathologize our identities and legitimize the violence many trans people experience.
If you could ask the society for one thing to support trans inclusion, what would it be?
The only thing that we would ask for is empathy and love. My transition, while perceived as an act of rebellion in its beginnings, was an act of freedom through which I came to question established norms and started believing in myself. Transgender people need to be understood without prejudice so that society realizes that we do not ask for privileges but simply the rights that most people already have.