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Fighting for the rights of the marginalised

The 47th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) has got a set of good films being screened. One path-breaking mid-fest film ‘Tamara’ is one such film – the film highlights the plights of the underprivileged and excluded minorities especially the trans-genders. The real life hero, Tamara Adrián, on whom the movie is based, was in Goa for its world premiere. NT BUZZ in conversation with Tamara who is now a member of the legislative assembly in Venezuela
Danuska Da Gama I NT BUZZ
The mid-fest film ‘Tamara’ had its world premiere at the on-going 47th International Film Festival of India (IFFI). Based on the life of Tamara Adrián, the first transgender person elected to the Venezuelan National Assembly, it is a story of the day to day struggle of being trapped in a body in which they don’t belong. Directed by Elia K Schneider, the film which took over five years to make is one that will find takers across continents.
Present for the screening was the entire cast and crew of the film, along with Tamara Adrian, who for the very first time watched the movie alongside a large audience. Happy that a film on the LGBTQ subject has been made, she had mixed feelings while the film was being screened.
“I am happy that I was able to make it to the International Film Festival of India for the world premiere of the film that is based on me. I was both, excited and nervous at the same time during the screening, for people might believe all that is on the screen is my life,” says Tamara Arian who says that 40 per cent of the movie is based on her while the rest is fiction. She states: “This is my struggle.”
The film has captured the struggles, emotion and trauma of Theo Almanza who is born a man but, but has always wanted to life his life as a woman. It has also depicted how gender complexities can result in stark problems, not just for the person but the family, and society too. It shows the intensity of transphobia among the literate and those who abide by religion in Venezuela, which isn’t different in other parts of the world.
Tamara says the struggles of a transgender as shown in the movie are of two kinds. The first one is the struggle within. “It’s not easy at all. There is a lot of inner struggle…from denial to feeling guilty, to trying to please people around and live up to expectation of parents and the family, is one big struggle.”
The other struggle she says is once you decide to choose the path you want, the struggle is of facing what the world, people or destiny throws at you. As shown in the film, the Tamara’s struggle doesn’t end after being transformed; it only gets heightened as she tries to create a new identity for herself in the midst of exclusion, lack of identity and sometimes even violence.
Tamara strongly believes that films are the best means of reaching an audience, creating awareness about issues or complex ideas like the LGBTQ issue or simply connecting with people. “For many years films have been a way to communicate difficult concepts. Also it reaches people easily, especially those who don’t read enough, may watch films. It’s easier to transmit difficult topics like gender issue. The film might be about Tamara, while the larger story is that of transphobia, and championing the cause of LGBTQs around the world.”
Tamara, the first transgender person elected to office in Venezuela, and only the second transgender member of a national legislature in the Western Hemisphere has previously worked as a lawyer and LGBT activist, including serving on the board of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association and the organising committee of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.
Talking about her fight and courage to face all the odds, she says she isn’t too religious. However, citing a verse from the Holy Bible ‘From him who has been given much, much will be demanded’ (Lk 12:48) she says: “I am intelligent, educated, have good communication skills, the confidence and much more. What would be the use of all these gifts had I not put them to good use?” asks Tamara who says that she is happy that she has been able to become the voice of the voiceless.
With an aim to use a position and chair to uplift the minorities and safeguard their rights she believes that the world is evolving well. “I see in the 21st century, people are becoming very respectful; not just of people but also of ideas. We need to respect and love everybody; the women, sexual minority,” she says.

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