Eduarda Alice Santos is a Portuguese trans woman who has a page on Facebook dedicated to the Transgender community from Portugal.
One Love, All Equal: Are you ready for the interview? Can you tell us a little more about yourself?
Eduarda Alice Santos: Hello, i am a transgender woman from Portugal and I am 57 years old. Presently I’m unemployed, an activist for human rights with a focus in transgender issues, I’m divorced, have one daughter, I am bisexual but prefer women.
OLAE: When did you decide to create a page to support the Transgender community in Portugal?
EAS: The page was initially created in yahoo groups by Lara Crespo, who shares housing with me, in 2004. During our activism we realized that, since the extinction of a T (the first Portuguese independent T association). There was a need for an independent trans group in Portugal, due to the existing ones belonging to larger LGBT associations whose agenda were not focused on trans issues. Many times these issues were often left behind. So in 2011 Lara and I decided to use the yahoo group name to make a group page on Facebook and make the only independent T group in Portugal at the time. Today there are many more independent T groups, or at least I hope so.
OLAE: Do you feel trans woman are ignored in Portugal?
EAS: They were ignored until very recently, but thanks to our efforts [as T activists] today we have a voice. Sometimes it is not heard or not taken into account but at least we have a voice of our own and we shout out loud against all kinds of discrimination faced by trans people.
OLAE: Would you be so kind as to tell us some of the issues trans woman face?
EAS: We face the same issues trans people face all around the world. Pathologization, discrimination in all areas such as social, educational, employment and health, bullying, transphobia, etc. We are no different from many other countries around the world.
OLAE: When did you first realize that you were actually a girl/woman?
EAS: That was something I knew from an early age, but for many reasons I only transitioned later in life. As I liked girls and due to a lack of info when I was younger, and growing up without internet, I never took these feelings seriously. But as time went by it was something that was growing inside of me to the point where I could no longer pretend all was well.
OLAE: How did your family react to you being trans?
EAS: My father had already passed away when I transitioned. My mother has refused to see me since. I have no contact with the rest of my family. My cousins and my uncles are already dead. And I have no brothers or sisters, that is all.
OLAE: What would your advice be to the youth of our days that has not yet come out as trans?
EAS: Do not be afraid to be who you are, but be aware you’ll need to be strong. You will need to be stronger than the average human being to endure all society will throw back at you. It’s also important to finish your studies, even if that means a small delay in transition, in the future it may ease your life and give you tools to change society’s view of transgender people.
OLAE: Is there something else that you could say to our readers?
EAS: Be free, be supportive of LGBT people wherever you live, and support human rights all over the world. Also support environmental measures, we only have this world to live and we are abusing it.
OLAE: Thank you for taking time out to speak with us.
EAS: No need to thank, I’m honoured to do so.
Visit Eduarda’s Facebook page