Mara Gómez, the first Argentine trans player, tells her childhood fears and how she got to soccer

It was difficult for him to forget that fear, hatred, tremors, panic. That black grief that tears you apart, that makes you disappear. The paralyzing terror of not being accepted. The heavy laugh of derision. The transversal contempt of the pack. Poor, resentful, orphan of emotions. A drama without impostures. From memory, sex, family, country, and the deepest needs of the soul. A quiet, empty time. A gale of fury, of glazed eyes, of dead hopes. Those were the past times of Mara Gómez (La Plata-1997), the first transsexual player of Argentine soccer and new signing of Estudiantes de la Plata for the next Clausura tournament.

– It is safer burying the past. Does life still hurt?

– A little. Much less than before. It is false that time heals everything. It heals a lot, and it heals well, but not everything.

– What still hurts?

– Misunderstanding. That lack of ability to understand the complex. We have invented myths like heaven and hell to dissolve guilt. I can’t go down the street with a sign on my forehead that says I’m “trans” and these are my rights. But I am, and I do. Although some sectors do not recognize them.

-Which sectors?

– Sectors close to the conservative mentality of the old norms of genitality: if you were born with a penis, you must adjust your life forever to that “moral” penis. Ultra Christian moral groups highly protected by the church.

– In the experience of rejection, the awareness of vulnerability and injustice emerges. Do you feel accepted?

– Now yes. But it was not always like this. It must be explored thoroughly so that the best feelings, the best emotions, emerge. Then there is the risk of teaching them in society. The response has been very positive. I am proud of my country, with a present state. We have been pioneers in equality laws and rights for the LGTBI collective. Other countries are still far behind.

– There are worrying examples. The autonomous parliament of the city of Auschwitz-Poland, has decreed the region as “Free Territory of LGTBI Ideology”.

– It’s true?

– If it is.

– I did not know, I did not know it. It is a horror. With the number of homosexuals who were gassed in the death camps. That its citizens, through its parliament, decide to decree a space free of LGTBI ideology seems to me a monstrosity. The human condition never ceases to amaze you.

– Do you perceive an advance of movements contrary to LGTBI rights?

– In some countries yes. In Hungary, in Russia, in some German states. Beatings and demonstrations against the group are common. But it is not generalized. In Argentina institutional support has had a lot to do with it.

– How did your childhood develop?

– Happy. But poor, very poor. Poverty was there, it lived with us. You didn’t know what you were going to put in your mouth at night. A poverty that marks you, and that you never get rid of. It is a little light always on in your brain that conditions you in making all decisions. I have grown slowly. At the age of 11 I started to feel uncomfortable, weird. Going to school and realizing that I liked boys. I began to ask myself questions, to discover myself. I realized right away that it was a girl, without more.

– Did you have problems with that admirable human ability to create differences?

– Many. It was a liberating process, but extremely painful. The worst moment of my life. My family always protected me, but at that time the loneliness was immense. I felt a lot of fear and a lot of hatred. He did not want to live. Discrimination is murder without weapons. Look for suicide, multiple times. A time of fear, of suicide attempts, but also of shelter, the shelter of my family. That is why I say that true success is to get home and have someone waiting for you.

– When did soccer appear in your life?

– At that moment. Accidentally. There was a little field near the house and a neighbor invited me. I didn’t know how to play, but I realized right away that it was going to do me good.

– Did it become a refuge where life didn’t hurt so much?

– As it is. A kind of therapy. An anesthesia to pain. It took me away from fear, from that stubbornness to destroy me.

-And now Estudiantes de la Plata?

– Yes, I’m very excited. It’s an important step in my career. A dream.

– He’s studying nursing. A nurse who heals her own wounds?

– Most have already healed. This unequal world causes some to open, but they close again. I give three finals in August and I receive it.

Sometimes you just can’t handle life. That luminous, disturbing halo of sparks, flavors, textures, of streets flooded with pain and joy. When you lack affection, you spend your life looking for it. Mara Gómez went out to look for him on his existential journey, in the cloudiness of his clean heart, of intact innocence, of miraculous idealism, of one who has known the abyssal depths of his inner hell.

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