The trans gender in identity documents already exists in countries such as Chile, Mexico and Argentina. “But in Colombia, which is the country where they ask for your ID for everything, it was pending,” says Durán.
Juli Salamanca of the Trans Community Network Foundation celebrates Mike’s case as “a political triumph for the trans movement, a step towards equal rightss”, but adds that “the challenge is to move from the symbolic to the material, because its implementation (for everyone) will be a test for institutions”.
Mike Nicolas spent two years calling, sending letters and filing documents; he filed two legal actions – known as tutelas – which he had to challenge and insisted in every possible way to have his non-binary gender recognized on identity documents.
He knows that the fight is not just for his own good.
Mike Nicolás Durán in a Zoom interview with BBC Mundo.
In Colombia they ask for a cédula for everything from for enter a building up to a bank.
And I every time I go to a bank, I arrive with the fear of whether I will be treated or not, pEvery time I show my ID, people look at me like a weirdo., (as if thinking): “Ahe says he’s a woman, but you look like a man.“.
So yes or yes you have to change your ID card when you make a gender transition.
Because, in my case, placing an M is also not right, because if a policeman wants to search me, for example, I have to endure touching my genitals.
So, pTo protect my integrity and dignity, an M or an F on the card does not work: I need the T.
You never get to know each other: every day you learn new things. And as I got to know, I realized that non-binaries exist, that you can be a man with a woman’s body or a woman with a man’s body without having to take hormones or take.
That is: there is no right way to be or not to be, because diversity is something that cannot be enclosed in a single circle.
That’s how I realized of that, if science recognizes me as a trans person, why doesn’t the state do it?
A 2015 decree gave trans people the ability to change the reference to their gender in their documents, but obstacles in the bureaucratic process have prevented the law from being enforced.
In addition, the T was not typified in the system of the National Registry of Civil Status and, in mike’s case, several times they told lawyers that they could not change an entire national registration system for a single person..
“We have to continue to oversee that institutions recognize the implications of T in birth registration in areas such as health, education, military service, among others,” says Salamanca, the trans activist.
Something I like about myself now is my voice, because it’s not so feminine or so masculine. Sometimes it’s a little more one and sometimes more the other. That is the diversity that I like and represent.
For us there is nothing more important that we are recognized and identified as we are: not as men who are now women or women who are now men, but as trans people, period.
Sebastián Castillo for BBC Mundo
Mike was born Eliana Mayerli in Bogotá. There she had her first child at age 15, then had another two and spent 11 years with their father.
Since childhood he has had a brain disease and another in his eyes. And she says that it was for that reason, in addition to her gender transition process, that she left the job she dedicated herself to for a decade: surveillance.
Today andstudia englishhe has a scholarship with the intention of moving to Canada and has a wifeLinda María Cáceres, a stylist she met almost at the same time she started taking hormones, in 2019.
Cáceres, as well as eafit’s lawyers, has been a key accompaniment throughout the process and has insisted on continuing to fight for his rights despite all legal and health obstacles.
I spent 11 years living a life I might not want, because I was hiding my own identity., hto the point that it exploded and depression began to win me over.. LI thought I wanted to kill myself.
That, I thought, could cause problems for my children, and that’s why it does. seven years I made the decision to go to Medellín.
As soon as I arrived here I left as a lesbian. People stopped calling me Eliana and a new person named Mayerli appeared.
But as time went on I realized that I liked the masculine more, a more brusquito style, more of a child.
And my partner at the time, a woman, told me not to cut my hair. But I oversoed self-love, I cut my hair and started a new life with the name Mike Nicolas.
When I wanted to tell my children about my transition and the possibility of having the surgeries, the eldest told me that he already knew that I wanted to be a man. He told me that era normal, because all people change.
That was the most important impetus to make the decision to change.
Sebastián Castillo for BBC Mundo
By hysterectomy — surgery to remove the uterus — and a mastectomy that removed your breast tissue, Durán did not pay a peso, thanks to the are treatments includeds in your health care provider’s package.
In Colombia, as well as in several Latin American countries, public health entities are required by law to provide sex change services, including hormone treatment.
Mike, despite having to fight the bureaucracy, managed to make his transition in just a couple of years and without having to pay.
The social pressure to keep my life as it was was very strong: they told me that I was pretty, that mine was a psychiatric problem, that I was possessed, that this was a work of satan.
I’ve been told so many things, that if I were weak, I would have hurt myself or backed down. I say that’s why many trans people commit suicide.
But in the end I was taking a taste, a taste, that people looked at me like the weird one on the street, because I feel original, I feel different.
I no longer have a problem with being told that I am crazy, that I am demonized, because that is the way for people to educate themselves and understand that trans people are part of society.