Morra – Spanish (Northern Mexician slang) for homegirl, chic, girl.

Que onda morra? What’s up girl?

Es mi morra. She is my homegirl.

We get it. Tijuana is a tough city. I have now written two blogs on two issues which if you ask me throw into question massive problems with human rights.

So, now is the time to talk about the specific humans I have met on my travels. Specifically, the wonderful women. I cannot believe it is only day 4 (or is that 5?) and I have continually met people who make my heart soar.

First there are the three wonderful playwrights I mentioned in my second blog and they are Mariana Chavez, Chantal Torres Montanez and Esmeralda Ceballos. Three very important playwrights in Tijuana. They have each been unspeakably kind to me and wickedly funny. They have shared private stories and professional practices. I am deeply grateful to Ximena for introducing us. Google them, read them, say their names out loud because they rock.

Last night I had the honour of meeting Susy and Nicolette who shared some of their stories and experiences with us. Two beautiful women who carry with them a stunningly clear strength. They were two of the performers in a show Mariana made documenting the real lives of trans-women in Tijuana. How I wish I could have seen the show so I could stand up and shout and cheer.

Susy then look us to a bar in town to watch a lip syncing cabaret show. Just a few doors down from the strip bar I was at on Sunday night a beautiful trans-woman is lip syncing to a Mexican ballad in a dress that would make Julie Garland jealous. Tijuana really is a city of contradictions.

All these women are brilliant. None of them needed to talk to us or spend time with us but they did and they did so with grace and honesty.

One final thing I want to write in this brief blog is that in amongst the darkness (and the darkness is dark and there has been a lot of darkness) we are laughing. We are celebrating life. We raise a glass most nights to sheer fact that we are alive. Daily I am slapped in the face with my privilege and I think it is my responsibility as a human to bare witness and be faced with my privilege. It is the absolute least I can do.

And I think – in my humble opinion – Tijuana is not a city of danger and death (if the rumours are to be believed). It is a city where people are addicted to life. The need to live is greater than anything. The need to live drives people over a wall into the unknown, it makes people stand up and tell their story after years of silence, the need to live lets people laugh and love and connect.

I’ll drink to that.





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