Monday, May 31, 2010

In Barcelona

I am here in Barcelona, Spain to represent STRAP and attend a historic week-long gathering of transactivists from around the world, the International Congress on Gender Identity and Human Rights. At the moment, it is still unclear to me what is the desired end-result of this conference. When it was being planned, I was told that it would be like a Yogyakarta Principles (YyP) meeting but with more focus on gender identity and gender expression issues. This is a great initiative as the YyP proves to be too general sometimes. But whatever comes out of this Barcelona meeting cannot be too specific either. For me, it will be very helpful to have a single document outlining the specific human rights claims of transpeople but it has to be flexible enough so it can be applicable to diverse localities. We are here to make that happen.

In the first class cabin

I flew to Barcelona with one of STRAP's founding members, Sass Sasot (see pic above). We were both surprised that our Cathay Pacific flight from Manila to Hong Kong was first-class but enjoyed it immensely as we were the only one in the cabin section. We thought it was a good sign. The flight was delayed, however, and when we got to Hong Kong our flight to Europe had already gone. We were supposed to take Air France that would take us from Hong Kong to Paris then Paris to Barcelona. In the end, Cathay Pacific put us on two flights, one of their own from Hong Kong to Frankfurt, then a Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt to Barcelona. We flew 11 hours or so from Asia to Europe. Then from Germany to Spain, we flew another 2 hours.

Bus to city center

When we arrived at our hotel, immediately we registered and settled down. On our way out to lunch at the hallway we met an activist from South Africa, Liesl Theron of Gender DynamiX. She was going to town and we decided to join her (see above). We took our first bus ride in Barcelona together.

In Barcelona

We got to Plaza España, the city center, and took pictures. The above pic was taken at the steps of the Fira de Barcelona building.

Plaza España

Me posing in front of the giant fountain at Plaza España.

Arroz Negro

All three of us were feeling famished and ordered a humongous plate for three of arroz negro(see pic above). We downed it with sangria de cava, a drink made of sparkling wine and orange juice.

Walking Barcelona

After lunch, we walked around the Avenguda Parallel (see pic above). After half an hour or so, I was already feeling tired. We waited for our bus, went back to the hotel, bought some water and cookies at the supermarket nearby and I went to bed. I missed dinner and now I am awake in the room at an awkward hour. I hope my body clock stabilizes today as we will be doing a lot in the next 5 days.

Having sangria

In the meantime, cheers to Barcelona and the upcoming conference! I am very happy to be in the company of my trans brothers and sisters from around the world. May we be able to achieve what we all came here to do.

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