• Untitled, from the series Nahomy. © Angela Sairaf.

  • Untitled, from the series Nahomy. © Angela Sairaf.

  • Untitled, from the series Nahomy. © Angela Sairaf.

  • Untitled, from the series Nahomy. © Angela Sairaf.

  • Untitled, from the series Nahomy. © Angela Sairaf.

  • Untitled, from the series Nahomy. © Angela Sairaf.

  • Untitled, from the series Nahomy. © Angela Sairaf.

  • Untitled, from the series Nahomy. © Angela Sairaf.

  • Untitled, from the series Nahomy. © Angela Sairaf.

  • Untitled, from the series Nahomy. © Angela Sairaf.

Showcase: Angela Sairaf

Selected from the open call submission for Photoworks Annual Issue 24, Angela Sairaf's series shares the story of Nahomy, who became a transgender advocate after a serious attack.

Nahomy

On April 24, 1979, in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, a baby was born who will later star in this story. He was born into a male body, but his female identity from the childhood led him to take a decision that almost cost him his life: He knew it was not going to be easy, but his soul screamed at him to publicly assume that which was already so clear inside. In a way, he expected the rejection of people, especially his father. But he was willing to pay the price and was ready to introduce himself to the world as a woman, as Nahomy.

She knew that her condition would throw her into a state of greater social vulnerability. She had been raised in a city that had been known for many years as the most violent city in the world, – now the second – and where violence against transgendered people was, and still is, a matter to be resolved urgently.

Untitled, from the series Nahomy. © Angela Sairaf.

After the initial shock, her family gradually became accustomed to the idea and today Nahomy is the girl of the house. She was taking it day by day. She often had to listen to insults from people who didn’t even know her, but she was so sure of her decision that she never thought to give up. The worst was yet to come: in the year 2000, she suffered a serious homophobic attack, and rape and was stabbed 15 times, the last one to the neck. Her abuser, in addition to attempting to kill her, transmitted the HIV virus. She cannot remember how she got to the hospital. The medics came to declare her dead and abandoned her until, by displaying a subtle sign of life, the doctors realised they were wrong. Nahomy is alive because of a miracle… Or because she has a mission to fulfil.

Due to what happened to her, she decided to become an activist to defend her own rights and the rights of LGBTQ+ people. Because of having sued the state, she began to experience political persecution. For her protection, the collective LGTBI Unidad Color Rosa arranged her departure from Honduras and secured political asylum in Spain. She arrived in Madrid in September 2016. She was happy to be in Europe and found more tolerance and respect for sexual expressions, and finally, after 16 years of struggle, she left activism. However, one afternoon when she was returning home, in Madrid in April 2017, Nahomy was the victim of another homophobic attack. She was hit so hard in the face that her left cheekbone was broken in three different places. The aggression also breached her peace of mind and her attempt to abandon activism became more ephemeral than she could imagine. The fight wasn’t over. At the hospital she decided to become an activist again.

There’s still a lot of work to do. Much is still needed to be done for all to freely exercise the right of BEING.

'Untitled' from the series Single Saudi Women. © Wasma Mansour.
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