“I meet them in the basement of a pool hall located in a dangerous neighborhood of Tegucigalpa. There, along narrow and dark stairways, are several rooms where Bessy, Patricia and Tiffany, are.
Tiffany, 19, an accountant who also studies cosmetology, tells me, “Our clients are all types. I’ve had some famous ones. There are mechanics, taxi drivers, young, old, poor, rich.” Tiffany practiced prostitution but left it after being run over, threatened with death, and finally stabbed in the back. “I thank God for the support of my family, of my parents. They don’t want to see me on the street. They accept my condition and don’t want to hide it. They want to see me as a young, gay, decent professional. My father is going to help me open a beauty parlor. Nevertheless, the situation on the streets is terrible, and we don’t have to be prostituting ourselves to be attacked. They throw stones at us, ice cubes, beer bottles, and even darts with blood on them.”
With bras and pants adjusted they parade inside the tiny rooms converted into a runway, a fashion runway filled with laughter and horror stories. We spend the next two hours in what becomes a backstage for what was to come. I can feel only praise for the way they hide their repressed fear. In spite of their photogenic looks and elicited empathy, it’s still difficult for me to work. There’s almost no room to stand, it’s nighttime and the room light is dim.
Before we leave, Bessy pauses in front of religious icons adorning a wall. Patricia crosses herself, but Tiffany decides to stay home...”
Canon EOS-5D Mark II, lens 16-35mm, f2.8, 1/30, ISO 1250
Caption: Transvestite Tiffany, 19, shows a scar of a knife attack in Tegucigalpa March 10, 2011. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido