The first housing complex for transexual people in Argentina, according to the promoters of the project, was inaugurated this week in the city of Neuquén, in Argentine Patagonia, at the initiative of a nun on land made available to her convent by the administration of the city and with funds from the provincial government, an experience that even deserved the congratulations of Pope Francis.
This "Tutored Social Condominium for Trans Women" has 12 individual rooms, which offer a permanent living solution to a dozen trans people aged between 40 and 70 years, who live in a vulnerable situation, received in a format of bailment and, in the event of death, they are delivered to other people in the same situation.
The houses were built by the Provincial Institute of Housing and Urbanism (IPVU) in the district of Confluencia and delivered to the Order of the Discalced Carmelites for its administration, based on the original idea of Mónica Astorga Cremona (53), the so-called “Nun of the Trans ”.
Astorga Cremona, promoter of the idea, said that Pope Francis responded to the email where she told him about the recent inauguration of the housing complex for trans people.
The Supreme Pontiff replied: "Dear Monica, God who did not go to the seminary or study theology will repay you abundantly. I pray for you and your girls. Do not forget to pray for me. May Jesus blesses you and may the Holy Virgin take care of you.".
The houses were built by the Provincial Institute of Housing and are managed by the Discalced Carmelites.
During the ceremony, the religious accompanied each of them to open the door of their new home for the first time. "They couldn't even hold the key because they were crying, they couldn't believe what was happening, and I remember one of them told me, 'The bathroom is bigger than the room where I lived,'" she said.
It is a two-story building with six 40-square-meter apartments on each level, a multipurpose room, and a 120-square-meter park that will be used as a vegetable garden, recreation area and parking lot; the investment is 27.6 million pesos (approximately $ 280,000).
The apartments are equipped with kitchen and bathroom, heating and water heater, and have an individual balcony or small patio.
The nun Astorga makes it clear that it is not "an accommodation or a trans house", but houses that are granted on loan, "as if it were rent, but without paying anything and without conditions."
"If they respect the rules of rental, they stay for life, but if they don't respect them, they are warned and taken away," she explained.
One of the beneficiaries is Erika Díaz (60), who is convinced that "from now on my life will be a miracle."
“We have always lived in the worst places, but now everything will change for us; I will start living during the day because I was in prostitution, always at night ”, she added.
SOUNDBITE: MONICA ASTORGA CREMONA, Nun who created the project
"My dream was that transsexuals have a decent home because they were never given this opportunity, they have no rights to anything. The apartments are very bright, they lived in the dark because we made them live in the dark, because we buried them, and they always lived at night, they have to take advantage of the light, from this place that is unique in the world, there are no houses for trans people anywhere in the world".
SOUNDBITE: TRANSSEXUAL WOMAN BENEFICIARY OF A HOUSING
"The places where we always live and have always been renting, people always take advantage of our condition of being transsexuals, we pay rent that you pay 5 thousand pesos, we pay 15 thousand, just for being trans women, and I'm not telling you of a rental like this, clean, with all services, we have lived in places with humidity, vermin, insects, transsexual women always live badly".