Saturday, October 16

Barcelona dedicates a square to Sonia Rescalvo, murdered for being a transsexual

Sonia Rescalvo Zafra, murdered 30 years ago for the mere fact of being a transsexual woman, will have a place in her name in Barcelona from this Wednesday. The official plaque will be released coinciding with the tribute that is dedicated to her every October 6 and in the same place where she was beaten to death by a group of neo-Nazis: the esplanade of the Ciutadella Park next to the monumental waterfall.

Assault by a security guard on a trans woman at the Sants station in Barcelona

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The Barcelona City Council has organized an event for this Wednesday with the different LGTBI groups in the city, which were the ones who proposed including it in the gazetteer. On the plaque, which will rest on a base next to the waterfall, her full name will be read, Sonia Rescalvo Zafra, accompanied by a brief description: “Trans woman.”

Rescalvo died at dawn on October 6, 1991 after being brutally beaten by six Nazis linked to the Barça ‘Boixos Nois’ ultras. While he was sleeping in the open in the Parque de la Ciutadella with a partner, Doris, this trans woman, who was 34 years old, was assaulted and beaten to her death. His case, considered one of the first hate crimes registered in Spain, caused a wave of indignation within the transsexual community and was a before and after in the fight against LGTBIphobia, especially in Catalonia.

If until now few details of his life were known, was recently able to provide documentation and testimonies to reconstruct part of his career. Rescalvo was born in a town in Cuenca on October 12, 1956 and arrived in Barcelona very young, to be able to live his identity with greater freedom. For years he was an artist and vedet in different theaters and clubs of striptease, but she chained two turbulent romantic relationships that led to depression and later drug use, according to her former roommate, retired cabaret Silvia Reyes.

In an interview with the magazine ‘Lib’ at the end of the 70s, when she was in her early 20s, Rescalvo was already asserting herself without complexes as a transsexual woman. “I do not consider myself a transvestite, because all day I am a woman,” he said.

After his death, the LGTBI groups turned the roundabout of the Parque de la Ciutadella, the exact point where he slept that night, into a space of remembrance and memory. In 1993, the Coordinator of Homosexual Liberation Fronts of the Spanish State installed a plaque in his name there and in 2013 the Barcelona City Council placed an information panel with the name “Glorieta de la Transexual Sonia”.

But this time the town hall goes a step further and Sonia Rescalvo officially enters the gazette, in which she is the first transsexual person to make up the street map of Barcelona and probably of any other Spanish city. To make it possible, the City Council has not only had to submit it to validation by the presentation of the gazetteer – it was approved last June along with 20 other names – but it has also had to create a square that did not exist until now, since it was just an esplanade.

Jordi Rabassa, councilor for Ciutat Vella and Democratic Memory, argues that the name change is the result of the process of “democratization” of the street, which has been opened to “groups that traditionally had not had space in it.” Another example that was approved together with Rescalvo is that of Idrissa Diallo, a young intern at the CIE in Barcelona who died in 2012, and who will give its name to the current Plaza Antonio López López, the Marqués de Comillas. “It is a tribute to Sonia Rescalvo and to all trans women, because it involves the occupation of public space by a group that until now had been despised,” the mayor said.

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