“In memory of Cristina Ortiz, ‘La Veneno’, a brave transsexual woman visible in the 90s.” This is how the plaque read in memory of the artist from Almeria at the Parque del Oeste in Madrid. It is the same tribute that this Thursday has dawned completely covered with stickers of the face of the dictator Francisco Franco on a silhouette of the Iberian Peninsula. The artist’s plaque, located on the pillar between Francisco and Jacinto Alcántara streets and Paseo de Camoens, received this anonymous attack last night without a trace of the identity of the perpetrators. The LGTBI collective of the capital COGAM has denounced the fact to the Police so that it can be cleaned up as soon as possible, as reported by social networks. “Day by day towards nights of broken glass, let’s stop the hatred, let’s stop LGTBIphobia”, claimed early in the morning the trans activist and number 5 of Más Madrid in the candidacy for the regional elections, Carla Antonelli, in a tweet with a photo of the boycott.
It is not the first time that the commemorative plaque has suffered transphobic attacks. In fact, in December 2020 it had to be replaced due to a mysterious nocturnal theft. In response to the request of the Moncloa-Aravaca District Board, the new plate was protected with an anti-vandalism system: transparent glass with a metal anchor to the column.
Despite the fact that the glass prevents theft, this measure has not been enough to curb transphobic hate. Since the Manuela Carmena City Council promoted the initiative to pay tribute to Cristina Ortiz in 2019, proposed by LGTBI+ groups in Madrid, these have not been the only boycotts it has received.
‘La Veneno’ has also been the target of attacks on dates close to March 8. In 2021, barely three months after its reinstatement, graffiti appeared on the protective plate. It was a slogan in opposition to the trans law, at that time a bill: “You are patriarchy, down with the Montero law.” Hours after the protective barrier was repaired, the plate was again covered with obscene stickers referring to the actress’s gender identity.
Support against vandalism
There have been numerous attacks against the ‘La Veneno’ memorandum coinciding with designated dates such as the electoral campaign. However, since the broadcast of the homonymous series that narrates her life, there have also been frequent displays of affection from residents of the city who consider her an LGTBI reference. After the disappearance of the plaque in 2019, the Parque del Oeste location was filled with photographs, flowers and candles in memory of Cristina Ortiz.
In addition, it is not the only plaque that remembers his time in Madrid. On the street of his old home in Tetuán rests a plaque similar to the one in Parque del Oeste that Más Madrid LGTBI placed at the end of 2021.
Popularly known as ‘La Veneno’, the multifaceted celebrity rose to fame on late-night television shows of the 90s, such as Pepe Navarro’s ‘Tonight we cross the Mississippi’ or ‘The Pelican’s Smile’. Since then, the woman from Almería has become an example of resistance for the trans collective and a benchmark for inclusion also for the younger generations.
In 2016, she was transferred in critical condition to the Madrid hospital in La Paz after being found at her home with a blow to the head. She died four days later, at the age of 52, in the same city where today her name has appeared covered by Franco’s face.