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Claudia Wonder before June, please!

It is foolhardy to spend any LGBT+ Pride Month without celebrating such an important icon

After the incomparable Caio Fernando Abreu published the text “Meu Amigo Claudia”, about Claudia Wonder (São Paulo, February 15, 1955 — São Paulo, November 26, 2010), it became practically impossible to write about her without fear – and without ask Master Caio for permission. But we need to talk about Claudia Wonder, we need to remember her, consume her work, celebrate her legacy and not let this story be erased, as almost happened with her collection.

It is urgent to celebrate one of the greatest Brazilian LGBT+ icons of all time – including the future. Claudia will always be in the timeline of our History, she will always be responsible for the memories of a public who saw a transvestite immersed in a bath of blood (fake, calm down) at the height of the HIV epidemic in the 80s.

It was she who opened so many important doors and smoothed the path that many others tread today. Claudia was a transvestite who broke the strong machismo of the world of gay sex and could enter the most famous sauna in São Paulo, for example. Not only could she enter, she was invited to be there at events such as the fashion show for this still famous space.

She was invited because she was respected, because she was capable, because she was a professional competent enough to take on a position in the public service, and she was always praised. She was one of the pioneers to occupy this type of space throughout Brazil at the beginning of the century, a time when we were still fighting for civil unions and consequent civil marriage.

It was while LGBTphobia was not considered a crime that Claudia circulated with a visibly political body, a proud, didactic transvestite, with a sweet and welcoming smile mixed with the tone of certainty in her voice. She taught me once: “a transvestite is neither a man nor a woman, a transvestite is a transvestite”. It was the beginning of a journey of knowledge about identities, history and respect.

She was invited because she was respected, because she was capable, because she was a competent professional.

It is reckless to spend any LGBT+ Pride Month in Brazil without talking about Claudia Wonder, what she contributed to our movement, to the construction of our identity as an organized group, of us as Brazilians. Because one very important thing she will always do is be Brazilian.

It was in a Brazil that copied, and still does, the American militancy that she sang in Portuguese, seeking national partnerships, such as the final one of her career, with the Laptop Boys. “Funky Disco Fashion” (2007) was a farewell album in style, without digital manipulation, with the courage to release a deep, striking, cutting, important voice.

One sad day the news reached us: Claudia was hospitalized with a lung problem. We really hope she recovers. But it wasn’t enough. Unfortunately, her departure exposed a flaw that still needs to be fixed in our movement: the lack of commitment to our own memory. Claudia’s entire collection was almost thrown away.

Another important audiovisual source is the documentary “Meu Amigo Claudia”, by Dácio Pinheiro.

Claudia died at the age of 55, in a hot November in São Paulo, and was laid to rest in the building of the State Secretariat of Justice and Defense of Citizenship, in the city center, on a night of sadness that brought together many of the most respected figures within the our community.

It is this respect, these figures, this memory that need to sustain our pride, in this and every month. Fortunately, Claudia won a musical in her honor, a human rights award and named a citizenship center in the North Zone of São Paulo. We always need to remember: we are historical, eternal.

Source: Maxima

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