An organization from Mexico City called ‘Mujeres Trans Famosas de Toluca’ MTFT (Famous Trans Women of Toluca) recognize the struggles being faced among its community of trans women during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of its members rely on sex work for survival and like most global citizens who are suffering because of the hault to the gig economy, this community of women is living the negative effects, but they are mobilizing every way they can to be able to help those in need.
The women from MTFT have started a community dining room known as ‘Un Toque de Ayuda’ (A Touch of Help) which opened on April 7th reports Spanish media outlet, MVT Agencias de Noticias. They went from being known as ‘the girls from Humboldt’ (the name of the street where sex work frequently occurs) to ‘the girls from the smoke’, referring to the constant cooking they have been doing for their community.
The cooks prepare casseroles in a small rustic kitchen they take to the patio, where a community dining room was improvised to be able to provide low-cost food to the members of the trans community in Toluca and to unemployed or vulnerable people.
Rudy Díaz Méndez, along with two other members of the collective, is one of the primary cooks for the initiative. All trans women over the age of 50, Díaz Méndez and her team of cooks spend a large part of the day preparing food to help the other members of the MTFT group, who despite the health orders, work the Humboldt in the Center of Toluca every night.
But despite working every night, the health orders have stopped their work and members of the group are experiencing financial struggle, like much of the world. The trans community in Mexico is unable to qualify for private loans or any government assistance because their gender confirming identity does not legally match government voting records.
Díaz Méndez shared with MVT:
The dining room initiative was created with us in mind. If before COVID-19 nobody cared about us ‘the famous girls from Humboldt’, now even less. I do everything with a lot of love, with a lot of hygiene and all those who come see that I do it with a lot of heart.
The community dining room has a nominal fee of 25 peso recovery fee, which is used to not only sustain the continued meals. However, half of the food rations are distributed to the most needy population that is outside the Toluca hospitals for indigent people.
Tania Vázquez, spokesperson for ‘Mujeres Trans Famosas Toluca’, shared with MVT:
Unfortunately, we are experiencing this situation because of COVID-19 and many people have been left without work. There are many street vendors without income, sex workers, we want to help them all. This project is one hundred percent inclusive.
If you’d like to contribute to the cause, visit the Un Toque de Ayuda Facebook page for more information.
Source: MVT Agencias de Noticias