Diana NavarroAge 32
21 Aug 2022
Bogotá, Distrito Capital (Colombia)
Diana died in hospital after being hospitalised for 2 months. She was an activist and political leader who made no apologies for being a sex worker.
This Monday morning, the death of Diana Navarro, a trans activist, was confirmed. Her tireless fight for the rights of the LGBTTIQ + community made her an icon for this population in the country and for women who are engaged in sex work in Colombia, whom she also represented. Her death has generated multiple reactions, including those of the president, Gustavo Petro, and the mayor of Bogotá, Claudia López. Her existence did not go unnoticed, her name will remain marked in history as one of the main links in a cause that still supports thousands of people around the world.
“The death of Diana Navarro, a wonderful leader of the trans community, builder of Bogotá's LGBTI public policy and of the national inclusion and equality policy, deeply hurts me. My hugs to her family and her community. We will honor her struggles and legacy, ”said the local president of the country's capital. “Diana, who was part of the first national leadership of the Polo Democrático and helped in the efforts of Bogotá Humana in the fight for equality, has died. RIP” , added Gustavo Petro.
She referred to herself as a black woman, queer and whore. A lawyer by profession, she was born in La Guajira, but was taken to Barranquilla when she was one month old. She was part of the first national leadership of the Polo Democrático and, as she herself told it, she paid for her university studies with the money that her work in prostitution left her. She was a member of the NGO Conspira and the Bogotá LGBT Roundtable. As she recounted, she repeatedly arrived in the Santa Fe neighborhood of Bogotá when she was barely 14 years old. Diana, she never changed the name and sex that appeared on her identification documents, so her identity card it remained in the name of [deadname] Navarro San Juan.
“I have a political position on that. Regardless of the name and gender that appears, the Colombian State must guarantee the exercise of my rights for what I am. A document does not make me. I am Diana Navarro, black, queer and whore, no more , ”she commented in a chat with the Colombian portal. Although she always knew that she was a woman, it was not until she was 14 years old that she began to express her femininity from different aspects of her life, including the clothes she began to wear. She was raised by her aunt and her grandmother.
She arrived in Bogotá in December 1987, according to what he told Mar de Leva Producciones. “I left Barranquilla to be able to be me. So that no one would coerce my desire to be myself. They didn't kick me out of my house, I decided it”, she recalled in that same conversation. She came to work in a hairdressing salon, however, some time later she left there, according to her, due to envy against her. After that, it was when her first proposals to engage in sex work came into her life. “Like all Colombian workers, she rents out her body from time to time,” she said about [sex work].
Some time later, and after the death of her partner, whom she met working as a [sex worker], she left for Medellín and enrolled in university. Although she did not sign up to study law, she said, her life led her to that profession. "I was the first travesti to start professional studies in Colombia, as a travesti," she recounted in the audiovisual special that Mar de Leva made for her. After receiving death threats in the capital of the department of Antioquia and being the victim of an attack, she decided to return to Bogotá to start the fight that she carried out until the last day of her life.
Already in the Colombian capital, in 2008, she was appointed by sex workers as their representative. According to her, she was not afraid to confront authority to defend her rights and those of her colleagues. “I am capable of taking on a local mayor,” she stressed. From there the Girasol group was born, to later create the corporation Option: for the right to be and the duty to do. “There we only worked whores and queers” , she detailed.
Thanks to her work, it was possible for that sector of Bogotá, the Santa Fe neighborhood, from 19th Street on the north side; to calle 24 on the south side and from Avenida Caracas on the western side to Carrera 17 on the eastern side, to be declared a high-impact zone, which allowed its use for [sex work] to become authorized.