Argentina has appointed the very first transgender Chief of Police in Latin America.
After having been dismissed from the police force for coming out as trans several years ago, Analía Pasantino returned to the force after a change in the administration.
Pasantino joined the police force in 1988, working as a male police officer during the day and spending her evenings in dresses. In the video above Pasantino speaks about hiding her identity and not having the courage to even get out of her car dressed as a woman. She eventually found the courage to be her true self, especially with the support of her wife.
In 2008 she finally came out and revealed to her job that she was trans. They swiftly put her on a leave of absence after having given 20 years of her life to the force. According to the Associated Press, she spent nearly a decade trying to prove her mental fitness in order to come back.
Much of Pasantino’s reinstatement is due to change in sentiments and laws in Argentina, which has become a leader in LGBT rights after making same-sex marriage legal in 2010 and passing laws allowing citizens to change their gender without having to jump through legal hoops in 2012.
There is lots of support on social media for Pasantino.
Pasantino sees her appointment as a victory for not just herself, but for others in the trans community as well, saying “At first I was a bit overwhelmed by so much attention. But I’m proud to tell this story and I hope it helps others as well.”
If there is one thing the pandemic has proven to be essential, it’s the internet. For Sol de Bernardo, head of content creation at Papumba, access to technology should be “a basic right.”
Adjusting to remote learning was tough for students when lockdowns were implemented around the world last year. The parents of the children also took a toll while trying to balance child care, school, and work at the same time.
“During this pandemic, I am a believer that technology is a great ally for those who could have the connection and technology to continue learning,” de Bernardo told mitú.
Unable to physically interact with friends, many children have spent hours endlessly scrolling and gaming without limits. Apps like Papumba are trying to add meaning to a child’s screen time easing parents’ concerns.
Papumba is an educational gaming app geared for children ages 2-7.
De Bernardo says the app has become “a resource widely used by parents to entertain and educate their children in this time” after seeing a spike in subscriptions.
The app offers various activities for kids to build critical reading and math skills. Furthermore, the app is introducing little ones to things like environmentalism, wellness, and conflict resolution.
However, for low-income families in Argentina where Papumba is based, many children are vulnerable to the lack of connectivity.
“There is a big inequality problem [and] it’s not a distant reality,” says de Bernardo.
In Argentina, 75 percent of children from low-income families don’t have access to computers. Out of those that do, 36 percent don’t have internet access.
To accommodate families Papumba often lowers their monthly prices, even offering promo codes but de Bernardo wishes access to tech could be given throughout.
A proud Latina in tech, de Bernardo’s journey was not instantaneous.
De Bernardo started out as an educator and that background got her interested in the connection between education and technology. This intimate knowledge of the specific issue led her to bridge that gap.
“Privileged” to be working in tech, de Bernardo is encouraging other young girls to take an interest in STEM. Some advice de Bernardo has to offer young girls is to first get access to a computer, network when you can, and be confident.
“It may be difficult to have confidence in a world full of things that aren’t always good for women, but trust yourself, be dedicated, and above all, be resilient and humble,” she says.
While still a young company, de Bernardo hopes to develop more tangible devices for children to use in classrooms like high-tech dolls and books. However, her current focus is on quality education through the app.
De Bernardo wants to push Papumba to include educating children on their emotional wellbeing.
“We do not talk about emotions enough,” she says. ” We have an activity to recognize emotions where an animated child will form emotions and explains them so the children can understand that there are different emotions and it’s okay to have them.”
When introducing touchy subjects like bullying, de Bernardo finds it important to focus on teaching young children solutions to dilemmas explaining that “the explanation of the problems may not be easy for a 3-year-old to understand.”
Nevertheless, delivering context in a simplistic way is included in such activities. Most recently, the app released a game inspired by the pandemic.
An instant success, the game introduces the imaginary town of ‘Papumba Land,’ where kids can engage in replicated outdoor activities such as: hosting a barbecue, partying with friends, or having a picnic in the park.
Last month, in-person learning returned to Argentina, but de Bernardo hopes that a year online changes the approach in future children’s education.
“I think that technology can help us in this by putting adding a little fun for the child,” she says. “Learning does not have to be [treated] like a mandate where you have to learn something and repeat the year if you fail. There has to be something for the child to want to learn.”
“[Working at] Papumba has helped me understand that you can create something fun for children to enjoy learning and not make it seem like going to school is a nuisance,” she says.
The App Store featured Papumba for Women’s History Month.
The TSA has long come under fire for its mishandling of minorities. From their treatment and suspicion of certain ethnicities to their mishandling of binary scanning technology, it’s no secret that TSA officers are lacking in awareness when it comes to certain issues. This is particularly true when it comes to nonbinary and trans people. In fact, recently a ProPublica investigation revealed that trans people are often forced to endure invasive searches by the TSA in airports.
In some of the worst cases, trans people have reported being forced to show their genitals to simply fly.
Rose Montoya, an Arizona-based, Hispanic, bisexual, nonbinary trans model recently recalled an experience with TSA that was extremely transphobic.
In the viral TikTok video, which has racked up over three million views, Montoya recalled her experience with airport security and underlined why “we need to change how the scanners function and educate TSA about trans people”.
Speaking about the recent incident, Montaya recalled how “going through the scanner, there’s a male and female scanner for the TSA checkpoint… But going through the scanner, I always have an ‘anomaly’ between my legs that sets off the alarm. So she asked me if I had anything in my pants and I say, ‘No’, so she said, ‘Maybe it’s just the metal buttons on your shorts.’”
“So I went through the scanner again but I set off the alarm again, so I said I am trans woman and to just pat me down,” she explained. “Her solution was to ask me if I wanted to be scanned as a man instead. I didn’t, but I ended up doing it. And my boobs set it off, because of course. So I tried to make a joke out of it and said don’t worry, there’s just a bunch of plastic in there. Then she said we have to pat you down and asked if I would prefer a man to do it. I said absolutely not.”
In an interview with Buzzfeed, Montoya was recently traveling from Phoenix to Los Angeles to visit her boyfriend when she was subjected to humiliation by TSA.
Montoya’s experience sparked a conversation on TikTok and Instagram, where many trans people shared similar experiences with TSA.
a“It’s been proven that the system we have in place is broken and doesn’t work,” she emphasized. “We also need to train people on how to treat trans people. If I tell you I’m a trans woman, it most likely means I want to be scanned as a woman, treated as a woman, and patted down by a woman.”