Things That Matter

A Trans Woman Recently Told Her Story About Her Surprising Romantic Relationship With A Colombian Drug Lord

We all know that narcos live a dangerous life of violent crime–it’s rare to hear a love story with a narco at its center. When you hear the words “Drug Lord”, the phrase that comes to mind is probably not “Knight in Shining Armor”. But for one Colombian trans woman stuck on the streets, her narco boyfriend ended up being just that.

Although Colombia has one of the highest murder rates in the world, (much of it attributed to drug trafficking) this trans woman found solace in the underworld that she couldn’t find from her family.

For one trans woman, her life was transformed from a life of violence on the street to a life of luxury and “glamour” because of her relationship with a Colombian drug lord.

A recent Vice article tells the story of Gabriela, a trans teenager who found herself on the streets to escape the horror of her home life. Gabriela’s story is riddled with tales of violence, homelessness, and constant danger. These stories, unfortunately, are universally common for trans women–but especially common in developing countries.

Gabriela chose to become homeless rather than live with her abusive, transphobic father. After becoming homeless, a fellow trans friend introduced her to a pimp whom she said could “help [her] earn some money.” Refusing to sell sex to earn an income, Gabriela instead acted as a sort of bodyguard for the other sex workers. According to her, she was given a knife and pepper spray by the pimp and told to “make sure that nobody came down the streets they operated on”. She was also told to rob drunk people by knife-point. Soon enough, Gabriela escalated her robberies to muggings and store-holdups at gunpoint.

But one day, everything changed for Gabriela. After months spent on the streets, a mysterious man named Carlos came down the street her and other sex workers were operating on. Although he was searching for trans sex workers to pay for, him and Gabriela ended up hitting it off. He took Gabriela for something to eat and opened up to her, admitting that he was “lonely”.

On their initial date, Carlos revealed that he was a “major player” in the Colombian drug world. In other words, he was a narco.

Carlos’s revelation did not deter Gabriela. Soon after, she and Carlos developed an intimate connection. However, elements of the relationship were still undeniably transactional. For instance, Carlos paid for Gabriela’s apartment and her lifestyle in general. But regardless of the power imbalance of their relationship, Gabriela insists that Carlos was a true romantic. taking her expensive dates across the country. He would take her on  “motorbike rides” in the countryside, to her favorite deep house raves, they would relax in his jacuzzi together.

What’s more, Gabriela’s relationship with Carlos was widely accepted within the Colombian narco underworld.

According to Gabriela, Carlos “never tried to hide” their relationship. “He introduced me to all of his associates, who were all okay with me once they got to know me,” she said in her interview. “The fact that I was transgender soon became an incidental detail.” In fact, Gabriela believes that her relationship with Carlos may have helped change the mindset of the more conservative members of the Colombian cartel community. “I would like to think that the fact I dated Carlos broke down a few barriers and lessened the stigma associated with going out with trans women,” she says.

Gabriela insists that she almost never saw the “darker side” of Carlos. Only once did Gabriela suspect Carlos’s violent tendencies–when an intoxicated woman disappeared after acting belligerent at a party. But despite the love between them, things did not last between Gabriela and Carlos. Wanting to improve her English as well as experience a “change of scenery”, Gabriela decided to move to the U.S. to stay with her mother.

Once she broke up with Carlos, he “went crazy” and started “shooting up his house”, according to Gabriela.

But despite his erratic behavior, Gabriela insists that she wasn’t afraid of him hurting her. “People have different ways of handling breakups,” she said. “And that was just his way of dealing with it”. Once Gabriela moved to the U.S., she tried her hand at drug-dealing too, selling benzos and amphetamines to make ends meet. Despite her moderate success at selling drugs, she ended up returning to Colombia. Once she returned, she discovered that Carlos was having her followed.

Now at 25, Gabriela says she is “glad she got to have” the experience of dating a Colombian drug lord. “He always treated me well and he helped me out when I was in a desperate situation,” she said to Vice. She looks back at her time in the drug underworld as a “fun stage of her life”. Despite the fact that Gabriela looks back fondly on her days in the narco underworld, there are countless others whose lives have been negatively impacted by Latin American cartels. It’s fortunate the Gabriela was never hurt, but her story is not one to be admired.

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Radical Feminists Have Seized Control of a Federal Building in Mexico in Protest of the Government’s Apathy Towards Rampant Femicide


Radical Feminists Have Seized Control of a Federal Building in Mexico in Protest of the Government’s Apathy Towards Rampant Femicide

Last week, Mexican feminist activists took over the National Human Rights Commissions federal building in a move to bring greater awareness to the scourge of gender-based violence and femicide that has racked Mexico for decades.

According to the federal Interior Secretariat, the statistics in Mexico have recently taken a turn for the worse.

Domestic violence against women has became an even more acute problem since the pandemic has forced women to stay insider with their abusers. Emergency distress calls reporting domestic violence have risen by 50%.

The occupation of the Human Rights building is just another chapter in the saga of the “Ni Una Menos” (Not One More Woman) movement, an anti-femicide collective born in Argentina that has steadily been gaining steam in Mexico since 2019.

In recent years, anti-femicide demonstrations have been sparked by various heinous crimes against women or girls that have been largely overlooked by law enforcement officials. 

Photo by Marcos Brindicci/Getty Images

Unfortunately, the government of Mexico has appeared to be apathetic to the wave of femicide that is overwhelming the women of their country.

Recently, when President Andrés Manuel López Obrador was asked to address Mexico’s gender violence epidemic, he demurred, stating that he didn’t “want femicide to detract” from the raffle his administration was holding for the sale of the presidential airplane.

As for the feminist activists at the heart of Ni Una Menos and the federal building occupation, the government’s failure to respond to anti-woman violence is the primary fuel for their anger. 

“We’re here so that the whole world will know that in Mexico they kill women and nobody does anything about it,” said Yesenia Zamudio to the LA Times. According to Zamudio, she is still seeking justice for the murder of her 19-year-old daughter four years ago.

The women of Mexico appear to be fed up, grasping at any and all tactics that have the potential to incite change on a grander scale.

Their tactics may seem dramatic to some, but it’s undeniable that they are no longer being ignored. As of now, the radical activists are pulling attention-grabbing stunts like decorating a portrait of Mexican Revolution leader Francisco Madero with lipstick and purple hair.

They’re also making headlines for vandalizing the federal building’s walls and splashing paint on the doors of the presidential palace.

One thing is for sure: something has to change. Otherwise, thousands of innocent women and girls will continue to be raped, abused, and murdered while their perpetrators escape with immunity. 

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Joe Biden Speaks Alongside ‘Fearless Fighter’ Kamala Harris In First Appearance And Recalls Her Family’s Immigrant Story


Joe Biden Speaks Alongside ‘Fearless Fighter’ Kamala Harris In First Appearance And Recalls Her Family’s Immigrant Story

Chip Somodevilla / Gettycc

After weeks of speculation and anticipation, presidential candidate Joe Biden announced on Tuesday that he has officially picked his running mate.

In a history-making announcement, Biden revealed that he had tapped California Sen. Kamala Harris to be his VP Pick.

“I have the great honor to announce that I’ve picked @KamalaHarris — a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants — as my running mate,” Biden announced in a tweet.

On Wednesday, Biden held his first campaign event alongside running mate Kamala Harris in Delaware.

During their speeches, the two candidates wore masks and kept their distance in keeping with COVID-19 standards.

Speaking about his VP pick, Biden described Harris as coming from an “America’s story.” Biden described Harris as “a child of immigrants” who “knows personally how immigrant families enrich our country as well as the challenges of what it means to grow up Black and Indian-American in the United States of America,” he explained. “And this morning, all across the nation, little girls woke up, especially little Black and brown girls that feel overlooked and undervalued in their communities, but today — today just maybe they’re seeing themselves for the first time in a new way as president and vice presidents.”

In a speech of her own, Harris emphasized the importance of family and urged citizens to vote.  “We need a mandate that proves that the past few years do not represent who we are or who we aspire to be,” she said. “Joe likes to say that character is on the ballot. And it’s true,” she explained. “I’ve had a lot of titles over my career and certainly vice president will be great. But ‘Momala’ will always be the one that means the most.”

Harris’s nomination makes her the first Black and first Indian-American woman on either major party’s presidential ticket.

Harris is a former prosecutor from California who challenged Biden in her own presidential bid last year. Her nomination makes her the fourth woman to appear on a major presidential ballot. Before her, Geraldine Ferraro ran as a Democratic vice presidential nominee in 1984. In 2008, Republican Sarah Palin ran as a vice presidential nominee, later in 2016, Hillary Clinton became the Democratic presidential nominee.

Biden’s choice was one that has long been in the works. In March of this year, he revealed that he would make a point to have a woman as his running mate and in July he announced that he had narrowed his picks down to four Black women.

Kamala Harris was elected to Congress in 2016.

This has been Harris’ first term as a senator. Before, she served as the California attorney general. During her time as AG, Harris formed a lasting friendship with Biden’s late son Beau who was attorney general at the time in Delaware. Writing about Beau’s death, in her memoir The Truths We Hold, Harris recalled that “there were periods when I was taking the heat when Beau and I talked every day, sometimes multiple times a day,” she wrote in her memoir. “We had each other’s backs.”

Biden’s son Beau died in 2015 from brain cancer. Harris attended his funeral.

During his announcement, Biden mentioned Harris’ friendship with his son.

“I watched as they took on the big banks, lifted up working people, and protected women and kids from abuse,” Biden tweeted. “I was proud then, and I’m proud now to have her as my partner in this campaign.”

So far, it seems there are quite a bit of Harris x Biden supporters.

Fans were quick to give their support and applaud her candidacy.

In a tweet acknowledging her nomination, Harris wrote “@JoeBiden can unify the American people because he’s spent his life fighting for us. And as president, he’ll build an America that lives up to our ideals. I’m honored to join him as our party’s nominee for Vice President, and do what it takes to make him our Commander-in-Chief.”

Here’s to 2020 y’all. Get ready to make history.

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