It’s possible to say that for the LGBT community some, if not most, of their inalienable rights have not been given to them. Yo, Indocumentada (I, Undocumented) chronicles the lives of several transgender citizens in Venezuela. Their stories are told in different vignettes where their everyday hardships are highlighted. To some degree, their stories are hopeful, despite their reality of discrimination.
Writer/director Andrea Baranenko’s social issue documentary is almost a love letter to the LGBT community. The documentary is slightly a tribute to anyone who has ever encountered humiliation or shame from society for being different. It’s arguable to say that “you are not alone” is an indirect message this film illuminates.
Baranenko captures the story of Tamara, Desiree and Victoria who actively try to change the name they were legally given. They feel it does not represent their gender, but Venezuela and their society does not see it that way. It seems that although they have medical proof, they’ve been denied the name change.
In Venezuela, you cannot legally change your name unless you show proof of it being offensive, dishonoring to your integrity or if it does not correspond to one’s gender. Easy right? Wrong. Baranenko shines light on the discrimination and degradation Tamara, Desiree and Victoria encounter as they try to legally change their name. The audience grasps the privation and essential human needs these women lack.
Baranenko’s arguably mocking footage came in the form of natives of Venezuela, who were not transgendered, that spoke about their thoughts on the LGBT community. Most only cared about their appearances during the day but appreciated their services at night. Most transgender’s work as prostitutes because it’s hard to find a job that will accept their identity.
Tamara, Desiree and Victoria, however, have created a community of their own where higher education and an empowering future are attainable. But that does define an easy journey. As a viewer, it was disconcerting to know that human rights have been denied, more than once, to people who feel differently about their gender.
Tamara, Desiree and Victoria each took different paths and yet they shared the same discrimination with society and within their family. The lack of support and recognition as human beings was highlighted in Yo, Indocumentada. It was conceivably a reminder that no matter what gender anyone is, they have rights too that should always be recognized and represented.
While Yo, Indocumentada was an eye-opener to the LGBT community’s deprivation, it was also a reminder that there are people out there who care. Baranenko’s strongest and arguably most compelling footage was when a transgendered woman spoke at a convention about accepting the hate and utilizing that as tool for educating and informing others, in the world, about the LGBT community and that they are merely humans.
Watch the official trailer for Yo, Indocumentada below.