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Film about the 1st trans of the FAB will premiere at the Brasília Festival

Next Sunday, at the Brasilia Festival of Brazilian Cinema, Maria Luiza premieres. In 1h20, the feature film from Brasilia tells the story of the first and only transgender woman in the Brazilian Air Force (FAB)

Marcelo Abreu, Especial para o Correio

postado em 20/11/2019 06:00

At the age of 5, when he heard the noise of an airplane in the backyard, the child would run to see that big thing in the sky. We are in Ceres, in the interior of Goiás, 280km away from Brasília. It's 1965. ;I slept and dreamed about that, about the noise of the plane.; At the age of 7, he liked to fly a kite so much that he invented a contraption: ;It was a reel, which improved the kite's performance when flying. She released the line faster and retracted it too;, he remembers. At 9, he was building aircraft with old tins from the house. The child always wanted to fly. Ever. At 18, José Carlos da Silva fulfilled the dream of a lifetime. He went to serve the Brazilian Air Force (FAB). He became an airplane mechanic. It soon stood out. He became the best of the bunch. He began to take more and more specialization courses. Certificates, medals and decorations were added for the good services rendered to the nation. During this period, he became an instructor of courses on ground preparation for aircraft. ;My promotion was published in a newsletter;, he says proudly.

The years passed. José began to realize, in fact he always knew, that something was bothering him. He didn't like his body, and his head wasn't exactly a man's. He sought help from an Air Force medical board. ;They said it was tension, stress, that could pass;, he says. But he insisted it was more than that. It was something that always accompanied him.


In 1998, José was first told that he was transgender. It was how he felt. A woman, with a woman's soul, in a man's body. Then came the separation of his wife and only child. In 2000, Correio Braziliense met José Carlos. It was the beginning of a decade-long series of reports. Chapters of a story filled with pain, prejudice and an endless struggle. It was the beginning of the film Maria Luiza, which premieres this Sunday (24/11), at 15:00, no 52; Brasilia Festival of Brazilian Cinema. It is the only one from DF that will be part of the Mostra Vozes, in the national category. He has been to film festivals in Rio, São Paulo, Argentina, Holland, France, Colombia and Mexico. Still in 2000, the newspaper had access to a confidential report from the High Command of Barracks. There, the mechanic, previously decorated and awarded medals, was no longer fit for the job he performed for 22 years in a row. In the medical report, the opinion: ;Testicular atrophy due to probable drug action. Transsexualism;. And the sentence: ;Unable, definitely, for military service. It is not invalid. You are not totally and permanently disabled for any work. It can provide the means of subsistence. Can engage in physical activities; Was ; and still remains; the first case of transsexuality of the Brazilian Armed Forces. Then began the struggle of José Carlos to remain in the military career and to undergo the sex reassignment surgery. With the support of the Criminal Justice Prosecutor for the Defense of Users of Health Services, of the Public Ministry of the Federal District (Pró-vida), the second part of this story began. Away from the FAB, he began treatment at the University Hospital of Brasília (HUB), for transsexual patients. Routines of consultations with psychiatrist and psychologist. And, finally, in June 2005, at the age of 45, at the Hospital das Clínicas de Goiânia, a sex change surgery was performed, always with the support of the Public Ministry of the Federal District. José Carlos ceased to exist. It gave way to Maria Luiza da Silva, what she always was.


Maria because my mother, very Catholic, said that if it were a boy, he would be called José; girl, Mary. And Luiza because my maternal grandmother was very important in my life; explains Maria Luiza, a retired Air Force corporal. The film, which was only possible to be made thanks to the Culture Support Fund (FAC), of the GDF Department of Culture, is just called Maria Luiza. And director Marcelo Díaz, 44 years old from Brasilia, married, one child and eight documentaries in his luggage, including short and medium-length, explains his first feature film, which had a crew of about 50 people: ;It is a 1h20 documentary of duration. We shot between 2015 and 2017, filming in Brasília, Ceres, Goiânia, where she had the surgery, and in Rio de Janeiro. Determining places in her life and everything she has lived and spent in each of these cities. And, of course, the film tells the story of her, who, for 19 years, has struggled to receive the promotions she is entitled to, even though she's retired. Maria Luiza's lawyer, Max Telesca, 45, told the Correio this Tuesday (11/19) that the lawsuit seeking the nullity of the reform act, in 2000, and the financial consequences of the act, were cases won in first and second instances. ;Now, the action is in the Superior Court of Justice (STJ). I am sure that the understanding will be favorable;, evaluates Telesca. In the documentary, there are remarkable testimonies from family members, colleagues from the FAB and everyone who lived with her and followed the story closely. ;It's a film that talks about a very simple person and his duality between being a military man and a trans woman;, explains the director. And he goes on: ;I am interested in stories of overcoming, of transformation. I saw in Maria Luiza the story of a lady with a very simple life, from the interior of Goiás, who just wanted to be accepted and continue the military career to which she was entitled, before being retired against her will and suffering many prejudices.

This Tuesday morning (11/19), the Correio met Maria Luiza and director Marcelo Díaz, at Cine Brasília. There couldn't be a better scenario. In the midst of setting up and arranging the cinema for the event, which starts this Friday, the conversation was, in fact, a return to her story, to remember that everything that is in the film was exclusively told by the newspaper. Three and a half years ago, the report had its first meeting with the director. The conversation, in a bakery in the Southwest, lasted an entire afternoon. In his folder, there were several clippings from the pages where Maria Luiza's story was published for many years. fight for dignity The first report was in 2000. Since then, a series of special articles has been produced; the last one, in 2017, told about the end of filming. After the surgery, in 2005, the struggle to change the name and sex in civil and military documents and, above all, the struggle that he still has to take back suppressed rights. ;I'm the only female soldier in my class who's still corporal;, he says, with clear sadness. At 59, Maria Luiza lives in the same modest two-bedroom apartment, still owned by the FAB, in Cruzeiro Novo. But at any time you may have to leave. He paints, draws, enjoys photography and goes to mass on Sundays at the church near his home. He walks a lot, his daily sport. ;I walk up to three times a day;, he says. Maybe that explains the 56kg on the 1.70cm body. Extremely shy, Maria Luiza is very private about her private life. Single, does not have any type of social network, not even Whatsapp. ;I'm happy like this. We need to be happy with ourselves. I'm a realist, I'm down to earth.; Marcelo Díaz hears Maria Luiza speak. He gets emotional: ;Knowing history and living with it made me a better human being;. And he reflects: ;The most radical and conservative person, if he sees the film, will be moved. It's a story of a person who runs after their rights, who just wants to exist and be accepted. Especially in this moment of so much intolerance that we are living in Brazil and in the world;. And it was Maria Luiza's turn to hear the director speak. She looks at the sign with her name on it. It seems to get out of there. A movie, of course, crossed his mind. A film where she became the main character of her own life. Sometimes stories told in a newspaper can end up on a very big screen. And thrill a crowd. And make you think. Everything that is real does not die. It can even be turned into a movie.

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