In a world that favors controlled categories–black and white/male and female/gay and straight–comes Carlos Motta, is challenging perceptions and notions by fighting the good fight for intersexed and trans people. He is removing barriers, opening eyes. He is to be commended and supported; the camera that filmed crusaders for the intersexed and trans community.
Gender Talents (2015) is a newly released web-based project that involves candid interviews with intersexed and trans people with real “we-will-not-go-down-without-a-fight-we-are-here-and-will-be-heard” attitudes. Carlos Motta has taken his camera from Colombia and Guatemala to India and the USA, interviewing intersexed and trans people- people dangling in that grey area; the marginalized, the overlooked, the quote-unquote stranger. Gender Talents gives us a peek into a world that some might not realize exists; it is a world where people talk openly about their identities, their bodies, their sexual organs, sex, and sex work. They share more than their stories.
These videos capture people like Hida Viloria who affirms in an understated, yet firm tone that “…we’re at an incredible place in time because intersexed people are about to pop into the mainstream.” She says of the intersexed community “[h]umanity is benefiting from us because once we break into the mainstream then you really have to question all these deep seeded ways of separating people.” Profound words carve these stories.
In other videos, we find courageous Colombian warriors. Where Valentina Riascos discusses her role in the Santamaría Fundación: “One of the discourses or initiatives proposed by the people who created the Santamaría Fundación was that it was their duty to “make” one trans woman who was empowered and informed.” And others like Angely Corrales bravely states that “people think we are crooks, that we are aggressive, that we are bad, but society itself has transformed us into this because we have to build ourselves a shell to defend ourselves against society.” People are stories that turn into bits of gold.
It is not just the people who move the stories, but their willingness to be filmed, to be captured in time; provoking the viewer into an introspective state of awareness.
Carlos Motta has captured something unique– a community that, for so many years, has been swept by the wayside; he is capturing their phoenix-rising. He is making history.
Prior to Gender Talents, Motta was equally as focused on dissecting social norms, categories, and boxes as he explored unexplored lands asking indigenous peoples of coastal Colombia to discuss their ideas of identity, sex, and sexual behavior in relationship to the arrival of the Christian church in his work titled Nefrandus (2013). The pre-Hispanic (homo)sexuality that has been long forgotten and/or erased. Motta forces us not only to face the truth, but forces us into it. To see truth is to ask questions not only about ourselves, our ideas and opinions, but about those around us, the world around us. Perhaps through him we can explore recesses of our society and ourselves; now is the time when we can begin to chip away at and watch antiquated structures crumble.
WORDS BY Jacklyn Janeksela