Mexican trans woman Alejandra Ortiz has been living undocumented in Amsterdam for years, unable to obtain a residence permit due to the Dutch immigration service’s (IND) policy of only granting status to refugees from countries deemed unsafe. Despite facing violence and persecution in Mexico, the IND has repeatedly rejected her requests for status, citing recent legalizations of LGBT rights as evidence that Mexico is safe. Ortiz’s autobiographical book (not yet translated) , De Waarheid Zal Me Bevrijden, offers a rare glimpse into the daily life of undocumented refugees and sheds light on the contradictions and futility of the Dutch migration system. Ortiz writes with an unsentimental and matter-of-fact tone, detailing her experiences of injustice and tragedy while also highlighting moments of love, humor, and friendship. Through her activism and her book, Ortiz hopes to improve the situation of trans refugees and expose the flaws of the migration system.
Ortiz highlights the contradictions and inefficiency of the Dutch migration system, the restricted and too simplistic categories into which the policy is split, the IND’s bureaucracy, and the brutality against refugees as well as regular Dutch residents. The truthful tone automatically becomes bitter ironic. Outside the asylum centre, white males in automobiles drive by, asking refugees for 10 euros for sex. Even the Dutch LGBTQ community can be a danger; according to reports, some immigrants are provided sanctuary by homosexual couples in exchange for forced sex. Ortiz does not spare herself either, as she recounts her poisonous preconceptions against Middle Eastern and African refugees.
There are many humorous situations. Ortiz discovers love, humour, and companionship in unexpected places. She describes her crushes and sexual adventures in the camp in great detail. She also meets new people with whom she drinks coffee, cooks dinners, and gossips. Ortiz excels in describing a type of beautiful homeliness that one would not expect to find in a location like the asylum seekers’ shelter.
The camp serves as a “heterotopia,” a location with different laws than the rest of the world. Despite the fact that trans women are not always treated favorably, males wait in line for them. On demand, they cook, wash laundry, and perform oral sex. Perhaps there is something about the camp setting that makes it so easy for heterosexual guys to fall in love with trans women.”
Ortiz is currently establishing herself as an activist, participating in numerous LGBTQ+ groups and contributing to government reports. She may illustrate where things go wrong, which contradictions paralyze the different migratory bodies. She explains the IND’s irritating identity politics, as well as how the existing rules favor deception and punish honesty. As a record, the book mostly succeeds in maintaining refugees’ humanity. Perhaps that it is the truth that will set her free from an awful society.