Commemorative event for the transsexual woman Sonia Rescalvo Zafra, murdered by a group of fascists in 1991

04/10/2023 - 12:04

The event will take place at the Glorieta de la Transsexual Sonia [Transsexual Sonia Bandstand] in Parc de la Ciutadella on Saturday 7 October, in the square which bears her name.

The event will take place at the Glorieta de la Transsexual Sonia [Transsexual Sonia Bandstand] in Parc de la Ciutadella on Saturday 7 October, in the square which bears her name.

For yet another year, Barcelona’s residents will gather to remember the life of Sonia Rescalvo Zafra, denounce the hate crime she suffered and advocate for the rights of the LGBTI community and their desire for a city in which people are free to be and love whoever they want.

Sonia Rescalvo Zafra was born in Conca in 1956. She moved to Barcelona when she was young and would find work at the Teatre Arnau in the artistic world of Avinguda Paral·lel. She worked as a showgirl at this theatre for many years and would gain considerable fame. When variety shows were hit by a crisis, she found herself with no other option but to live and work in Parc de la Ciutadella.

Murder and condemnation

On the morning of 6 October 1991, Sonia was brutally murdered by a group of neo-Nazi skinheads on the bandstand in Parc de la Ciutadella. She was sleeping on the covered platform with her friend Doris, who was also attacked by the group. Before fleeing, the neo-Nazi group also attacked and blinded a homeless man who was sleeping in the park’s greenhouse.

The events were reported by the Catalan Gay Liberation Front (FAGC) and the Gay and Lesbian Coordinating Committee. The trial was held at the Barcelona Provincial Criminal Court in 1994, and the attackers were found guilty of her murder and sentenced.

The bandstand where she was murdered was renamed the “Transsexual Sonia Bandstand” in 2013, following a proposal from the LGTBIcat Platform. In 2021, the whole square was also renamed in her honour.


2023 commemorative event

This year, in light of Sonia’s murder and the hate crime that ended her life, efforts are being made to raise awareness of transphobia from an intersectional perspective, which also takes into account aporophobia.

The event’s programme has been drawn up by the working group of the LGBTI Municipal Council in collaboration with the Chryssalis Catalunya, ACATHI, Stop SIDA, GAG, CJB, UGT, Joves Ecosocialistes, 17 de Maig organisations. Lina Mulero, an activist for transgender rights, will lead the event.

The event, which starts at 11 a.m., will begin with a series of visibility and awareness-raising activities such as ACATHI’s “Living Library”. This activity involving books and people will invite citizens to learn about the experiences of transgender individuals, share their opinions, and discover the realities of this collective. The “Glorieta dels Desitjos” [“The Wishing Bandstand”] activity, led by the Stop Sida organisation, will fill the Transsexual Sonia Bandstand with short messages tied with colourful ribbons and trans-positive messages. There will also be a bracelet-making workshop for children, led by Chrysallis Catalunya, bag workshop led by GAG and Encara en Acció, and a gender self-determination pronoun badge-making workshop, led by the Barcelona Youth Council.

At 12.30 p.m., the Commissioner for LGBTI Policies, Javier Rodríguez Núñez, will welcome the attendees and inaugurate the space for speeches and artistic performances.

The inaugural speech will be given by Miguel Ángel Aguilar García, Prosecutor from the Hate Crimes and Discrimination Unit of the General Prosecutor’s Office. A speech will also be given by Roger Fe and Maite Mauricio , members of the Commission for Rights and Aporophobia of the Barcelona Support Network for the Homeless (XAPSLL). Further speeches will be given by the Deputy Chair of the LGBTI Municipal Council, Lluís Sanz García, and representatives from organisations such as Chryssalis Catalunya, Stop Sida, ACATHI, UGT, and FAGC.

During the event, TiritiTrans Trans Trans will perform ‘¿Estas son las cosas con las que tenemos que aprender a vivir?‘ [‘Are these the things we have to learn to live with?’]. The singer Hugo Marlo will close the event by performing three of his own songs: ‘No me llames más así’, ‘Mil voltes’ and ‘Solos tú i yo’.

See you there!