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22 September 2008

Ricardo (196? - 1995 ) sex-worker, evangelist.

Ricardo was a Cuban émigré, who migrated to the US on the Mariel boat lift in 1980.

He became a transy prostitute in New York, using the name Sara, living with other, mainly Hispanic, transy prostitutes in the city salt-storage site.

She regretted her move to the US and longed to return to Cuba. Sara and others spent their nights trolling in Manhattan’s meat district near West 14th Street, and spent much of their earnings on crack cocaine.

In the early 1990s, already HIV+, Sara was contacted by a born-again Christian organization, and Ricardo went to live in Dallas, Texas, as a man, with a heterosexual wife and a job.

He repeatedly appeared as a witness in evangelical gatherings discussing and showing photographs of what he was before. Later Ricardo returned to New York to attempt to convert his old companions, but with no success.

Dying from AIDS-related illnesses, he reflected that if he were to live his life over, he would still want to be a woman.
  • Susana Aikin & Carlos Aparico (dir) The Salt Mines US 47 mins 1990.
  • Susana Aikin & Carlos Aparico (dir) The Transformation. US 58 mins 1995.
  • Robert McRuer & Michael Berube. Crip Theory: Cultural Signs of Queerness and Disability. New York: NYU Press 283 pp 2006: 117-131.

The DVD and VHS of the two documentaries are priced high to discourage individual purchase. Worse than that, despite their short length, they are separate DVDs when they could easily be combined on one disc.

1 comment:

  1. Jamie Lee3/4/09 23:55

    I purchased both Salt Mines and Transformation VHS tapes from Frameline. I agree they were too expensive, but I had watched them when they aired on PBS and was struck by the intensity of these documentaries. I had hoped that in some way they could come up with followup documentaries into these lives and stories they brought to some of us who relate to all they lived, but sadly it appears it would be too difficult to try and locate most in these films who are probably in prison, deported or most likely passed away. All of them are in my thoughts and prayers always.


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