Skip to content

Moving story about the marginalised existence of Argentine 'transvestis'

Camila Sosa Villada indulges the reader in Fake bitches an intimate and moving glimpse into the colourful, but also harsh and lonely existence of (Argentine) transsexuals. And thus holds a merciless mirror up to the intolerant, judgmental society.

A 'party'

'Being a transvesti is a party' was the motto of Angie, one of Camila Sosa Villada's transgender friends. An incantation to make everyday life more bearable. Because to this day, transsexuals are not accepted in many parts of the globe, but a few decades ago, 'transvestis' like Angie and Camila had it many times harder. Violence, humiliation and exclusion were the order of the day. To live the way they wanted - as women - many of them were forced to sell their bodies. Because even though they were not accepted as human beings, sex with transsexuals was very popular.

Argentine actress and writer Camila Sosa Villada, ©Catalina Bartolomé

Today, Camila Sosa Villada (41) has a career as an actress, singer and writer, but for her, too, life began as a woman on the streets. In her debut novel Fake bitches she looks back on that relentless, formative period.

As a small child, Camila, then Christian, already knows she is a woman, but her parents don't want to know. After a childhood full of humiliation, violence and poverty, she ends up on the streets around the age of 16.

In Cordoba, she is included in the group of transvestis who gather every night in Sarmiento park and serve their clients from there. They share their make-up, narcotics and stories, and they comfort and defend each other when - as happens quite often - they become victims of violence or theft.

Ruthlessly honest but with love, Sosa Villada describes the lives of these colourful women. That life is not exactly a party, but at least the women try to make the best of it together by seeking refuge in their own imaginative world, with Aunt Encarna's pink house as a safe haven. Like a mother, Aunt Encarna takes care of a foundling baby, of Deaf Maria, who transforms into a little bird, and of Natalí, who transforms into a werewolf every month at the full moon. Together, they hold their own. Until AIDS and hatred in society mercilessly take their toll and the women are chased apart like rats.

Fake bitches is an important and moving story about a marginalised existence that you hope no one will ever have to experience again. Just a shame about that awful title - it doesn't do justice to the extraordinary, warm-blooded characters.

Camila Sosa Villada, Fake bitches (222 p.). Translated from the Spanish by Irene van de Mheen. De Bezige Bij, €23.99.


Appreciate this article!

If you appreciate this article and want to show your appreciation with a small contribution: you can! This is how you help keep independent journalism alive. Show your appreciation with a small donation!


Why donate?

We are convinced that good investigative journalism and expert background information are essential for a healthy cultural sector. There is not always space and time for that. Culture Press does want to provide that space and time, and keep it accessible to everyone for FREE! Whether you are rich, or poor. Thanks to donations From readers like you, we can continue to exist. This is how Culture Press has existed since 2009!

You can also become a member, then turn your one-off donation into lasting support!

Wijbrand Schaap

Cultural journalist since 1996. Worked as theatre critic, columnist and reporter for Algemeen Dagblad, Utrechts Nieuwsblad, Rotterdams Dagblad, Parool and regional newspapers through Associated Press Services. Interviews for TheaterMaker, Theatererkrant Magazine, Ons Erfdeel, Boekman. Podcast maker, likes to experiment with new media. Culture Press is called the brainchild I gave birth to in 2009. Life partner of Suzanne Brink roommate of Edje, Fonzie and Rufus. Search and find me on Mastodon.View Author posts

Private Membership (month)
5 / Maand
For natural persons and self-employed persons.
No annoying banners
A special newsletter
Own mastodon account
Access to our archives
Small Membership (month)
18 / Maand
For cultural institutions with a turnover/subsidy of less than €250,000 per year
No annoying banners
A premium newsletter
All our podcasts
Your own Mastodon account
Access to archives
Posting press releases yourself
Extra attention in news coverage
Large Membership (month)
36 / Maand
For cultural institutions with a turnover/subsidy of more than €250,000 per year.
No annoying banners
A special newsletter
Your own Mastodon account
Access to archives
Share press releases with our audience
Extra attention in news coverage
Premium Newsletter (substack)
5 trial subscriptions
All our podcasts

Payments are made via iDeal, Paypal, Credit Card, Bancontact or Direct Debit. If you prefer to pay manually, based on an invoice in advance, we charge a 10€ administration fee

*Only for annual membership or after 12 monthly payments

en_GBEnglish (UK)