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Yuki Kihara is a global sensation. “Paradise Camp,” the Sāmoan-Japanese artist’s latest exhibition, premiered to critical acclaim as New Zealand’s representation for this year’s Venice Biennale.


I vividly remember 13-year-old me, a tiny, effeminate, bespectacled young individual born and raised in a poor community that I now call a refugee camp, a place called Lavender Hill, hidden behind Huri ǂOaxa or Table Mountain, a place where no one was supposed to live. Our ancestors didn’t live on these dry sand lands.


Gender as a concept was developed by the feminist anthropologist Gayle Rubin in 1975 and became a category of analysis of feminist theory to explain how inequality between men and women is a cultural construction that takes shape through gender roles. From feminist theory, gender as a category of feminist analysis has been important to highlight and understand how the structure of patriarchal domination has legitimized relations of domination of men over women, and the subordination of women to men.


In Acatlán, Mexico, when someone dies, a blessed palm is reserved for Holy Week that will be used both for the shoes that the dead person will wear in the coffin, and to make a cross that will be placed in their hands. Before their death, people choose the clothes they want to wear to the grave. Inside the coffin is a small amphora that is filled with water, a handful of corn or bread, and a good amount of clothing that they wore in life. Food is prepared for the vigil, which can be atole or coffee and bread.


Shania Sontariakon/Sandoval-Cross, 26, is Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) from Kahnawà:ke, Canada and Afro-Maya from Axaja, Guatemala. They were born and raised in unceded xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, and Sel̓íl̓witulh territory by strong Mohawk matriarchs and political refugees with predominantly Latin American and diasporic Asian communities. They have been working with Indigenous youth for more than 10 years, dedicating their work to creating and maintaining safe spaces for Indigenous Two-Spirit and Queer youth.


The debate around gender equity was not initiated solely in the West. Among Indigenous Andean Peoples, the Kichwa hold their own concepts that explore feminine and masculine energies and gender roles—principles that are challenged by the widespread internalization of colonialism and Christianity by many Indigenous communities.


BECAUSE OF MY GENDER, I hope the outside world is soft with me every day. Because of my gender, I view the world with pessimism and despair. Because of my gender, I cannot exist outside of certain boundaries. Because of my gender, I may never return home. Because of my gender, violence upon me is normalized. Because of my gender, my truth isn’t the truth. Because of my gender, I will go through insurmountable barriers just trying to exist. Because of my gender, I am sexualized from an early age


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