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Video of Lecture: Revolutionary Transitions: A lecture about Irina Echeverría Gaitán by Rob Franco, PhD

Updated at November 10, 2020

Born in 1965 to Communist parents, the transgender and disability rights activist Echeverría Gaitán was a child of the Mexican counterculture and leftist movements that emerged in the wake of the Cuban Revolution. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, Echeverría Gaitán participated in leftist organizations and guerrilla struggles throughout her life. Bearing a striking resemblance to Ernesto “Che” Guevara, Echeverría Gaitán modeled herself after Che Guevara’s “New Man” in her youth and traveled to Moscow, Nicaragua, and Cuba on solidarity missions and for political education. At age 34, she began her transition from a man to a woman, adding a new layer of defiance to her militancy. This lecture examines the life of Echeverría Gaitán, pieced together from interviews, her 2008 testimonio (testimonial text) titled Carta a mi padre (Letter to My Father), and a 2011 documentary Morir de pie (Die Standing) asking questions about politics, disability and trans life.