Alba Hernandez about the initiative to start a Romani Gender Expert Collective
I think it's a trick question, should we tell our different identities and personal information to someone you just met? I think it depends on different factors like the context and the conversation. For example, if I am being introduced to someone's friend, I would say my name and see how the conversation develops, I could reveal more private information about myself. On the contrary, if it is in a context of activism or political conversation, then I could talk about my ethnicity, my nationality, my age, etc. I think it depends a lot on the context.
I have always been aware of my ethnic identity as a Gitana for as long as I can remember, since I was a little girl, both at home and in all the circles where I was, I have been told that I am Gitana at home, family, school, friends, etc.
My parents have always reinforced our identity and made us feel secure about it. My father always told me that we are all different, neither better nor worse, just different and that is not negative.
I don't know if proud is the word, should I feel proud of being a woman or proud of being Spanish? I think we should self-analyze the meaning of all the identities that each one of us have, and be self-critical of everything that comes with having them, both the positive and negative factors.lAs I said before, I believe that we lack a lot of self-analysis regarding the different identities we have, and that it is a lake that requires sincerity, time and work.
I think it is very normal that people do not recognize the identities they have when they are outside of heteronormativity and whiteness for all that it entails. So the last thing I would do would be to judge or try to convert a person who does not identify as such even if from the outside it is totally visible according to our perception. On the contrary, I would try to make this person feel at ease with herself by giving her the space to define herself as she wants. Who are we to try to identify a person according to our parameters or understanding?