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Identical trans twins share powerful story of acceptance after growing up in ‘most transphobic country in the world’

Maggie Baska February 24, 2021
Mayla Rezende Sofia Albuquerck trans twins Brazil

Growing up as identical twins, Mayla Rezende (L) and Sofia Albuquerck (R) always did everything together, and their decision to undergo sex reassignment surgery is no exception. (Photo by AFP/Mayla Rezende/Sofia Albuquerck via Getty Images)

Identical trans twins Mayla Rezende and Sofia Albuquerck have shared their heartwarming story after they both made the transition they long dreamed of together.

The 19-year-old twins, who grew up in a small town in southeastern Brazil, underwent gender affirmation surgery together in what their doctor calls a world first.

The five-hour-long surgery was performed on the twins just a day apart by Dr Jose Carlos Martins of the Transgender Center Brazil, a clinic in the southeastern city of Blumenau.

“This is the only reported case in the world of twins who were presumed to be male at birth undergoing female gender confirmation surgery together,” Dr Martins said.

Just a week later, the happy women shared their emotional journey in a video interview with AFP. Rezende, who is studying medicine in Argentina, shared how she had “always loved my body, but I didn’t like my genitalia”.

“I would blow dandelion seeds into the air and wish for God to turn me into a girl,” Rezende said. She said she cried when she saw herself after her surgery.

Trans twins live in ‘the most transphobic place in the world’

Albuquerck, who is studying civil engineering in São Paulo, explained how the pair “live in the most transphobic country in the world”, Brazil.

Rezende said their parents “weren’t afraid of what we were” but were “afraid that people would mistreat us”. She said she is “proud to be a trans woman” but wishes for more acceptance from the wider community.

“I’ve lived in fear of society for too long,” Rezende said. “Now I’m asking for respect.”

There were 175 trans people murdered in Brazil last year, according to the National Association of Transvestites and Transsexuals (Antra).

In an interview with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, Bruna Benevides, a trans activist and part of Antra, said the “death of trans people” “starts long before the trigger is pulled.

“It’s in the insults, the evictions from home, the lack of job opportunities, it’s at school where gender is never discussed,” she said.

“Always girls” to their mother

Rezende and Albuquerck told AFP they still bear the emotional scars of their childhoods, but they felt like they had always been accepted by their family. Their mother, Mara Lucia da Silva, said she didn’t “even remember thinking of them as boys”.

She said: “In my heart, I always knew they were girls and that they were suffering.

“I’m upset with myself for never giving them a doll or a dress, for not making them happier when they were girls.”

But Rezende said her mother was “like a lioness” because “she always protected us fiercely”.

More: Brazil, Trans

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