Iván Mañero: "Female genital mutilation is an act of institutionalized macho violence"

I had the opportunity to meet the Dr. Iván Mañero, Plastic surgeon, aesthetic and repairman, a few years ago, on television. Since always, he was a standard-bearer of the fight for the defense of carrying out sex change operations.

"We talked about twenty years ago. The transsexuals, Then, they were invisible people. One day a transsexual came to my office, operated in another country, asking for help. That's when I got in touch with transsexuality and I began to see a world that I had not studied, which was not spoken either in universities, or in hospitals ... A world that I found fascinating, although hard, because there was to fight against everyone. "

Heart Including some colleagues by profession.

Iván Mañero Yes, it was tremendous to fight Goliath but, luckily, society began to normalize it.

C. How has transsexuality evolved in our country?

I. M. Much progress has been made in a short time, but I think there is still a lack of political courage at the legislative level and at the level of judges and prosecutors, to make life easier for these people. Because many are almost forced to undergo an operation to be entitled to their rights. In the last years where progress has been made the most in the children's field, a big step, because transsexuality is not something that happens after 15 or 20 years, but something that happens much earlier.

C. I do not know if that ability to empathize with a cause as complex as this was the one that awakened its solidary side ...

I. M. Solidarity is something that every human being has hidden, but it must be educated. To me, those who taught me were my parents, specifically, my mother. I come from a very humble family and I remember that my mother, who prepared me the sandwich to eat at recess, always told me: "If there is a child who does not have something to eat, divide your sandwich and give it a part. Do not eat it and give it what you have, because that is to be charitable, the other is to be supportive. " They always taught me that solidarity is something transversal, horizontal, while charity is vertical, from top to bottom. Being supportive is helping, and you end up having a radar to detect people who have problems.

C. And where there are more problems is in Africa and those who have more difficulties: children and women ...

IM In addition, children are the future and you can model it, since you, a father who has decided to genital mutilate all his daughters, it is impossible to change it, but a child can explain to him that this is not right and get his perception to vary . And women are the engine of Africa.

C. He began collaborating, closely, with the NGO AMIC (Medical Association for Children in Catalonia), to end up creating his own Foundation, the Dr. Iván Mañero Foundation, an NGO (non-governmental development organization)

I. M. In 2002, AMIC and the Iván Mañero Foundation appeared two or three years later, but they are almost the same thing. The Foundation is the one that collects the money. We work in Africa, in Guinea Bissau.

They taught me that solidarity is transversal, horizontal. while charity is vertical "

C. A country with many shortcomings ...

IM Maybe it is not the last country in the world, in terms of poverty, but it is still in line, because it is a Portuguese colony, which has had one civil war after another, which is plagued with anti-person mines ... It is a country that It has nothing, like so many, but in the end you have to focus on one. The good thing is that we work on the ground, because we are the ones who go there.

C. And how do they manage to articulate it ?, because I know that they carry out different projects in different areas such as Health, Sustainability, Children's Rights, Women and Equality ...

I. M. In the country we have a colony that houses an orphanage, a school and a hospital. They are the 3 basic areas. The people who work in the colony are from there. Women have their salary, with which the whole family lives, of about 50 euros per month. If they were men, they would spend it. They are the caretakers of the children of the orphanage, they are the teachers ... We are now giving 900 meals a day for all the children. We wanted them to have 3 meals a day, but we only got to 2. In the hospital we have nurses and nurses, to whom we pay. What we lack are doctors. That's why we go. It's not that we do not want to pay doctors, it's that there is not.

C. And, how often do they go?

I. M. We organize different groups. I go 1 or 2 times a year. We try to go outside the rainy season, between May and October, because there is no transportation, no roads and, most of the time, the sick people walk for miles and miles. Let's go little by little. I know I will not see that country out of poverty, because you can not pretend to help everyone, but you can help someone, a person, with a face and a name. In Africa, 3,000 children die every hour. That is terrifying. Then you come to your world, where everything happens very fast.

C. It must be very difficult to digest the return ...

I. M. It is, but I need to go back to cure myself from there and I need to go there to be cured from here.

Ana García Lozano with Iván Mañero. Alberto bernárdez

C. We often forget that we live in the good face of the world ...

I. M. And there is a very bad face. We were born here, but we could have done it there. It's a matter of luck. It's scary to see how the two parts of the planet are separating in an abysmal way. We are in a world in which the first cause of death, today, is the excess of food and the second not having something to eat. This is our world: half dies by excess and the other by default.

C. I know that, in addition, from her clinic IM CLINIC, she collaborates in an altruistic way with a project for the reconstruction of girls and women who have suffered female genital mutilation.

I. M. Female genital mutilation is an institutionalized act of male chauvinist violence. It is not a habit, as many people say. It is of Egyptian origin and was made, as now, so that the maidens did not have pleasure and therefore, were not infidels. It is a practice that has to disappear, but it is so ingrained, that a man does not want to go with a woman who is not mutilated. They have gotten into the mentality of people that the clitoris poisons the child at birth, or that if the woman touches her clitoris can not cook, because it would poison the food ... It becomes so perverse, that the woman mutilated, as she feels pain when walking, he ends up having a lame way of walking and that, to men, is sexy.

C. There is so much to do!

I. M. That is what I now try to teach my children. It is true that something is missing in education, in our schools, that they get medals because they have taken the PISA exam in Physics, Mathematics, or Language ... And I ask myself: where is the solidary being, care for the environment, attend to all that human part of values? My job is to educate my children, so that when they grow up they can continue to lend a hand and return to the other half, part of this world, part of the sandwich.

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