Today I want to write about a camp called Aranu’tiq, a program that is serving trans & gender variant youth and their families.
When I discovered about it I thought it was a magnificent idea. According to their website, Aranu’tiq was founded in 2009 by Nick Teich, who dreamed of a safe and fun place for youth “who felt like they might not fit in at other camps because of their gender and/or who wanted to be with others like them”.
The first camp launched in 2010 and in 2015 they have opened they very own camp, proving that there was a potential target and also a necessity to these types of camps. Camp Aranu’tiq has three types of programs, two divided by ages and one family camp.
I discovered it thanks to a video on youtube about a transgender kid called Alex that composed a beautiful rap about when he told his mum about his inner feelings and thoughts. It truly touched me when he sings phrases like:
“So I was just a little kid about seven or eight,
And I had something to say that could no longer wait.
So I went to my mum that hot day in July,
With a hope on my heart and a tear in my eye.
Basically, I said “This girl is your son…
And I’ve always felt this way and it hasn’t been fun”.
In the video, you can see him accompanied by three other children and a big chorus of parents and relatives clapping while the song is being played. Can you imagine it?
I don’t know if this was your case, but I was quite bullied at school for being and acting slightly different from the other guys. So I can imagine how difficult can be for a transgender in their youth to go to school some times and be criticised and how much good a camp like this can do to their lives.
If I had some hard times… what’s for them?
According to some researches, an estimated 2% to 5% of the population is transgender (experience some degree of gender dysphoria), but the number of people who identify as transsexual and undergo sex-reassignment is much smaller.
For example, recent statistics from the Netherlands pointed out that about 1 in 12,000 natal males undergo sex-reassignment and about 1 in 34,000 natal females.
Although in many societies transgenders are more accepted than before… there’s a still a long way to go.
A nationwide survey of bias-motivated violence against LGBT people from 1985 to 1998 found that incidents targeting transgender people accounted for 20% of all murders and about 40% of all police-initiated violence.
I once made an article about transsexuals in Ecuador that used to work as prostitutes in the capital, Quito. I spent a night with them, and while interviewing these brave women that had to work the streets for money, many cars passed by to insult them and even throw them glass bottles. A month before, one of the girls –some were teenagers from small towns round Quito that had escaped from a family that couldn’t understand their feelings- had been murdered.
And recently, I read this bizarre story about this Australian chef that had married a transgender girl from Indonesia and he killed her and cooked her.
With stuff like this going on, it’s completely logical to applause initiatives like Camp Aranu’tiq.
They are a necessity for kids who need some support and some relief. Because childhood can be a marvelous time, but also a very difficult and complicated.
Thanks to the creators of this project and I truly hope that in a short time programs like this one will exist in any part of the world.
I leave you with the link of the little Alex rapping: