Book of the Month: Transformista
The Human Library has local Book Depots spread out around the world. A few are in South America and one of them is in Lima, Peru. This is where we publish Jonathan, or as you will discover, Samantha. She has been a part of the Human Library since 2017.
Jonathan, also known as Samantha Braxton, publishes as the topic “Transformista” – also equivalent to “Crossdresser”. It all started at Halloween 17 years ago, in 2005, when Samantha first came to life. “I am a big fan of pop music, especially Madonna and Britney”, Samantha says, so she decided to go as Madonna, “Halloween is the perfect moment to be in disguise” she adds. The following years Jonathan repeated the experience, and this was how Samantha was first introduced to the world.
Soon she was discovered by people in the creative industries and started singing and dancing in clubs, then moved to making social help videos and sharing her story online and quickly found recognition. She then joined the Human Library: “I always knew Samantha was a character that was going to challenge boundaries, inspire, and make people feel good”.
Joining the Human Library
Samantha joined the Human Library after she participated in an exhibition called “Intolerancia” at a local gallery. One of the Librarians from the Lima Book Depot saw it and reached out to Sam. “I had just come out of a bad relationship with an abusive boyfriend who did not accept Samantha” she says, and then the Human Library invitation came along: “And it was an important time for me to share my story and feel like myself”.
Even though Samantha is real, you can’t see her every day, “You are not going to see her drinking a cup of coffee or see her dating. She has no life. And that is the magic of Samantha”, Jonathan says and adds, “I am the one giving life to Samantha”. She is created to inspire people and make people feel good: “I feel great about myself every time I tell my story at Human Library events”.
Helping expand readers perspective
“When I am published I feel like I get to experience how my readers erase the image they had in their mind”, she states. Many of her readers have been gay and lesbian and often they have not been openly out of the closet to their friends and family, and so they have come for advice and for insight into her journey.
“My friends have always supported me, but at first my parents thought I had a fever when I told them about Samantha”, now Jonathan’s parents are actively helping with Samantha and are big supporters: “That is the best feeling”.
Samantha is grateful to be a part of the Human Library Lima Depot. One of the things she highlights is that they are a strong group, “Many of the books and librarians have known each other for years now”. She hopes to help inspire readers and open their minds: “I am happy that I get to help educate people”.
Follow the work of the Human Library Peru for an opportunity to read Samantha.