Sonia Guiñansaca

queer migrant feminist poet, cultural organizer,
& activist

Sonia Guiñansaca

Sonia Guiñansaca is a femme queer Ecuadorian NY'er, poet, and a community social justice organizer who is committed to celebrating and empowering women of color. Their mission in life is to liberate, to constantly challenge the gaze, to fight for freedom, to live and to love, and not leave anyone behind. 

How does your identity translate through the way that you dress?

Andre Lorde once said "If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive," and I apply this to my presentation, the way I adorn my body, the way I dress. I am a migrant queer femme women of color poet. When the whole country is telling me not to exist, when my whole existence is questioned, I say fuck that and wear my bright purple lipstick that matches my purple pastel hair streak.

Fuck respectability politics, and fuck femme bashing. I gained this courage in dressing from my mother. Till this day, when ever I get a chance I watch her pick her clothes out for the day. I sit at the edge of the bed, and watch her apply her mascara, and how eloquently she puts on her hoop earrings. This is her ritual, this is how she exists, this is how she chooses to walk out the door and define herself. Being formally undocumented  the smallest decision and choice is an act of rebellion and existence. 20 years of being undocumented leaves you craving for home, and for me right now home is in my clothes, is in my body, is in the colors and textures I adorn my body with. Being a NY of course I wear the black clothes with a statement peace necklace but I also wear bright colors and patterns, it's about taking up space and defining my self. +

If there is one thing you could change about the world, what would it be and why?

Tough question for an activist. What isn't there about the world that I wouldn't change. Because I do not want to place my western experience on other countries I will stick to answering this question in reference to the United States. One of the projects that I am working is at the intersection of the prison system industrial complex and detention centers and who is mostly impacted by these inhumane systems and injustice. If I could change things today I would release the millions of Black & Brown women/children/queer/trans people currently in prison and detention centers. 

What is one thing you would like to share with others about your culture?

I am part of many cultures since I am Ecuadorian, a NY'er, queer, femme, etc...I also produce culture as an artist. If I were to focus on my Ecuadorian culture & heritage I would like to share the connection many indigenous communities have to Earth, the land, and nature. I've been doing work around climate justice , and one thing that I always come across is the assumption that being "green" is new to communities of color. White mainstream groups did not find eco-friendly living styles, my people have been doing that for years. We were "green" before "green" was cool and before it was purchasable in Whole Foods. 

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Photographs courtesy of Sonia Guiñansaca.