“Vejo pouca ação depois do meu discurso”, comenta TransCanábica, sobre a inclusão no mercado - Squadafum

“I see little action after my speech”, comments TransCanábica, about inclusion in the market

Lívia Oliveira, a black trans woman, talks about inclusion in the cannabis market for the Squadafum column during Black Consciousness Week

Marijuana emerged as a medicine for Lívia about ten years ago, during her process of self-identification of gender and sexuality. She, who already suffered prejudice and discrimination in practically every environment, including at home, found cannabis as a refuge from so many difficulties.

“Cannabis was a relief from all the suffering I felt. She gave me a feeling of tranquility, peace and happiness, which were not common in my life”, he explains. I watched a report on Fantástico showing that there were already stores and people working with marijuana in Uruguay and that became a big dream”, comments Lívia.

At this stage, she sought shelter at an LGBTQIAP+ NGO. What Lívia didn't expect was to suffer prejudice in a place that was supposed to be a safe haven. The hypermarginalization that trans and black people suffer became an even deeper problem for her, due to the use of marijuana:

“I became coordinator of this NGO, but then I was expelled for being a marijuana addict. They said I wasn’t a good example for other young people and I couldn’t be in charge of the coordination”, says Lívia.

The negative experience was the driving force behind Lívia becoming Transcanábica, as it is known today, the first trans woman cannabis consultant in Brazil. From then on, she began to get closer to activists in favor of legalization and started attending ACuCa (Associação Cultural Canábica de São Paulo).

In contact with this new universe, Lívia discovered the possibilities of specialization and work in the cannabis sector in Brazil, something that, for her, still seemed like a distant dream. Today, despite having a degree in cannabis consultancy, she still encounters several difficulties in getting a job.

Inclusion in the cannabis market: the reflection of a structural problem

Transcanábica explains that, as in all other markets, there is still a lack of inclusion in the cannabis sector in Brazil. Although there is welcome, receptivity, invitations to events and space to debate the agenda, there is still a lack of effective actions on the part of companies:

“I feel welcomed, people like what I say, they stop to listen to me, they think it's necessary, but I see little action after my speech. It's not enough to just applaud me on stage, we need to be represented in all companies. We are also part of society, we pay taxes and have the right to be part of the job market”, comments Lívia.

The scarcity of data on the cannabis sector, with a specific focus on black and trans people, led Transcanábica to collect some numbers about the market. According to his research, carried out on Linkedin, of 31 companies in the sector, 16 of them do not have any black employees and only 3 of the companies have black people in leadership positions. As for transsexuals, she is the only woman and there is only 1 trans man on the market. Despite following the evolution of the cannabis market in Brazil for approximately ten years, Lívia does not feel that these transformations are reaching her.

“I'm the first trans cannabis consultant and the only one who can't make a living from it. To this day, I have never received a job offer with an employment contract, to receive a fixed salary, for example.”

Around 90% of the trans and transvestite population in Brazil has prostitution as their main source of income, according to data from ANTRA (National Association of Transvestites and Transsexuals). For Lívia, the inclusion of trans and black people in the job market can change rates of poverty, misery, unemployment and death.

“Have you ever thought about having financial stability and being able to survive in a country where our life expectancy is 35 years for white trans people and 28 for black trans people? Opportunities to work outside of prostitution allow us to have a longer life expectancy, just look at the impact, right?” comments Lívia.

Even facing difficulties, Transcanábica believes that the situation tends to improve and that companies are paying more attention to the issue. She believes that having a successful trajectory is essential to inspire other trans and black people to enter the market.

“It's really crazy to see that black people are hyper-inserted into the illegal marijuana market — which leads to prison or death — while there is a legalized market, and this market is mostly led by white people,” adds Lívia.

Text: Bianca Rodrigues / @biancarodriguess

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