The veteran LGBTQ+ activist who defies statistics and dreams of becoming a centenarian


The dream of leaving her small town to see the world has been fulfilled, as she’s ventured throughout and beyond her native Brazil. Now, she has another dream: to be 100-years-old. Reaching her centnerary would be quite a feat, considering that the average life expectancy of a trans Brazilian is scarily low: most only reach the age of 35. But, on the verge of turning 58 — and given that her mother is in her 90s — Keila Simpson is optimistic. “I want to experience some of these things that I helped build in Brazil, because before, we didn’t even have the right to use our chosen names!” she recalls, during an interview with EL PAÍS. She sits on a shaded porch that protects her from the summer heat in Salvador, the capital of the northeastern state of Bahia.

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