Argentinian trans woman recalls abuse that led her to murder family

Returning to my brother, I did not hesitate. I remember not understanding what I was doing, but I felt the rumbling of the gun shot pass through me. It was as if someone else pulled the trigger.

  • 3 years ago
  • October 12, 2021
5 min read
Marilyn Bernasconi is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence for the murder of her brother and mother. Marilyn Bernasconi is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence for the murder of her brother and mother. | Screenshot courtesy of Ciudad Negra, "Caso Marilyn"

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina ꟷ My name is Marilyn Bernasconi, but I was born Cristian Marcelo. My father alone accepted my unconventional gender identity.

Marilyn Bernasconi
Interview Subject
Marilyn Bernasconi was born on June 6, 1990 and named Cristian Marcelo. She was assigned male at birth but would eventually identify as female. Nicknamed “Marcelito” as a child, she was timid, quiet, and withdrawn.

Having served nearly half of her 25-year sentence to date, Marilyn says when she is released from prison, she plans to go to the cemetery where her family rests and ask for forgiveness. She continues to send flowers to their graves.

Marilyn says that LGBTQ+ people who are not accepted by their families often run away from home, end their lives, or choose a heterosexual existence to please the family. She says none of these paths are easy, and urges families to respect their loved ones wishes. To those suffering, she says look for someone you trust. Staying silent, she says, led her to the worst possible fate.

While in prison, Marilyn finally got what she so desperately desired: a gender change. She is now legally declared Marilyn Bernasconi.
Background Information
The award-winning feature film “Marilyn” is based upon Marilyn Bernasconi’s life and premiered in February 2018. It details the sexual awakening of a young man who identified as female in a hostile environment in rural Buenos Aires and recounts the tragic end of his family. In October 2018, the production was screened at the 68th Berlin International Film Festival.

Marilyn says the Argentinian screenwriter and director Martín Rodríguez Redondo approached her about the project. The screenwriter had many lengthy talks with Marilyn and she gave him her diary, which she called “Suffering for not being the same.” Martín wrote the script for the movie, which Marilyn says represents her life faithfully. She says creating the movie caused her to relive her worst memories and once again face the pain, regret, and grief of the deaths.

An Argentine-Chilean production, the cast included Walter Rodríguez, Catalina Saavedra, Germán de Silva, Andrew Bargsted, Ignacio Giménez, Rodolfo García Werner, Josefina Paredes, Germán Baudino, and Santos Lontoya.

At the 2018 Milan International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, “Marilyn” won the Cultweek Special Jury Award for Best Fiction Film. It also earned the Jury Award for Best Fiction Movie at the Tel Aviv International LGBT Film Festival in 2018, and actor Walter Rodriguez won the 2018 Sur Award for Best New Actor.

When he died, my brother and mother made my life impossible.

One day, out of desperation, I killed them.

An insult and an explosion of emotion

Growing up in the country, I was surrounded by loneliness. I had no friends, no games to play, and no affection in my life. My mother showed no signs of love for me and though he tried to compensate for her, my father favored my brother.

By the time I started school at the age of 6, I was shy and introverted. I found it difficult to relate to others.

When my father died, my mother and brother rejected me and tried to change me by force. I suffered brutally from their cruel words and physical blows. For two years, depression overtook me.

On an early morning in May 2009, at the age of 18, everything changed. My brother insulted my father’s memory. He called me a faggot and claimed my father died because of me.

I went blind and exploded in anger and disgust. My father’s death did not matter to them, I thought. They stopped going to the cemetery [and grieving him] a month after he died.

I knew my brother’s words were a lie, but I could not contain myself. My vision blurred, and the ground moved beneath my feet as if I were dizzy. Sounds became distant as strange sensations set in. The pain and anger caused heat to rise inside of me.

Ending the lives of my family members

I left my brother and walked to the house, 50 meters (164 feet) away. My eyes were cloudy, and the dizziness continued. I lowered my gaze but no tears fell from my eyes. In the room we all shared, behind the door, next to the closet, I found the 16-gauge shotgun.

Returning to my brother, I did not hesitate. I remember not understanding what I was doing, but I felt the rumbling of the gun shot pass through me. It was as if someone else pulled the trigger.

My brother was sitting, and in confusion, I heard him fall sideways. I returned to the house to find my mother in the kitchen. Her back was to me. I prefer not to recall that moment. It hurts too much.

With the gun in my hand, I began to run across the field. I ran until I felt a chill-like sensation throughout my body and saw myself with the gun in my hand, bathed in sweat. I dared not return to the house to see what I had done, so I dropped the gun and ran to the nearest neighbor, two kilometers (1.24 miles) away.

They heard me screaming and awoke. I lied and said someone robbed us, urging them to call the police and an ambulance. I felt they knew what happened. Those few seconds were like being in hell.

Facing the consequences of murder

In a state of shock and sensing no one believed my lie, I confessed to the murder of my brother and mother. Once convicted, the judge sentenced me to 25 years of imprisonment. I have served 12 years in prison so far.

From the moment I killed my family, I believed I should be condemned, to pay for my mistakes. Now, at 31 years old, I lost my youth to prison. Nothing positive comes from being deprived of freedom. Family, friendship, and years pass by without pain or glory.

Prison taught me true loneliness. It also taught me to value even the smallest details. As a young person, I did not know how to seek help. Looking back, I would do things differently.

With each passing year, my regret hurts more and more. The moral punishment is worse than imprisonment. It will accompany me all the days of my life.

Translation Disclaimer

Translations provided by Orato World Media are intended to result in the end translated document being understandable in the end language. Although every effort is made to ensure our translations are accurate we cannot guarantee the translation will be without errors.


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