Today is International Transgender Day of Visibility. In the spirit of this event, we would like to honor the late Marinka, Queen of the Amazons, who made herself visible when she came out as transgender in her autobiography titled Marinka, from Havana to Burlesque.
Born and raised in Cuba, Marinka, “Queen of the Amazons” (January 6, 1940- February 16, 2021), began performing drag and burlesque in the early 1960s in New York City. Over the course of her long career, Marinka worked with and received guidance from some of the great legends of the burlesque world, including Ann Corio and Libby Jones. Early in her career, she was mentored by the great Rose La Rose, who gave Marinka her signature move of “love the curtains.” She worked throughout the United States and internationally in South America, the Middle East, Europe, and Canada. In 1979, Marinka appeared in Bob Fosse’s All That Jazz. Marinka moved to Las Vegas in 2004, and performed numerous times at the Burlesque Hall of Fame’s annual Weekender.
In her own words, “I want to tell my story for people to both enjoy and to also learn who I am. I am not just a woman wearing makeup, beads and feathers. Inside is a human full of emotions and concerns for others. My empathy for people who feel like me is the force that pushed me to write this book… I truly want my friends who never knew that I was born different, to know that I am the same person and I love them. The decision to ‘tell all’ was not easy. But I want to live the rest of my life at peace, no longer having to quiet the voice that has always wanted to cry out!”
Read her book to learn more about this stunning figure in burlesque history! Order a copy at MarinkaBook.Com. (And check out Marinka in her short book commercial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hd_NM11P_o)
We honor Marinka’s life and her exceptional bravery. Marinka was 80 years old when she shared her truth, showing us that it is never too late to tell your story, if you so choose.
For those of us from younger generations, it can be hard to grasp just how dangerous and deadly it was in those times for transgender and gender diverse people, especially for immigrants and BIPOC trans women.
We extend honor and gratitude to all of our transgender Legends and performers, today and always. Whether you are able to be visible or not, you are still valid.
We see you and we honor you.
Happy Transgender Day of Visibility!
(Thank you to Alexander the Great and the rest of our Gender Equality Committee for composing this message.)
Susan Howe says:May 15, 2022 at 11:31 am
Marika is my aunt and I would love to get in touch with her if she is still alive I live in Deerfield Beach Florida she’s family and she has many nieces and nephews and Grand nieces and Grand nephews tell her we have family through Irene please
Burlesque Hall of Fame says:June 14, 2022 at 4:08 pm
I’m sorry to say that Marinka passed away in February 2021. You can see our announcement at the time on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/theburlesquehall/posts/pfbid02y2BUziqfLwwoKsK4sG5naoQ87SpkeAur36XH1fZvEvQSaqdQcPdvZg7A4wJ8H3hvl
She is greatly missed!