Updated: Oct 24, 2019
When Cecile came to Gozo and bought the house next door to us 1990, she was an enigma to the neighborhood. She hung out with gays and trans people of the era, when they were largely marginalized.
She was the original maltese fag hag. To our very gozitan and conservative niegbourhood, a well mannered and soft spoken free woman was surely no one we had ever met before, let alone lived amongst. Disney’s The little Mermaid had just been released and she personified Ursula perfectly. Down the alley that she lived in, was the alley of the poor unfortunate souls.
I met the first trans person through Cecile and asked her if she was a boy or a girl. My mum slapped me, but with the wit and knowledge she educated us and told introduced Amanda to us. She educated my parents, and the whole street, and the whole of Gozo about LGBTIQ issues before the word existed. She did more than we will ever know and for this I am so grateful.
It was through her that I got to know the older LGBT maltese history of the Natasha days. Cecile also nursed people with AIDS in her house when their family kicked them out, but it was something she also kept a secret because of the huge stigma that still exists today.
More than anything, Cecile saw the humanity in everyone before before their sexual preference.
Written by Marvic Camilleri