My name is
Actor / Playwright / Author / Model / Educator
Naja ni Xemi
Yek tunal! Nutukay Petrona Xemi Tapepechul. Naja ni Xemi. Naja se siwayul pal Kuskatan. Nimulini tik Kuskatan. Naja nunan timulini tik Kuskatan. Naja nunoya timulini tik Ulukwilta, wan ne munan ipal nunoya timulini tik Tzakatekuluka. Naja nuteku ne takat mestizo-sefardi timulini tik Kuskatan. Tuiknewan timulinit tik Uselutan wan Morazan. Naja ni mumachtiani ipal Nawat.
Good day! My name is Petrona Xemi Tapepechul. You can call me Xemi. I am a Two-Spirit Transgender Womxn from Kuskatan, the land known internationally as El Salvador. I was born in Mejicanos, San Salvador. My mother was born in San Salvador. My grandmother was born in Olocuilta, and my grandmother's mother was born in Zacatecoluca. My father is a Mestizo-Sefardi man born in San Salvador. His family is from Usulutan and Morazan. I am a Nawat language student.
I'm an Actor:
trained at the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts, and has been featured on various DC Theatre productions, including Angel Rose Artist Collective's The Cosmic Twins, Protect & Preserve, and Siwayul (Heart of a Womxn), a group I founded in 2015, and which I represent as the Artistic Director.
I'm a Playwright:
who has had my original plays produced at theater festivals across the country, including: New Native Theatre's National Native American Ten Minute Play Festival; NextStop Theatre Company's DarkNights Festival; DC Queer Theatre Festival; Kennedy Center's Page-to-Stage Festival; and the DC Black Theatre & Arts Festival.
I'm an Author:
of 2 published theatrical play scripts, and 2 published poetry books, including the Lambda Literary Award Nominee for Bisexual Poetry, My Woman Card is anti-Native & Two-Spirit Truths.
I'm a Model:
and a #DovePartner that participated in Project #ShowUs, a worldwide beauty diversity campaign by Girlgaze, Dove, and Getty Images.
I'm a Language Worker & Aspiring Polyglot:
who interprets & translates Spanish & English professionally, and studies various oral and signed languages, including Nawat and Salvadoran Sign Language, two languages found only in El Salvador that are considered "at risk". I also study American Sign Language and Munsee-Lunaape, and have plans to study Sai i Putum (Salvadoran Lenca) in the near future as a way to honor my Eastern Salvadoran heritage.
I'm an Educator:
certified as a Paraeducator (Praxis® ParaPro Score: 480), who facilitates workshops & appears on panels on healing through the arts, Indigenous & Transgender Justice, Two-Spirit Sovereignty, and more at various institutions and organizations including: Allied Media Conference; National LGBTQ Task Force's Creating Change Conference; University of Maryland- College Park; George Washington University; Northern Virginia Community College; the Melanin Collective DC, Equality Virginia; Human Rights Campaign; the DC Center for LGBT Community; OutWrite LGBT Book Festival; Girls Rock! DC; and many more.
I'm an Award Winner:
2018 Champion of the Ask Rayceen Show Annual Poetry Slam Competition; 2018 "Hispanic Heritage Legacy Award" from the Latino GLBT History Project; 2019 "40 Under 40: Queer Women of Washington" by the DC Mayor's Office of LGBTQ Affairs, the DC Mayor's Office of Women's Initiatives, and the Washington Blade; and the 2019 Engendered Spirit Award from the Capitol Pride Alliance.