by: Rolando Matias and Ashley Martinez
The 29th of November was the date for an event coordinated by Colectivo [QUEER] Sin Nombre that took place in the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez campus (UPRM) in front of the Chardon building. “Viva la diversidad” was the name of the event, which translated to English means “Long live diversity” and the purpose of the activity was “to create a conscience on the students that everybody should accept people on how they are and not what we want them to be” said the active coordinator, Luis Omar García.
“Faced with such vision of history and prehistory, myths, half-truths, or to both blow my quarters, I saw the light of two words I picked up the shade, “animal triste”, recited a young woman named Angelia Rivera, who start the activity. The poem recited by memory and performed with great enthusiasm was written by Angela María Dávila, which was a feminist poet iof the 70s. Also, other students of the Department of Hispanic Studies at UPRM were presenting some of their works, particularly poetry, as Raquel Salas-Rivera.
Raquel Salas-Rivera is a young woman that born in Mayaguez. She started writing at the age of 12 with great passion and pleasure, owing these feelings into poetry his teacher Langston Hughes, who taught him while she was living in the U.S. Upon returning to Puerto Rico began to publish his poems, which can be found in his book which she recited “Caneca de Anhelos Tibios”.
At the end of each poem recited by Raquel and Angelia, the crowd applauded and handing whispers within each others. But, it was not the same with Lajoice, a transvestite.
This young man had his life transformed since he started being an active transvestite. He has been an inspiration to others like him. Others that think that the society’s judgment is enough to shut the minds of everyone see a revealing light of self-expression within Lajoice, and this creates a certain confidence in them.
Lajoice joined the stage and perform a couple of songs doing the voice-over to the songs: “Gypsy”, by Shakira , “Loca por mi tigre”, another song by Shakira, and lastly a song by Lady Gaga. After his participation, there was very little applause and it was not received with much enthusiasm as the declamations of the other students.
After his performance, Angelía took over again to recite a final poem before giving out a chance for the public to come up to the microphone to express their thoughts. No one stood up to say anything, and there can be a lot of reasons.
The event lacked of publicity. It was not announced as other activities that the same collective has organized. But, it might have been because of the poor organization of the activity.
The event did not start at the time planned too; there was a delay of 30 minutes, and maybe that was the reason why the activity was not very crowded. However, there were always people who came and sat on the floor in front of Chardon to be part of the activity.
When we attended to the event, we thought that it would be a lot of participations and, as the name of the activity, it would be diversity of people of the community of lesbians, gay, bisexuals and transgender. There were two poets of UPRM and the transvestite Lajoice, who is student from the Catholic University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus, being accompanied by two students from his same university; but we expect more.
After the event ended we interviewed Salas-Rivera, and talk about her poems. “My poems are meant to reach anyone who reads it with the purpose of creating conscience on how the homosexuals are treated, and how we, as a community, can change this injustice”, said Salas-Rivera.
“People should not be judged for how they act or what they do, people are not born gay, they are born human”, said Luis Omar Garcia when we interviewed him as the coordinator of the activity. A great truth that the society should know and understand before judged people.
The March for Equality in Diversity arises from a murder that was not classified ass a hate crime, according to one of the students that led the activity, “Desclosetea’o” on Tuesday, October 18. With this activity the collective want to fight against ideals that the society has implanted in people and prove that it can be equity in the diversity.Although the activity was not effect as it should be, it is possible that this activity helped to promote the next activities of the Colectivo [QUEER] Sin Nombre. Chardon wall was full of posters announcing upcoming events that they will be doing soon. Colectivo [QUEER] Sin Nombre is organizating the March for Equality in Diversity.
It is good to know that there are many other activities which help create security within the gender oppressed, it helps them come “out of the closet” if one may say. It’s a great way of communicating the university that they are not alone and that they do not have to be afraid because it is something normal within society.
Activities and events like this one motivates to young students that do not know what to do with their sexual orientations. This helps them to break into the society and change the way the people accept or not the different genders.
Certainly, the society has changed from being so strict that even being gay was punishable, to being very understanding and even helping these people who really need a lot of support. Probably the main reason that society is being more comprehensive these days might be that we all grow up seeing this type of events, and acceptance to anyone and how they wish to be. It is great for anyone to be part of this era which gets the privilege of seeing first hand these changes and eradication of gender abuse. There is still some road to be taken to completely abolish the gender oppression, but we are gradually getting close to that goal.