Last Keynote Address of the “V Coloquio ¿Del Otro La’o?: Perspectivas Sobre Sexualidades Queer” (V Symposium: The Other Side?: Perspectives on Queer Sexualities)

By: Ana Portnoy Brimmer

It was a Thursday morning on March 6, 2014 when the “V Coloquio ¿Del Otro La’o?: Perspectivas Sobre Sexualidades Queer” (V Symposium: The Other Side?: Perspectives on Queer Sexualities) held its last keynote address titled “Temáticas trans, temáticas queer: a propósito de una América Latina conectada en teoría y en el día a día” (Trans themes, queer themes: in search of an interconnected Latin America in theory and in the day to day) at the Ramón Figueroa Chapel Amphitheater at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez (UPRM). The keynote speaker was Doctor in Sociology Salvador Vidal-Ortiz.

Around 50 people attended the keynote address, which Vidal-Ortiz started with a PowerPoint presentation that addressed and explained the multiple genealogies of transexual and queer theory.

The keynote speaker then spoke of the queer feminist trajectory and the women who have paved the way for it, such as Gayle Rubin and Teresa de Lauretis, and of queer activism.

Subsequently, Vidal-Ortiz shifted his focus unto the queer theory in Latin America, emphasizing the situation in Bogotá, Colombia. He spoke of the transexual women in Colombia and their turning to prostitution and sexual endeavors as ways to earn a living, of forced sexual displacement and migration, and of neoliberalism.

The sociologist also spoke of the struggles transexual women and men face with Colombia’s government and society, such as how the country is trying to carry out a sort of “social cleansing” by casting out and rejecting transexual men and women.
After Vidal-Ortiz finished his lecture, members of the audience had the opportunity to share their thoughts and opinions, ask questions, and make statements. Questions and discussions regarding job prospects and situations for transexual men and women, sexual migration, and the turning of transexual women to prostitution to make a living were brought up and examined.

Samarie Vega, UPRM student and member of the coordinating team of the colloquium, rated the keynote address as “excellent.” She appreciated his pedagogical approach: Dr. Salvador Vidal presented a topic that not many people are aware of, and presented it from an educational perspective.”

At around noon, the question and discussion session closed, and the lecture came to an end.

“The purpose of the colloquium is to educate, raise awareness, and convey a message about the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transexual Transgender Intersex Queer (LGBTTIQ) community,” explained Christie E. Torres, UPRM student and member of the coordinating team of the colloquium.

 

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Dr. Salvador Vidal-Ortiz offered the last keynote address of the “V Coloquio ¿Del Otro La’o?: Perspectivas Sobre Sexualidades Queer” (V Symposium: The Other Side?: Perspectives on Queer Sexualities).

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