Family Myths

By: Jaime G. Rodríguez Canabal

From March 4 through 6 the University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez hosted the V Coloquio¿Del otro La’o? : Perspectivas sobre Sexualidades Queer (From the Other Side: Perspectives on Queer Sexualities)  , which included a roundtable discussion titled “Queeriando” La Familia:” Confrontando el mito de Mamá y Papá.”

Writer, Yolanda Arroyo Pizarro, Sharina Ferrer, activist,  Zulnette García Ramos, activist and Elga García Casilla participated in the panel, which was moderated by Jocelyn Géliga Vargas and attended by around 90 people.

The table had four panelists named: In the panel the participants

Géliga started the panel with a brief introduction of the panelists and talking about the topic the panelist will be presenting or talking of during the evening.     Zulnette García, former student of UPRM in psychology and an LGBTT activist, ended up her studies at the University of Puerto Rico- Río Piedras. She is a new mom of two kids whom she is adopting with her partner, panelist Elga García.

García thought that she was heterosexual up to her bachelor’s degree. After her bachelor degree she started noticing she was lesbian. When she was asked of her family, she said she did not come from a traditional family because she was raised by her grandmother and mother who were “macheteras”and revolutionaries.

García also talked about the process of adoption, which was the first time she felt the pressure of the heteronormativity, because she thought that she would not get the adoption because her couplepartner was a woman. She did not want to tell she was a lesbian. Also when Zully and Elga picked up the kids from the Department of the Family she felt again that pressure because the girl they adopted asked if Elga was Zully’s sister.

The second to present was Shariana Ferrer who identifies as queer rather than lesbian, because she considers it as a political attitude. Meanwhile, Yolanda Arroyo mentioned that her family was not a “raditional” family and that when she told her daughter of her sexuality her daughter said she was ok with it as long as she does not kiss a woman in front of her.

The last to present was Elga García Casillas, García’s partner and mother of Rey and his sister. She identified as a “pure lesbian.” It took her time to identify herself because she was really involved in church, but when she finally decided to tell her family of her sexuality they spent three years without talking. Her family is a big traditional family and she never wanted to be a mother because she felft she was already mothering other minors in her family.

However, a boy living in a foster home near their house started visiting them regularly. Then they started helping this kid until one day he came with a book and showed it to García Casilla and after talking about the book he told García Casillathat he wished she adopted him. After García Casilla mentioned that the public and the moderator started crying and got all emotional. García Casilla told García Ramos and then they began with the adoption process. García Casilla said she never felt discrimination from the department.

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A woman from the audience asking the panelists.

Later in an interview Zully said that kids do not have prejudice that it is taught to them by adults. Elga said that the first time she talked to her family after the three years was because a letter her dad sent her with a key. The letter said “The house door had to be replaced because of termites and the lock was changed as well. Here you have the key to your house, because this is still your house.”

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