Racial Issues Testimony

By: Jaime G. Rodríguez Canabal

Four LGBTT panelists presented their opinions and testimony of racisms and discrimination regarding their identities and the dogma of the heteronormativity on March 4, 2014 at the University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez. They presented in the Amphitheater Ramón Figueroa Chapel, of the Chardón building in UPRM. The presentation started at 9:25am with Jocelyn Géliga Vargas as moderator. She presented the four panelists with a brief description of them and then she introduced the topics. More than 50 people attended the event

The first panelist was Yolanda Arroyo Pizarro, a writer who gives herself the title of lesbo-terrorist and has written fiction and prose. Her most recent work is “Violeta,” a novel.

Arroyo Pizarro said that she always new she liked girls. “I was heterosexual for about 10 minutes,” she said jokingly. When she started noticing that she liked girls, she started calling herself sexually curious or bi-curious. Her first serious relationship was with a woman, when she was 15 and it lasted until she was 24, which was when she met a man she fell in love with and got married. She had a daughter and years later she got divorced and went back in a relationship with her first girlfriend. In terms of race she did not like when others called her “negrita”, she used to say she was “bone white.”

The second panelist was professional boxer Orlando “Fenómeno” Cruz, who started boxing at the age of seven. He said he had his girlfriends, but that he felt that something was not right in those relationships. At age 18, in the Olympic Games, he started noticing he liked men. The first person he talked to about his sexual preference was his mom, “my best friend,” he said.

Cruz then e moved to New Jersey and went to a psychologist for two to three years. After he publicly came out as gay in 2012 some of his fights were canceled because of his sexuality. He has kept fighting in the ring and often fighting for his rights outside of the ring. He retold a recent experience in Guavate, Puerto Rico, in which a man tried to attack him because he was gay.

The next panelist was Dania García Lebrón, a UPRM Magna Cum Laude psychology major who identifies as black. She said her mom straightened her hair when she was four and that she always felt different from other girls. She used to play volleyball because she felt more secure, but her mom wanted her to be a model. She participated of the 2010 University of Puerto Rico student strike. Also she said that the black people are identified with poverty. In addition, she was once told in Washington, DC that she was not black, but Latins which confused and impacted her.

The last panelist was Toi Scott, an African -American transgender man. She said she knew she was a lesbian when she was 3 or 4 and that she suffered a lot and got bullied for that. First she went to an all black history school to learn from her history. While she was growing up her parents changed her to a “white folks school” and that was shocking for her. She always saw herself as a boy.


5 colo

The members of the roundtable discussion on race and sexuality at the V Coloquio del Otro La’o at UPRM.





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