Trans, Queer, What Do You Really Mean?

By, Amanda Ciani Berlingeri

On March 6, 2014, a keynote address took place at 10:30 a.m. at the Amphitheater of Chardón in the University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez. This conference held an audience of approximately 70 people listening to speaker Salvador Vidal-Ortiz talk about Trans Topics, Queer Topics: A Proposition of Latin America’s connection to theory and day to day life.

This lecture, which lasted around an hour and a half, consisted of explaining the words trans and queer, along with explaining what is going on with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transvestite, and transgender (LGBTT), community in Latin America.

Vidal-Ortiz shared a PowerPoint presentation to contrast definitions with commonly used terms to define them.

Keynote Speaker Salvador Vidal-Ortiz speaking to the audience.

Keynote Speaker Salvador Vidal-Ortiz speaking to the audience.

Carlos Vasquez, a student from the United States who has been studying
at the UPRM for the past three years, said that he had never actually known the true definition of these words, trans and queer, and he always just used them for fun and without intention. “In middle school, we would throw these words around without thinking,” said Vasquez. He was then questioned if he would be more careful in using these words now that he understands them more and he answered “Yes, because I never want to offend someone by accident.”

The discussion of the words trans and queer only took up around 30 to 40 minutes of the total presentation time; the other part of the time was used to discuss the LGBTT community in Latin America.

Vidal emphasized discussion about the Bogotrans Fashion show, which gave 8-12 transvestite men the opportunity to walk the runway in a fashion show during fashion week in New York.

This opened up a world of questions.

Another student said that she had never heard of such a thing and that the models do not even look like males. “I wish I was given that opportunity,” said Nicole Rodríguez, a UPRM student and cheerleader. She added, “it is amazing that the world of fashion has given them this opportunity.”

In total, this presentation touched on the terms ‘Trans’ and ‘Queer’ along with showing the problems with society and the LGBTT community. It showed how places have adapted to it, and even in the lecture it showed how the Latin American public is starting to change and accept the LGBTT community.

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