Fact Or Fiction: Exploring Alternative Queer Identities

By: Stephanie M. Fuentes Álvarez


       Asexuality. Pansexuality. Polyamory. Monogamy.

       These four alternative queer identities were discussed on Wednesday March 5 at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez’s “V Coloquio ¿Del Otro La’o?” Perspectivas Sobre Sexualidades ‘Queer’” in a roundtable, presented by the UPRM’s Gay-Straight Alliance chapter.

       The Coloquio proposed, according to the weblog of the Dean Of Arts and Sciences (Decanoarci.com), “an important dialogue and debate about the different dimensions of the LGBT community.” The GSA roundtable had its fair share of dialogue and debate, as it requested and required active audience participation throughout the session.


More students than the conference room was equipped to hold attended the presentation.


Many times attending conferences is a very one-sided experience that leads to the interest straying away from the topic being discussed. The dynamic we chose was there to captivate the attention and motivate the listeners to interact with us,” said Vashti Tacoronte, one of the members of the GSA conducting the roundtable. 

       Denisse Echevarría, president and founder of the UPRM’s GSA chapter asked, alongside the final panelist Steven Ramos, questions such as “Is asexuality real?” and “Is a polyamorous relationship possible?” and then had the audience give their opinions. Armed with only the knowledge they had acquired in their own personal lives, the audience began their quest to try to find adequate answers.

       The panelists’ approach proved risky. After they posed their first question, the audience, which had already filled up all three long tables in the conference room and was also standing in the back or sitting on the floor, argued that the lack of explanations from the facilitators wouldn’t allow them to give educated responses.

       GSA members confirmed that that was the point of the session: “We did not intent to be viewed as supreme knowledgeable creatures whose word was law,” explained Tacoronte. Comments, opinions, remarks, and questions flew in from all sides of the conference room, and the responses – many of which resulted in laughter – came to each one.

       The panelists were able to get attendees to comment one at a time, largely due in part to their constant humor and quirky style of exposition. Some of the participants became excited, while others left the room.

       However, many remained and engaged in discussions about asexuality, pansexuality, comparisons between gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans* identities and the relationships that those who identify as such develop. Discussion about labels and how much they truly defined a person’s actions toward a relationship, and the difficulties faced in a polyamorous relationship were talked about in the hour-and-a-half-long panel.

       At the end, consensus was reached in some areas. First, that asexuality was in fact a real sexual identity and not a choice. Second, that pansexuality did have its differences from bisexuality, and third, that whether it was a monogamous or a polyamorous relationship, a level of maturity was indispensable.

       “How many in the audience would genuinely give a polyamorous relationship a try?” asked Echevarría towards the end of the session. Quite a few hands were raised.

       A woman in the audience commented, “Sure, just walk down the street with two girlfriends!” and laughter ensued.



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