Angel J. Vega
On March 4, 2014 at the University of Puerto Rico- Mayagüez, Pedro Peters Maldonado, councilperson of the municipality of San JuanPuerto Rico, and José Toro Alfonso, clinical psychologist, professor and researcher in the Department of Psychology at the UPR – Río Piedras, defended homosexuals’ rights and their capabilities to take on any governmental tasks. They also discussed the difficulties that queer people or their defenders face when talking from the inside the government to the people.
At the Coloquio Del Otro La’o event, Peters Maldonado, an “out” gay man, started his discussion with a very specified topic: “ Now I am going to talk about how difficult it is to go inside the stomach of a political party.” Peters went on to tell his story inside thegovernment. Everything on the government went right except when he declared that he was homosexual. From that point Peters decided to fight for gay rights and stop the government from eliminating or hiding their opinions.
Maldonado also talked about how many times he tried to talk to the people but the government didn’t give him the space because they were protecting themselves and their votes. One morning Peters decided that it was the right time for his retirement when “CarmenYulin” was the elected candidate for the mayor post in San Juan. But for his surprise, Yulín was looking forward to defending gay rights with his help.
With the help of Yulín and the people of San Juan, Peters is actually one of the most famous defenders of gay rights inside the government of Puerto Rico. In his interventions at the V Coloquio Del Otro La’o he encouraged people to make a difference and join this struggle.
The second part of the conference featured psychologist José Toro Alfonso, also an “out” gay man, who spoke about the capabilities of homosexual people. Toro Alfonso started his presentation giving information about the brain components and explaining their functions. He introduced different types of groups with the same goal that Maldonado has. By doing this and using some science fact Alfonso finished his parts of the conference trying to encourage people to join these groups.
Toro Alfonso’s Facebook page includes additional information about the actual groups. He also stated that a person doesn’t need to be homosexual to join one group, you just need to help the cause and move forward.
At the end of the conference the people on the audience we decided to ask peters a very important question that came up during this conference. Maldonado was asked; “What or who is the key to the success of this campaign?” After a smile on his face He replied; “The key of this success will be and has always been the young people”.