“Queer” in Latin America

By: Diego Delgado Tamariz


In a period of one hour the professor Dr. Salvador Vidal-Ortiz sociology professor at American University in Washington D.C.lectured about “Temáticas Trans, Temáticas Queer” (Trans Themes and Queer Themes), with a focus on Latin America at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez on [INSERT DATE].. Vidal Ortiz’s presentation was a keynote address in the V Coloquio del Otro La’o: Perspectivas sobre Sexualidades Queer hosted at UPRM from March 4-6.

The professor, who completed a Fulbright-funded sabbatical in Bogotá from 2010 to 2012, began by identifying the roots of activism and academic works to understand “Queer” and illustrate the theme with examples from Latin America. He then proceeded to define many key terms related to the LGBTT movement, such as transsexual and gay.During the presentation Dr. Vidal Ortiz emphasized that sex, gender and sexuality are not the same.

Dr. Salvador Vidal-Ortiz starting his presentation.

Vidal-Oriz noted that the word “queer” started to be known in the 1980’s when prominent figures in the LGBT movement created readings and academic areas. The term is now used to describe and name the areas that are different from the established norm. Some of the key figures in queer studies named by Dr. Vidal-Ortiz were Gayle Rubin, Moraga/ Anzaldúa, Butler, and Sylvia Rivera.

Bogotá, Colombia was the city where Dr. Salvador gave more emphasis in his studies as a professor.

However, every year the Bogotá government makes and fashion show called “BOGOTRANS” that is internationally recognized. According to the scholar, this show gives the trans community the opportunity to work and show their beauty but for a short period of time. The government uses these kinds of shows to move the economy of the city.

The professor adduced an article for the audience, with his opinion that is very important piece of reading about Queer Theory. The article was by, Judith Halberstram, “In a Queer Time and Place.” He described the “queer” word as art that is captivating the mind of many people around.

At the end of the presentation, attendee Miguel Justiniano, a mechanical engineering student at UPRM, rated the keynote speaker’s way of captivating the audience’s attention by talking with a friendly vocabulary, as “pretty cool”. He was g grateful for the work Vidal Ortiz presented at the conference.


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