By: Angel J. Vega Mendoza
On March 6, Dr. Juan Carlos Jorge, a medical science professor, Raquel Delgado and Roberto Pastrana, both staff member of Proyecto Matria, discussed different aspects of how Tran sexuality is labeled by science, how it is treated by society and it how should be accepted by others at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez. This panel presentation was given during the Coloquio Del Otro La’o at the UPRM. Before the presentation they were around 30 persons representing different types of “Queer” sexualities.
At the beginning of the presentation Carlos discussed how Tran sexuality has been classified from the past years until now. The first slide of his Power Point presentation caught the attention of many in the audience hall because the terms used by the scientific society, in the 1840s, about Tran sexuality were “madness” and “idiocy.” Over time, explained the neurobiology professor, those terms were substituted by other ones on the “DSM,” A manual to diagnose mental disorders. Dr. Jorge ended his presentation stating that “Tran sexuality doesn’t change things or is something completely new, it’s just another way to see things.”
The second presenter, activist Roberto Pastrana, began his interventions by showing a video about people supporting the transsexual movement. He talked about discriminatory social practices that are trying to eliminate transsexuals. He concluded by screening another video, this one about the transsexual movement in Argentina and how it is fighting discrimination and promoting acceptance.
Finally, social worker Raquel Delgado’s presentation echoed the point made by Jorge in his presentation: Tran sexuality is not a disease. Delgado gave different points of view about being transsexual and she encouraged people from the queer community to not be afraid. She concluded with the affirmation, “the fact of being homosexual does not mean that you have a problem.”
At the end of the event, moderator Jocelyn Géliga, a UPRM professor, gave some minutes for audience’s questions and comments. Everything was formal until a professor stood up his chair and told Jorge: “maybe society doesn’t need the DSM, maybe scientists and psychology created it for their own benefit.” When he finished many people in the hall stood up to and applauded him.
In a subsequent interview, Delgado responded to the issue of same-sex parent’s adoption and how it might affect the child. “Everything will be just the same,” Delgado replied, “the only difference will be that they will be teaching him a new societal value because the society is constantly changing and two things can happen, the kid will learn it at home or in the streets.”