By: Anamarys Cruz
From March 4 to 6 the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez hosted the V Coloquio Del Otro La’o, where members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community and allies offered talks, workshops, and testimonials about LGBT issues.
In a session titled Queering “The Family”: Confronting the myth of “Mom and Dad” Puerto Rican writer Yolanda Arroyo Pizarro presented alongside Sharianna Ferrer , feminist and activist for human rights, Zulnette Garcia Ramos, sociologist, and Elga Garcia Casilla, composer. Students and staff of the UPRM and visitors attended this session.
“The 2010 Census reported that 55 percent of households do not respond to the ‘traditional’ model of mom, dad and the kids. Moreover 65 per cent of children born in Puerto Rico are not born to “traditional families,” said moderator Jocelyn Géliga, English professor at UPRM, in her introduction.
The four panelists answered different questions regarding the situation in which they were raised and how they currently live.
Elga García Casillas narrated how she did not see herself as a mother, and how she and her partner ended up adopting two children when they realized that the child did not care they were two women living together, he loved how they treated each other and more importantly how they treated him.
In October 2013, Elga García Casilla and Zulnnet García Ramos became pre-adoptive mothers, after going through a complicated process with the Department of the Family. The most difficult moment for both was when they first had the idea to adopt two kids. García Casillas resented that “nobody seemed to care about their process” but when heterosexual couples adopt everyone congratulates them.
The concept of “family” was debated by the panelists. Arroyo contended that it refers not just to biological family members but to people that you share everything with, any kind of moments and despite what happens they will be there for you. For Arroyo Pizarro it was very difficult explaining to her daughter that she is now sharing her life with a woman after being married for many years with a man.
In an interview the writer explained that when she decided to tell everyone that she was lesbian she felt a lot better. “I thank God that my family always understood me and supported me on every decision I made, my daughter loves me no matter what.” She is convinced that her lesbian relationship will not mean that “my daughter will have an unhealthy growth, said Arroyo.”
People think that growing up in a family circle where both parents are heterosexual does not guarantee that they will get the treatment they deserve. An article titled “Exemplary gay families,” published in El Nuevo Día on March, 25, 2010 explains that families that consist of couples of the same gender are much more exemplary than traditional families. According to this article it’s not a matter of gender, but the way they are taught values needed to be good people. These gay parents have the same concerns to give the best care, the best education, and better discipline to their children.