By: Yeramar I. Casiano
On Wednesday March 5th around 120 students and professors attended to V
Coloquio Del otro la’o? symposium “Testimonios sobre la raza, racializacion y sexualidades
queer” at the University of Puerto Rico- Recinto Universitario de Mayagüez.
The meeting started at 9:30 a.m at the Anfiteatro Ramon Figueroa Chapel, Chardon
At the testimonial table sat as moderator English professor Jocelyn Géliga, writer
Yolanda Arroyo, boxer Orlando “El Fenomeno” Cruz, activist Dania Garcia and author Toi
Scott. All dressed casually in dark colors.
The moderator began talking about each of the guest and gave details about their
acheivements. Each of the guests spoke about their different experience with racism and
Yolanda Arroyo was the first to talk about her issues with her identities and labeling.
Arroyo describes herself as a “lesbo terrorist” . She went from hetero to bi curious to lesbo curious and then lesbian at the age of 15. Later she marries a man and had a daughter. A couple of years later she got divorsed and
marries a woman. Arroyo is also a LGBT activist and frequently writes about LGBT issues
in her work. According to her blog, some of her work has been published in Spain, Ecuador, Ghana, UK, Mexico, Argentina, Panama, Guatemala, Chile, Bolivia, Colombia, Venezuela, Denmark, Hungary and France.
The novelist explained her issues of being black as a kid saying “I am not black; I am
Next to her sat famous boxer Orlando “El Fenomeno” Cruz whom was very nervous
at the begining of the event.
Cruz shared his story of coming out in public as gay. He remembers joining at an
early age of 7 years into the boxing sport. He had girlfriends in the past but he was not
happy. At 19 years old he went to the olimpic games and it was then that he knew he was
atracted to men. He spoke to his mother about it and she said “You are my son and I will
never leave you alone”. In 2012 he became the first boxer to come out gay. A year later he
marries his boyfriend.
Next to Cruz, activist Dania Garcia shared her story with racism. At a very young age she had to get her hair straightned because her kinder garden teacher said so. The result was
25% of burned hair. That changed her life. She calls it the “whiteing process”. Later she was
the only black woman in her Engineering class. She believes that in Puerto Rico still live with racism.
At last Toi Scott, transmasculine author from Texas. Scott remembers that he always
saw himself as a boy. He spoke about how judgement affected him because of the way he
dressed masculine eventhough he has femenine features.