The Letter “T”, More Than Just Part Of The Alphabet

By: Anamarys Cruz

On Thursday, May 6, sociologist, Salvador Vidal, gave a conference in the amphitheater Ramón Figueroa Chapel at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez titled “Trans and Queer Themes: Pursuing Latin American Connections in Theory and Daily Life”. Vidal explained how the life of transsexuals in Bogotá, Colombia was not easy until 2008. According to Vidal, now in some parts of Colombia the life of a transsexual is easier than it was before because of the Colombian government.

Vidal focused on how Colombia is the first country to approve legislation defending the rights of transsexuals. Due this legislation, Colombia is the country that has the most migrants in the world. According to the “Ilga Trans Secretariat,” the name of the legislation is “Decreto No. 608” which explains that it gives full guarantee of the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender – LGBT- people in the country’s capital city.

Before the approval of the legislation, “Vive.in” informed that between 2006 and 2007 67 LGBT people were killed throughout the country, of which 16 were transgender women, and 13 of the cases took placein Bogotá.
Another study by the corporation to Promote LGBT Citizenship indicates that 62 percent have been victims of verbal abuse, 21 percent have been victims of physical violence (83 percent of these victims were transgender people) and 21 percent of respondents claimed to have been victimized by the police.

In addition, “In Colombia prostitution is not illegal, but to minimize the prostitution a group of trans created a fashion show named “Bogotrans” where participants are women trans where they are trained refinement, makeup, wardrobe and posture,” said Vidal. It gives them the opportunity to participate and to be recognized as women, but it is not considered a job.
Vidal Ortiz argued that “Bogotrans” suits the government because they exploit them just to get more people to Colombia. They spend thousands of dollars to prepare and they do not get paid for the fashion show.

After the conference the keynote speaker answered the public’s questions about Colombia. He explained that before the legislation was approved the life of the trans was complicated and horrible because Colombians wanted them out of the country and they tried everything even using women with HIV as weapon. Some of the trans in the north part of Colombia used to receive calls anonymously saying: “You have 10 days to get out of here or you die”; that act was called a “social movement”. However in Bogotá, Cali and Medellín today trans people are treated like any other citizen, concluded Vidal Ortiz.

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“Sociologist Salvador Vidal Ortiz giving the Conference about Transexuals.”

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