Transexuality, Slaves and Freed Women

By: Jessier M. Rodríguez Vega

This past March 6th, 2014, the V Coloquio del Otro La’o: Perspectives about Queer Sexualities presented a panel titled “Sexualidades Queer y Aparatos Estatales” (Queer Sexualities and State Devices.) The members of the panel were Antonio Ramos Vega with the paper “Transexualidad en la Mujer Policía” (Transexuality in the Female Cop) and Nivializ Toro López, with the paper “Prostitución en Puerto Rico, entre esclavas y libertas: Sirena Selena, Isabel Luberza Oppenheimer y el discurso periodístico sobre lxs porstituxs” (Prostitution in Puerto Rico between Slaves and Freed Women: Sirena Selena, Isabel Luberza Oppenheimer and the News Speech about Prostitutes). The Coloquio was held at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez from March 4-6.

The panel by Ramos Vega, a graduate student at UPR-Río Piedras, and Toro López, an undergraduate student at UPRM, began with an introduction by Dr. Aixa Rodríguez, professor at UPRM.



Antonio Ramos Vega with the moderator of the panel.


Ramos Vega, also known as “Toño,” is currently developing his thesis about female transgender in the police force. He exposed his point of view and then he cited a variety of articles in which the disadvantages of female police officers vis a vis their male counterparts were discussed.

On the other hand, Nivializ Toro López brought as resources, two novels: Sirena Selena and Isabel Luberza Oppenheimer. She gave a brief summary about each novel and shared the fact that even on campus, prostitution takes its place.



Nivializ Toro López reading a paragraph of “Sirena Selena and Isabel Luberza Oppenheimer.”


After the presentations, a very interesting session of questions concluded activity. Surprisingly, there was an agent of the LGBT community in the audience and there was also a woman who was in the SWAT team of Puerto Rico.

They extended an invitation to “Toño” for a visit of the Police Department so he could acquire more information about females and members of the police force that are open to the LGBT community. For a moment, Nivializ’s topic was undiscussed but people from the audience started to ask various questions about her topic and shared the discussion of the books.

When the session of questions was finished, a SWAT Sergeant from Mayagüez district, shared and experience of a friend that was in the police force for a couple of years. In the past, females in the police force had to sign with the acronym “HP” and their respective name. According to her tale, the female police officer was insulted and this is why today they sign like agents and use their respective name.

The panel became an emotional space in which the audience had the opportunity to look back on, partake of, and someone began to mourn when she remembered that her child was a victim of discrimination for being a homosexual.



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