Struggling to Survive

By Yexcica Andrea Cappas Santiago

On Thursday, March 6, 2014, while the sun was starting to go down at 5:30 p.m., the wide and welcoming Amphitheater Ramón Figueroa Chapel at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez was receiving students from all majors, faculty, friends and any person interested in listening to the performance ‘Putting Down The Master’s Tools, Using Our Words/Stories Art To Queer Social Justice” by the transmasculine and gender non-conforming African-American author Toi Scott.

The impatient audience mumbled while waiting for the last performance of this edition of the“V Coloquio ¿Del otro lao?: Perspectivas sobre sexualidades queer.” The start of the presentation was delayed because the public needed to calm down and take their seats. Meanwhile the afrogenderqueer performer prepared himself for his explanation of struggle and survival.

Scott began with abrief autobiography about his struggles with the acceptance of society.

The thrilled audience praised the explanation of Toi Scott’s life and his fights against oppression. In the audience there were all sort of people, from LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual), to straight, Latinos and African-American students and faculty.


Presenting his breath taking poem “Survival as Resistance”

 Scott continued his breath taking appearance with a poem written by him a year ago called “Survival as Resistance”. The poem overwhelmed the listeners, it read: “Man I’ma survive/stay alive/fight with each breath til the day that I die/for justice/and the end to your privilege/and white-given birthright/til the day we all know we’re descendants of kings and queens/and our spaces reflect this/til poverty and inequality/we wreck this/check this…you got a powerful enemy….”

The crowd joyfully applauded as the poem ended with “answer the call Get involved, get this sh* solved..we barely survivin’ but without comin’ together we can’t run…but crawl.”

At the end of Scott’s presentation, the audience eagerly spoke up. Christopher Key, a psychology major from Florida State University, said to be stunned by Scott’s passion in his writing, his speaking and poetry development, how he incorporated all the elements to “survive” in this cruel, unfair world, despite what people of any gender may say.

In his blog, he identifies himself as “an ordinary superhero from Texas who is a transmasculine and gender non-conforming author, playwright, spoken word artist, filmmaker, journalist, medicine-maker, health advocate, food justice activist, anti-racist and anti-oppression organizer/diversity.” He also includes that he’s a gender workshop facilitator and curriculum developer, contributor and advisor to the race and ethnicity chapter and a former facilitator for community involvement forums for Trans Bodies, Trans Selves- a comprehensive resource guide for the transgender/genderqueer/gender non-conforming community that covers health, legal issues, cultural and social questions, history, and theory.”

The sun was already down, the activity closed at 7:10 p.m. and the happy audience with a huge round of applause and a grateful smile thanked Scott for his cooperation to the V coloquio ¿del otro lao?: perspectivas sobre sexualidades queer.




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