miércoles, 4 de mayo de 2011

Back to Reality

After a week of vacations during Semana Santa, we all returned to Cuernavaca to continue with classes. Compared to some weeks in the past where we have had many excursions and guest speakers, we had quite a relaxing week.
The major events of the week were the diversity panel on Tuesday night and the trip to the Robert Brady Museum for Maren’s lab group.

The diversity panel was made up of three guest speakers who spoke about their experiences with coming to terms with their sexuality in a Mexican context. 

Each of the three speakers brought a different perspective relating to sexuality. Natalia spoke about the challenges she faces being transgender, identifying as bisexual, and having HIV as well as her social activism based around sexual rights. She started the first group of bisexuals in Mexico called Opción Bi. Vik@ brought a very valuable perspective being out and gay in a rural community. A rural community that happens to be a community we all spent four days in. Graciela spoke about her experience identifying as lesbian in Mexico and the difficulties of acceptance she faces with her family.

I believe that everyone extremely enjoyed this panel particularly because topics such as sexuality are taboo not only in Mexico but in the United States. Also, voices of bisexual and transgender people are often ignore and hidden but they need to be heard.

The outing to the Robert Brady Museum thanks to Maren and CEMAL was also enjoyable for everyone including my parents and Coltin! Fortunately we had the opportunity of having a guided tour and were let in on some of the secrets of Robert Brady and la Casa del Torre. After the tour Maren led us in a discussion about art in a Mexican context including the privileges of art and those such as Robert Brady who are able to travel the world, collect art, and hold parties without working. Part of the reason his house is so interesting to visit is due to the complete extravagance and over 1300 pieces of art decorating the house. We asked ourselves questions such as, Are museums the only places we can view art? Is the Robert Brady Museum accessible to the public community of Cuernavaca (at 35 pesos a ticket)?

Overall it was a relaxing week that was necessary to gear up for our busy next two weeks before we leave the magnificent City of Eternal Spring.
I like the questions you posed at the end, Annica, because I feel that these questions are ones that not many people in the United States reflect upon. The word "American" is thrown around all the time to identify people from the United States, but like you said, America is not only the United States. At times it seems like an ethnocentric label particularly when referring to just people from the United States. All of this speaks to the power of labels and words and the history behind the words that are very powerful. I would encourage everyone to reflect upon the labels they use to categorize people and think about what they really mean.

-Gabbie Gonzalez (Beloit College ´11) 

(Photos by Alex Palomino)

2 comentarios:

  1. Gabbie, I really liked your discussion of labels including the term American. Estoy de acuerdo (I agree with you). People often times do just call someone something without thinking about it because… it’s normal. It’s expected, or it’s just what people do. Like, for example, of course we call people from the United States Americans. Despite the fact that there are how many other countries in North, Central, and South America, for some reason, we, United States citizens, think that we own that word.
    Also, more than reflection, I think that we can use labels as a form of empowerment and that after we have reflected upon the histories of our labels, they can be a powerful tool of self-betterment and self-identification.