Please visit the Fall 2012 class website project at Queer Arts Los Angeles Website.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Visa--She's Everywhere You Want To Be

I think it is safe to say that most people rarely get excited about Monday mornings. I personally find them to be dreadful, but last Monday definitely wasn’t. Our class was treated to a surprise visit from Visa—a boisterous, transgendered, Cuban sex worker dressed in lingerie and bright red lipstick. From the moment I heard the familiar Spanglish accent, I knew we were in for a treat. Visa shared her view on a range of serious issues such as immigration, health care reform, sex workers, and the turmoil in the Gaza Strip all while infusing a bit of camp. Although Visa’s performance was both insightful and provocative, what I really found shocking was when Visa left and Karen Anzoategui, the performance artist, entered. I could have never imagined the two entities were the same person! As she spoke with Prof. Gaspar De Alba, Karen explained that she had received some backlash at one of her performances from a couple of the audience members who took offense at her portrayal of transgendered individuals. As a first generation Cuban American, I felt that Karen’s performance of “Visa” was actually more in line with the way Cuban refugees are stereotyped in the Latino community than it was a representation of the transgendered community on the whole. That being said, I think Visa should not be viewed as merely a representation of one community or another, but instead as an individual that represents and reflects several communities and influences at once just as anyone of us does. Fantastic work Karen!

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