Transitioning, following the theoretical work of Dora Silva Santana, “is our movement along that space of possibilities that produces embodied knowledge. It is moving across and along the waters, the imposed limits of gender” (2017: 183). Transitioning, then, can be understood as a continual practice of improvisation, imagination, discovery, and movement. Afro-Latinx studies, as an emergent field, takes up the key analytics of race, ethnicity, Indigeneity, culture, colonialism and migration. In a way, Afro-Latinx studies has transed Latinx studies but what might it mean to trans Afro-Latinx studies by focusing on transgender epistemologies, embodiments, and transgender acts of improvisation and imagination? This conversation gathers trans* Afro-Latinx scholars and activists to address the following questions: How does transitioning inform, nuance, expand, or critique Afro-Latinx studies and/or Afro-Latinx identity? And, what types of transitions do Afro-Latinx communities need to take in order for trans Afro-Latinx kin to live gloriously?
Dr. Dora Santana is a black Brazilian trans woman artist and scholar. She is an Assistant Professor of the Gender Studies Program at John Jay College– CUNY. Her work has been published on the Transgender Studies Quarterly – TSQ – The Issue of Blackness under the title “Transitionings and Returnings: Experiments with the Poetics of Transatlantic Water,” and the TSQ Issue Trans in Las Americas, whose title is “Mais Viva! Reassembling transness, blackness and feminism.” To learn more about her work, visit https://dorasantana.academia.edu/research#papers
Aneiry L. Zapata is a Black Garífuna and Honduran transgender woman who arrived in the United States in 2015 fleeing the repressions of her country. She has experience helping LGBTQIA+ migrant and connecting them Black with any resource they need to survive. Aneiry has participated in protest and in many conferences as speaker and has testified in court fighting for the rights of LGBTQIA+, Black folks and any individual who identifies as a woman. Currently leading the Garifuna community in main programs: Charlas Garifunas LGBTQ+, GarifunaTransTalk and GarifunaKids lives matter. Her goal is to help create a world where our gender and sexuality are free to be lived and expressed freely.
Tito Mitjans Alayón has a doctorate in Feminist Studies and Intervention at UNICACH, Chiapas, Mexico. Mitjans Alayón is an Afro-Cuban feminist activistx, non-binary, fantastically fat, Trans masculine historian whose research areas include Black Feminism, Queer and Trans Afro-diasporic Studies, and Critical Studies of the Black Atlantic.
Alan Pelaez Lopez is an interdisciplinary writer, visual artist, and theorist from Oaxaca, México. In their poetic and visual work, Alan attends to questions of Black futures, trans* kinship, and Indigenous (un)belonging. They are the author of Intergalactic Travels: poems from a fugitive alien (The Operating System, 2020), a finalist for the International Latino Book Award, and to love and mourn in the age of displacement (Nomadic Press, 2020). Their writing is published in Teen Vogue, Refinery29, Best American Experimental Writing, the Georgia Review, and others. When they are not writing, Alan spendsmuch of their time organizing with queer and trans* migrants impacted by prisons and immigrant detention, sending out letters to loved ones, and making phone calls to Oaxaca. Alan is an assistant professor of queer and trans* ethnic studies at San Francisco State University.