Paseo Boricua Pageant 2008 -A Historic Celebration in El Barrio

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The Juan Antonio Corretjer Puerto Rican Cultural Center and Vida/SIDA hosted its second annual Paseo Boricua pageant. The Pageant, which was dedicated to Bartolo Hernandez de Jesus, aims to develop transgendered role models within our community and demand that the Puerto Rican/ Latina/o transgender population has a voice and is respected. Only this way can our community begin to address the rampant issues of homophobia and transphobia.

On May 31, Humboldt Park residents and people from throughout the Chicagoland area, attended an event that challenges our community to rethink its paradigm of human sexuality. According to PRCC executive director, José López, “Human sexuality cannot be defined by masculinity or femininity: its profoundly human and spiritual dimensions must ultimately define it.”

Paseo Boricua’s very own “Latin Soul” hosted the Pageant. Each of the contestants represented a town in Puerto Rico. Contestants invested a great deal of time towards community service and a research project focused on different aspects of Puerto Rican culture. Contestants included Nena de Castro (Arecibo), Matty Rosado (Utuado), Shadiamond (Vieques), and Perscilla Figueroa (Lares).

Throughout the event, the crowd was delighted by several special performances. The first was Reina Valentino, a transgendered woman and former employee of Vida/SIDA. Last year’s queen, our first Paseo Boricua Cacica “Jade,” performed the last number of her reign of 2007-2008. She is one of the first transgendered persons to challenge homophobia and transphobia  in our community. In prepartion for this year’s Pageant, Jade served as a commendable mentor to each contestant, sharing her experiences and challenges as Paseo Boricua Cacica. Nuestro Tambo, a local Bomba and plena group, was also present and excited the crowd with its rhythmic sound.

Additionally, pageant organizers recognized Ms. Ketty, one of the first trangendered Latina/o activ

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