• Lizbette Ocasio-Russe University of Texas at Dallas



transgender, story, queer community, Puerto Rico, LQBTQ


The short story 'Sam’ is part of an original collection of short stories written as part of my MA creative thesis, Circo, which seeks to give voice to the queer community of Santurce, Puerto Rico through the integration of characters and storylines based on real queer Puerto Rican individuals and the personal experience I acquired being actively involved in Santurce’s LQBTQ community. These individuals’ queerness has led them to suffer misrepresentation and exclusion, as well as a social oppression that often denies them the freedom and opportunity to live genuinely validating lives. They inhabit what Homi K. Bhabha calls the ‘betwixt and between', that ‘in between’ space that allows individuals to elaborate strategies of selfhood that initiate new signs of identity (Mangham,p.4). Though inhabiting these spaces can allow for certain types of self-development, the largely traditional, heterosexual and conservative nature of Puerto Rico’s majority culture constantly pressures them to abide by normative gender stereotypes. Trans people thus feel the pull of the desire for ‘normalcy’ and the desire to find their ‘true’ self, which can keep them trapped in a stagnant world of ‘in-betweenness.’ Rather than play the victim, though, they embrace their limbo existence and make it into a productive space of expression and personal development.

Author Biography

Lizbette Ocasio-Russe, University of Texas at Dallas

Lizbette Ocasio-Russe is currently completing her PhD in Humanities with a concentration in Studies in Literature at the University of Texas at Dallas. She received her BA in Journalism and minor in Creative Writing from New York University and her MA in English Literature from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras campus. She was the graduate editor of the University of Puerto Rico’s literary magazine and is currently the translation editor for Reunion: The Dallas Review. She’s been published in Poui: The Cavehill Journal of Creative Writing, Moko: Caribbean Arts and Letters, and Tonguas: Student Literary and Artistic Expression Journal.




How to Cite

Ocasio-Russe, L. (2017). Sam. ETropic: Electronic Journal of Studies in the Tropics, 16(2).