I read my famous paper about cross-dressing, transnational women at a conference in Boca Raton. It went great. A professor from UPR-Cayey came up to comment on the fact that even Mayra Santos Febres’ Sirena Selena crosses national as well as gender borders. (Sirena Selena es dominicano residente en Puerto Rico.)

Still, there’s something unresolved. Something that means a lot to me on a personal level. All four historical texts I used portray the women heroes (heroine is a drug) as making a tough choice between living their lives or mothering. Henriette the doctor loses an infant. Jeanne the botanist gives up two children. Ann the pirate gave up a child. And Loreta Janeta, the confederate soldier, first loses three children and later stops the narrative when she has a live birth. Had a kid, it must be the end of the story.

I’m wondering whether anything has changed in the past 200 years: women still seem to be making the same tough choices. Then I found a ray of hope: Mireya Mayor, Ph.D., the cheerleader turned anthropologist. She is also a mother, something the legendary women who stepped into male spaces never had a chance to juggle. (This is a disturbing side of the historical accounts. It’s uplifting to read about women who fought alongside warriors and others who participated in expeditions, but then you read that they had to abandon children, or that they only went on an adventure because their children died, and it becomes depressing.)

Enter Mireya, a Cuban-American (of course, three of the historical women also have links to Cuba) who has a husband, two daughters and twins on the way. She’s attractive, intelligent, adventurous and entrepreneurial. Seems like the answer to the alter-latinas from 200 years ago. See her web site http://mireyamayor.com/

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