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Thank you for taking an interest in me and my work. I invite you to explore my website and learn more about my books and activism.

You'll also gain insight into the projects and interests that keep me busy in Tucson, Arizona, such as LGBTQIA+ issues, environmental justice, community engagement and a research agenda that focuses on contested landscapes, and the power of resistance.


Learn too, how my memoirs offer personal narratives that intricately weave into broader historical and social issues, and offer a distinctive perspective on the intersections of identity, activism, and community.

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Immerse yourself in the world of
L.A. Interchanges!

It is available on leading online platforms such as Bookshop and Amazon.

Click HERE to learn more about the book
and other purchase options.

Upcoming Events

October 14, 2023

Pride on the Page Book
Festival in Palm Springs

"in/Visible: Queer Histories Real and Imagined" panelist. A serious and humorous exploration into LGBTQIA+ history. LINK

October 26, 2023

PreserveAZ Conference in Tucson

Keynote speaker at the Arizona Historic Preservation Conference for those interested in historic preservation, archaeology, cultural resources management, architecture, and planning. LINK

October 21, 2023

Circa: Queer Histories Festival, presented by One Institute in L.A.

"Through Our Lens: Laura Aguilar’s Latina Lesbian Series" panel presentation. A discussion and personal reflections of collaborating with the artist. LINK

Dec. 2, 2023

Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural & Bookstore in L.A.'s Northeast San Fernando Valley

L.A. Interchanges Book talk. More information to come.

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Click HERE to learn more
about my books.

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I am featured in the PBS documentary
Gay & Lesbian Latinos Unidos.


Here's a short video post from the Unidad: Gay and Lesbian Latinos Unidos screening that took place on June 13, 2023, where I reflect on organizing and the transformative power of change. In this short segment, I emphasize the distinctions between the strategies employed in the 1980s and 1990s and the approaches that shape contemporary activism. 

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Headline in L.A. Daily News 
dated August 3, 2023,
"Los Angeles Public Library acquires new archive highlighting L.A.’s queer, Latinx history"

It's official! I've handed over my collection of photographs, flyers, organizational documents, personal items, and other memorabilia that I've gathered over the past decades to the L.A. Central Library. It's a proud moment for me, and I'm thrilled that these materials will be preserved.

See L.A. Daily News article HERE

See the L.A. Public Library's Press Release HERE


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June 1, 2023
"Lydia Otero shares
experiences that
gave them Pride."
Read my essay HERE.

Photo of Lydia Otero carrying
Gay & Lesbian Latinos Unidos

banner at 1987 L.A. PRIDE.

Interested in more
personal reflections
about the documentary
more about the years
I was active in GLLU?


 • Browse Past Events •
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My talk celebrating the culmination of my latest book, L.A. Interchanges on Sunday, July 30th, 2023 at the L.A. Central Library's Mark Taper Auditorium
went well. A special thanks to those who attended. I will post more photos and a video clip in the future.


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Talk for the MACRI in San Antonio

Check out my
March 23, 2023, 
one-hour presentation
on YouTube HERE.

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Together On the Air

I will be a panelist at the closing event for the ONE Archives Foundation exhibit on March 31, 2023. It will feature a special screening of the LGBTQ+ and Latinx documentary "Unidad: Gay & Lesbian Latinos Unidos."  The program will also highlight the coalition work built between César Chávez, United Farm Workers, and members of GLLU toward LGBTQIA+ Latinx rights and liberation in 1980s and 1990s Los Angeles. The event will take place at the ONE Galley in West Hollywood. Access the online "Together on The Air" exhibit HERE.


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Re-Activating Tucson's Downtown History

The University of Arizona's Confluencenter hosted a
"Show & Tell" discussion that focused on efforts to re-activate Mexican/Mexican American history on January 27, 2023 at the Sosa-Carrillo House (which is now the Mexican American Heritage & History Museum). I, Betty Villegas, and Mayor Regina Romero were the featured speakers. Watch it HERE. You can find my presentation at the 1:00 mark. It was one of coldest evenings in Tucson but the Confluencenter staged a warm and informative event.


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U.S. Transportation Secretary
Pete Buttigieg 
holding a copy of
In the Shadows of the Freeway:
Growing Up Brown & Queer.

During his visit to Tucson on August 11, 2022, Mayor Regina Romero (also in the photo) gifted Buttigieg my book that describes the steady expansion of Interstate 10 and how it separated and isolated a barrio of brown and poor residents from the rest of the city. 
To read a related news item of Buttigieg's visit and learn more about my insights regarding infrastructural agendas CLICK HERE.

Want to know more about the book?
More about In the Shadows of the Freeway HERE.

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In the Shadows of The Freeway:
Growing Up Brown & Queer

Released Nov. 23, 2019

"A searing memoir of legacy, loss, and love. Infusing historical research with childhood memories, Lydia Otero poignantly reveals the weight of urban development on Mexican communities in postwar Tucson. With rare insight, In the Shadow of the Freeway is a singular contribution to Latina/o history, urban studies, queer theory, and gender studies."

Vicki L Ruiz 
University of California, Irvine

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The April 2022 edition of 
High Country News
includes my essay in their special "ARCHIVE" edition.
"My archive: 20 years of
Los Angeles’
LGBTQ+ movement

Released March23, 2022

"In the 20 years I lived in Los Angeles, I acquired 10 different addresses. This doesn’t account for the weeks when I found myself in between apartments, sleeping on friends’ floors or couches. Every time I moved, I protected the contents of a box filled with squirreled-away photographs and memorabilia, souvenirs of events I had attended and brown queer activists I worked alongside. In my gut, I knew that the datebooks, newsletters, documents and photographs in that box were important. They mattered to history and served as a reminder of the forces that shaped my life as a queer of color. Few of the people I remember ever made it into history books; some young men who died of AIDS never even made it into an obituary, or onto an AIDS quilt." 


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News Items

Interested in more news items, interviews and publications that have quoted or featured Lydia Otero?

Find more here.

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Alva B. Torres
Compiled by Lydia R. Otero
Released September 23, 2021

Alva B. Torres continues to
inspire me to this day.

It was her role in historic preservation that
drew my 
attention as I began the research
culminated in the publication of my
La Calle: Spatial Conflicts 
and Urban Renewal in a 
Southwest City in 2010.

Before writing her weekly columns
— on which Notitas is based —
Torres had organized the Society for the
Preservation of 
Tucson’s Plaza de la Mesilla
or La Placita Committee,
the most formidable resistance effort
urban renewal that targeted Tucson’s oldest
barrios in the late 1960s.

This photo of us was taken in
2016 at an awards ceremony.

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NPR featured the
Select Columns From
The Tucson Citizen 
Book Release Party
held on
September 25, 2021
on Arizona Spotlight.

It is the first story
but the entire
program is pretty interesting.

Click HERE to listen.

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Tucson Festival of Books
"Arizona authors Alberto Álvaro Ríos and Lydia R. Otero will discuss their newest books, both of which explore the power of place and community along the border. How much is lost when families are dislocated altogether? Living where we do, these are things for all of us to think about."

Interested? Watch the session HERE.

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Barrio Stories

Lydia Otero's book La Calle inspired an outdoor, site-specific theatrical event, Barrio Stories, produced by Borderlands Theater in 2016 in Tucson’s downtown area. More than 5,000 people attended the play, which was designed to recover the history of a barrio declared expendable by city leaders who purposely devised an urban renewal program to demolish it in the late 1960s. Impressive and grand, the event ran for four days in a space larger than two football fields. It featured forty-one principal actors, required more than a hundred volunteers, and involved about thirty production specialists in set design, sound, media, and choreography. Click here to lean more about the production.

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Select Articles &

Book Chapters

Authored by Lydia Otero

Works based on archival research and oral history that highlight my Latinx and historical studies scholarship

Learn about Lydia Otero's
involvement in 
Historic Preservation. 
Check out their current
project here.

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