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.
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.
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.
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
Photo of Lydia Otero carrying
Gay & Lesbian Latinos Unidos
banner at 1987 L.A. PRIDE.
Interested in more
about the documentary
more about the years
I was active in GLLU?
• Browse Past Events •
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.
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.
U.S. Transportation Secretary
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.
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
The April 2022 edition of
High Country News
includes my essay in their special "ARCHIVE" edition.
"My archive: 20 years of
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."
READ MY HCN ESSAY HERE.
SELECT COLUMNS FROM THE TUCSON CITIZEN
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
that culminated in the publication of my
book, 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
to urban renewal that targeted Tucson’s oldest
barrios in the late 1960s.
This photo of us was taken in
2016 at an awards ceremony.
NPR featured the
Select Columns From
The Tucson Citizen
Book Release Party
September 25, 2021
on Arizona Spotlight.
It is the first story
but the entire
program is pretty interesting.
Click HERE to listen.
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.
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.