Purita Pelayo

Purita Valentina Pelayo, also known by the pseudonym Alberto Cabral (Esmeraldas, March 24, 1957) is an Ecuadorian transgender activist and author. She was one of the founders and the president of the Coccinelle Association, the first organization of transgender people in the history of Ecuador and which played a leading role in the campaign for the decriminalization of homosexuality in the country, which achieved its goal in November 1997. She is also the author of the award-winning non-fiction work “Los fantasmas se cabrearón” (2017), which recounts police abuse and the birth of LGBT activism in Ecuador at the end of the 20th century.

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Juan Carlos Cucalón

Juan Carlos Cucalón (Guayaquil, 1963) is an Ecuadorian short story writer and playwright. In 2007 he won first place in the Pablo Palacio Short Story Biennial with his story “Miedo a U2” [Fear of U2]. His book of short stories “Surcos obtusos” won the 2009 edition of the Luis Félix López National Literature Contest. Among the themes of the book are homoeroticism and masculinity in Latin America. In 2010, he premiered his play “Exododedosexos,” whose plot follows two transgender women named Malva Malabar and Simoné Bernadette who prepare to stage a play by Tenesse Williams. Cucalón is openly homosexual, and throughout his career he has published numerous stories featuring characters of various sexual orientations.

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Pedro Artieda

Pedro Artieda Santacruz (Quito, 1964) is a psychologist, novelist, short story writer, journalist, essayist, literary critic, and professor. In 2003, he published a study entitled “La homosexualidad masculina en la narrativa ecuatoriana” [Male Homosexuality in the Ecuadorian Narrative], which won the Manuela Saénz Prize in 2004. In 2001, he published his first novel entitled “Nadie sabe con certeza” [Nobody Knows For Sure], followed by a psychological science fiction novel entitled, “La última pared roja” [The Last Red Wall]. In 2011, he published a book of short stories entitled “Lo oculto de la noche” [The Hidden Night], and in 2013, he published his third novel, “Bajo el hábito” [Under the Habit], which received an honorable mention at the Joaquín Gallegos Lara Prize for best novel of the year. It tells the story of a transgender Franciscan living in a monastery in Quito. He has worked for the Ecuadorian newspapers El Comercio and Hoy. His articles about literature, cinema and gender have been published in various magazines such as Diners, El Búho and Vistazo, among others.

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David Ledesma Vásquez 

David Ledesma Vásquez (Guayaquil, December 17, 1934 – March 30, 1961) was an Ecuadorian poet, writer, journalist, stage actor, and radio drama and radio soap opera actor. Although his work went unnoticed for several years after his death, it eventually acquired a cult following. He belonged to Club 7, a group of poets from the port city of Guayaquil in the 1950s. He committed suicide by hanging at the age of 27 in 1961. He left behind several unpublished works, including one ominously titled “La risa del ahorcado” [The Hanged Man’s Laugh]. Ileana Espinel Cedeño, a fellow Club 7 member, oversaw the posthumous publication of his poetry collection “Cuaderno de Orfeo” [Orfeo’s Notebook] in 1962.

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Karla Cornejo Villavicencio

Karla Cornejo Villavicencio (1989) is a writer from Ecuador. In 2020 she published, “The Undocumented Americans,” which was among Barack Obama’s favorite books of 2020, it was also a finalist for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Writing for The New York Times, Caitlin Dickerson called the book “captivating and evocative.” Cornejo graduated from Harvard in 2011, becoming the first undocumented immigrant to do so. She was an Emerson Collective fellow, and as of September 2020 is a Ph.D. candidate in the American studies program at Yale. Her articles have been published in The Atlantic, Elle, Glamour, n+1, The New Republic, The New York Times, and Vogue.

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Sonia Guiñansaca

Sonia Guiñansaca (Cuenca, 1989) is a migrant poet, cultural organizer and activist whose work aims for culture equality and social justice, focusing on migrant rights, climate change, LGBTQ+ rights, and gender discrimination. At the age of 5 Guiñansaca migrated to the United States to reunite with her parents in New York City.

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Roy Sigüenza

Roy Sigüenza (Portovelo, El Oro Province, Ecuador, 1958) is an Ecuadorian writer and poet. His poetry is homoerotic in theme; he is known for transforming scenes of ordinary life into settings for erotic encounters. Although he has a penchant for brevity and simplicity of language, at times he makes use of greater stylization, while including references to other homosexual writers from both Europe and the United States. Within the Ecuadorian poetic scene, Sigüenza, speaking with a new lyric voice (that of a marginalized and persecuted homosexual), has developed a style that, very quickly, other poets have adopted as a reference point for their own work. One of the few authors in Ecuador willing to write of marginalized sexual experiences in an openly confessional manner, he has gained a certain status as a literary rebel within Ecuador.

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