Culture

These Latinos Are Loud And Proud About Their Bisexuality And We Should Be Supporting Them More

You know what the B in LGBTQ+ stands for? It stands for bisexual, and while bisexuals make up for the vast majority of the LGBTQ+ community, they’re vastly underrepresented and maybe even face the most stigma from the community itself. It’s no secret that it’s hard to be gay in this world, especially if you grew up in a Latino household, but then you find your chosen family. We as a community need to take cue and take care of the bad-ass bisexual Latinos in our lives, including these talented individuals:

Sara Ramirez

CREDIT: @therealsararamirez / Instagram

Ramirez is no doubt the most outspoken bisexual Latina out there. When she came out as bisexual, she did it during a speech at the True Colors Fund, on a stage, in front of a crowd. #Goals

Lauren Jauregui

CREDIT: @laurenjauregui1 / Instagram

Jauregui had her own epic coming out by writing an open letter to President Trump just weeks after he was elected. She called him out on his campaign full of demonizing and dehumanizing minority communities.

Guillermo Diaz

CREDIT: @guillermodiazreal / Instagram

Diaz doesn’t have a coming out story because he’s always brushed off the question in interviews as something that people get too hot and bothered over. Yes, he’s gay, but it’s not his full identity, and I low-key love that he’s creating a standard where your sex life doesn’t make headlines, hetero or homo.

Frida Kahlo

CREDIT: @GiuseppeTurrisi / Instagram

While Kahlo was alive, she was simply known as Diego Rivera’s wife. Today, she’s a feminist icon for being openly bisexual during her time, and even dressing in suits since she was a teenager.

Raúl Esparaza

CREDIT: @rauleesparza / Instagram

Esparaza opened up about his sexual fluidity in a candid interview with The New York Times. He told the reporter that he fell in love with a male professor at New York University.

“He was tough and impossible and manipulative and brilliant and really inspired and believed I’d be a big star. The best thing about him is he made me feel like a great person, no matter what I was doing. He didn’t seem to feel gay or straight was much of an issue.”

Bella Thorne

CREDIT: @bellathorne / Instagram

Cuban-American actress came out as bisexual in a more relaxed way, by just responding to a fan’s tweet questioning her bisexuality with a simple ‘Yes.’

Stephanie Beatriz

CREDIT: @stephbeatz / Instagram

“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” actress came out to the world as bisexual and had the opportunity to do it again on television, when her character discovered her bisexuality. Thanks to Beatriz, someone from our community was able to control the story.

Óscar de la Renta

CREDIT: “Oscar de la Renta.” Digital Image. Latin Times. 12 July 2018.

Dominican designer reportedly had an affair with a man before he married French Vogue editor Françoise Langlade, and is known to be bisexual.

Hennessy Carolina

CREDIT: @hennessycarolina / Instagram

Cardi B’s sister is bisexual and proud to be with her wife. Just read this caption:

“If you can’t accept the B In (L)LGBTQ..(L)lesbian(G)ay(B)BISEXUAL(T)transgender (Q)ueer, then please don’t speak up for the community if you can’t fully understand ALL of us! A bisexual girl expressing that she sometimes likes to kiss and hook up with girls especially when she gets a little loose when she drinks wine, Sounds human and normal to me! I don’t have a problem with that!! Whether you want to go out, have some drinks and hook up with the same gender for one night or whether you decide to be in a relationship with him/her, it should be no one’s concern or business or even PLACE to tell you how to complete your sexual desire unless you’re a pedophile! You can STILL consider yourself LGBTQ if you to choose too! Bisexual means you’re attracted to both genders. No matter what’s the status of the relationship or what you chose to do with that person … If a woman like to be in a relationship with a man but like to enjoy her sexual desire with a woman from time to time she can still considers herself to be a BISEXUAL! same goes for men….. and please if your still in your confused stage, please don’t talk for the whole community until you can fully comprehend ALL of us! We don’t like to be the judge or to be labeled! We just want be excepted for who we are… Love is love! That being said HAPPY GAY PRIDE MONTH FROM ME AND MY WIFE🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍🌈❤️🧡💛💚💙💜”

Aubrey Plaza

CREDIT: @plazadeaubrey / Instagram

Plaza came out as bisexual in 2016 in an interview. She said that her family has always been very supportive, especially since she had a gay uncle and gay aunt. She’s grateful that non-heterosexuality was never something that she was taught was wrong.

Jackie Cruz

CREDIT: @jackiecruz / Instagram

Before Jackie Cruz was Flaca on “Orange is the New Black,” she was befriending Khloé Kardashian in art class. The two were filmed kissing in the Kardashian’s Miami based reality show.

She told Afterellen.com, “I like the person whether it’s a woman—we don’t like to be labeled. I’m in a relationship with a man right now, but I’ve liked women in the past. So I guess we don’t want to be labeled. We don’t really talk about it, but the actions speak louder than words, am I right? So you’re seeing it. You’re living it.”

Michelle Rodriguez

CREDIT: @mrodofficial1 / Instagram

“The Fast and the Furious,” “Resident Evil,” and “Avatar” star has been private in the past, but following relationships with Kristianna Loken and Cara Delevingne, she gave a little.

“I’ve gone both ways,” she told EW. “I do as I please. I am too f—king curious to sit here and not try when I can. Men are intriguing. So are chicks.”

Jaime Bayly

CREDIT: @jaimebayly / Instagram

Peruvian novelist Bayly is married to the mother of his children, and he identifies as bisexual.

“Soy bisexual, pero ya perdí el gusto por los hombres,” he said.

Héctor Lavoe

CREDIT: “Héctor Lavoe Bisexual.” Digital Image. Latin Times. 12 July 2018.

Puerto Rican salsa singer was rumored to be bisexual though he never had the chance to go on record about his sexuality. 🙁

Emily Rios

CREDIT: @emily1loverios / Instagram

Actress Rios had to come out to her Mexican mother and experienced some serious emotional turmoil. Later on, her character came out as bisexual and she made sure the writers rewrote the scenes to better represent the bi experience.

Gabriel Romero

CREDIT: “Gabriel Romero Bisexual.” Digital Image. Latin Times. 12 July 2018.

Gabriel Romero is a Mexican actor best known for his ground-breaking role as the first openly gay character on Spanish-language television as Fernandito on “Los Beltrán.” Romero himself is bisexual and killing it.

Jessica Aguilar

CREDIT: @lowkickmma / Instagram

MMA fighter Jessica Aguilar is one of the top-seeded female strawweights in the world, but she can’t get her mother to accept her as she is. After she came out to her mother, she asked where she “picked up” on bisexuality. Aguilar just said, “you didn’t see it or learn it; you felt it.”


READ: These 25 Latinos Are Out, Loud, And Proud


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Two Trans Latinas In New York Are Starting A Beauty Co-Op To Help Trans Women Build Their Businesses

Entertainment

Two Trans Latinas In New York Are Starting A Beauty Co-Op To Help Trans Women Build Their Businesses

mirror_cooperative_ / Instagram

Four years ago, Lesly Herrera Castillo and Joselyn Mendoza both had a vision to create a worker-owned makeup and hair salon for the trans Latino community in Jackson Heights, New York. It was ambitious and for them, it was necessary. For years, the duo faced racial and gender discrimination from employers. Their own community, Jackson Heights, was also becoming a problem as the area became the site of multiple anti-trans hate crimes in recent years. So they came together with a plan to open Mirror Beauty Cooperative in 2015.

The beauty shop would create numerous jobs for the local trans community but more importantly assist undocumented individuals who were denied opportunities due to their legal status. So Castillo and Mendoza made the important decision to register the business as a cooperative cooperation (co-op). This was done so the salon would basically be “worker-run” and there would be no need for things like social security numbers, an obstacle many undocumented workers face when applying to jobs. Instead, the salon will use individual taxpayer identification numbers (ITINs).

“The significance of the cooperative for me is that it’s an opportunity to create more jobs and make a space that’s free of discrimination,” Mendoza told the HuffPost. “As trans women, we don’t often have access to a healthy economy, and this allows us to change that and obtain other services like health care.”

While their idea started four years ago, the duo hasn’t yet obtained a physical space to open up the salon. But they hope with enough support this vision can become a reality. 

Credit: @equalityfed / Twitter

While both Castillo and Mendoza haven’t opened up a physical salon space, they are both continuing to work in other salons as they continue to save and plan for the Mirror Beauty Cooperative. This past May they began to reach out to more people to help fund their goal through a GoFundMe Campaign. The results of the campaign fund have been less than 1 percent of their $150,000 goal. The duo has also faced other socioeconomic setbacks like lack of traditional education and the economic instability due to their immigrant background. 

“Latina trans women always have multiple obstacles in the way,” Mendoza said. “I think if a collective of white trans women were to start a project like this, their incubation process would be faster than ours because of their historical access to privilege.” 

But Herrera notes that the white trans community is still an ally to them even though they are on different economic levels. “We can always depend on the white trans community” to offer support “because they know they’re on a better [economic] level.”

For the trans, gender-queer and nonbinary community, job discrimination has been a reoccurring issue. According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, 16 percent of gender-queer and nonbinary respondents who had held jobs reported having been fired for their gender identity or expression. But for trans women and trans people of color, they were the most likely to have gone through this. 

While the salon is still in progress, Castillo and Mendoza have become a presence in their own neighborhood uplifting and bringing attention to the trans Latino community. 

As of now, the duo has a secret backup plan in case they don’t meet their fundraising goals by the end of the year. They hope that the campaign does one thing though, create and share their broader call for building community with people. 

That has already started to take place as Castillo, Hernandez and their new partner, Jonahi Rosa have all become presences in Jackson Heights advocating for the trans community. The trio even participated in the Queens Pride Parade as co-grand marshals. This has also included various charity events for local LGTBQ+ youth. 

They all feel that the salon has the potential to bring people together and spread awareness about issues that affect their lives every day. From the start, the trio has always wanted to not only create a space for the trans community but give them an opportunity. 

“We want to work, [and] we want to give agency to our community,” Rosa said. “It’s a perfect opportunity for our community to come together and make something for our future.”

READ: Our FIERCE Readers Share Some of the Most Outrageous Lies They’ve Told To Get Some Time Away With Their Boo

After Almost Two Years, Trans Activist Alejandra Barrera Has Been Released From ICE Custody

Things That Matter

After Almost Two Years, Trans Activist Alejandra Barrera Has Been Released From ICE Custody

transgender_together / Instagram

After nearly two years in detention, Alejandra Barrera, a 44-year-old transgender Salvadorian activist, was released from an ICE facility in New Mexico late last Friday. Human rights activists and the transgender immigrant community are rejoicing at the news that Barrera will finally be freed after being held in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention since November 2017.

Barrera, who hails from El Salvador, fled her country due to discrimination and persecution. Shortly after seeking asylum in the U.S, she was detained at the Cibola County Correctional Center in New Mexico, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s detention center with a unit specifically for transgender women that opened in 2017, according to the Phoenix New Times. During her time at the detention facility, there were numerous complaints of abuse and maltreatment of inmates that included the death of Roxsana Hernandez Rodriguez, a transgender woman who died of HIV-related complications last year. 

 Before leaving El Salvador, Barrera was a well-known activist in her home country where she stood up for transgender rights for over a decade. But with this attention also came attacks from local gangs and the Salvadoran military who targeted her and forced her to eventually leave in and claim asylum in November 2017. In spite of all of this, Barrera was repeatedly denied asylum in the U.S.

Many people and organizations helped build awareness around the release of Barrera. But it was the hashtag #FreeAlejandra that made the world know her story. 

Credit: @outmagazine / Twitter

Barrera’s release is the culmination of a year-long campaign by multiple nonprofit organizations like the Amnesty International, the Translatin@ Coalition and the National Immigrant Justice Center. This also included the help of federal lawmakers like Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Adam Schiff (Calif.), and Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.) 

Many first heard the story of Barrera with the hashtag #FreeAlejandra that circulated online for months spreading awareness of her detention. A Change.org petition demanding her freedom received more than 36,000 signatures and raised awareness of Barerra’s case using the hashtag #FreeAlejandra.

“Through letters of support, people from around the world gave me the strength to continue in this struggle that was so hard for me. I’m here to keep fighting”  Barrera said in response to everyone that helped share her story. 

Bamby Salcedo, the executive director of Translatin@ Coalition, acknowledged all the work put forth to have Barrera finally released. She said in a video posted to Facebook the day of  Barrera’s release that her “heart is so full of joy” now that Barrera is finally out.

“It was because of all of your calls, because of all of you signing petitions, showing up to the rallies, showing up the press conferences, her lawyers – everyone – all of you who wrote letters to Alejandra, everyone who participated in la campaigna de #FreeAlejandra – should be very proud because this is one more victory and we should be able to celebrate,” Salcedo said in the video. 

Barrera is currently released on parole while she waits for her asylum case to go to immigration court.

Credit: @mghtranshealth / Twitter

While Barrera is out and getting to enjoy her freedom, her fight for asylum is not over just yet. As of now, Barrera’s asylum status is still not secure and must now continue to fight against her deportation. If she is not granted asylum, Barrera faces the daunting possibility of being deported back to El Salvador. 

Denise Bell, Amnesty International’s researcher for refugee and migrant rights, told the Daily News that while her organization is happy that Barrera is out of ICE detention, the fight is not over yet. Bell says that she hopes that Barrera’s case becomes an example of what happens when people come together to bring awareness to a good cause. 

“We don’t think that she should be returned to El Salvador, where we are gravely concerned for her well-being,” Bell told the Daily News. “Trans people in detention are at a special risk of abuse because of their special medical needs, often, and [because of] their gender identity. So we just want to draw attention to the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of other trans people who are seeking asylum, who are in immigration detention [and] who should be released on parole

Barrera is currently being represented by Rebekah Wolf of the Equal Justice Coalition, who fought and brought awareness for her release. While she seeks refuge, Barrera will stay with a sponsor from the TransLatin@ Coalition. 

According to the Washington Blade, ICE estimates that at least 111 transgender people who are being held in U.S. detention centers. The number is an increase that what ICE estimated just five months prior and it does not include detainees that might have been uncounted. 

READ: Mexico Has Become The World’s Second-Deadliest Country For Transgender People To Live And Many Are Worried