20 LGBTQ+ On-Screen Heroes To Binge Year Round
Being a queer Latino can be challenging, depending on how Catholic your house was, or how traditional your parents are, but I wouldn’t change that about myself for a second. We have our own subculture that has been reaching the mainstream in dozens of characters on-screen and the visibility is only becoming clearer.Here’s our roundup of the 20 LGBTQ+ heroes we crushed on as kids, and are happy kids today get to see them thrive.
1. Santana Lopez, Glee
Raise your hand if you grew up crushing on Santana and then cried when she told Brittney she loved her? She’s my #shero and belongs at the top of this list.
2. Elena Alvarez, One Day at a Time
Get you a girl who can do both. It’s everything to have a young teen lesbian be so lovingly accepted into her Cuban-American family. #Examples
3. JR, Jane the Virgin
Jane the Virgin has given us so much, but the last season’s love affair between Petra and JR was the missing piece. Rosario Dawson, bless you.
4. Jaime Castro, Broad City
The day Jaime got his citizenship on Broad City, we cried tears of gold. As an immigrant, he handles legitimate concerns in high fashion.
5. Callie Torres, Grey’s Anatomy
Callie Torres came to realize her bisexuality as an adult, and faced homophobia from her parents that many of us can relate to if you’re also a recovering Catholic. At least we get to watch Callie get married and have a beautiful baby and live happily.
6. Angel, Rent
C’mooon, you remember this classic. Angel is a proud trans Latina living with AIDs in the 1980’s and her romance with Collins was beautiful.
7. Enrique “Rickie” Vasquez, My So Called Life
Played by Wilson Cruz, Rickie was the first full on gay Latino teenager on television and gave the world one of the first glimpses into queer Latino life.
8. Maria Diega Reyes, Sex and the City
We must speak of Reyes’ static character and all the problematic issues she raises for being the Latina stereotype used to explore Samantha’s character development.
9. Oscar Martinez, The Office
We cringe alongside you, Oscar, for all the stuff his boss put him through, including theming a welcome back party “Mexican.” I’m still cringing.
10. Justin Suarez, Ugly Betty
Watching Justin and his first boo dance around their young feelings and finally getting that smooch was TV gold.
11. Adriana Mendez, The Bridge
Emily Rios just came out IRL, and her character is a badass journalist working in El Paso. Please ship her career and watch ASAP.
12. Wesley Alvarez, Dear White People
Spoiler: Season 2 features a new love interest that isn’t a savage alt-right undercover. Wesley is a cute, shy emotionally available partner to Lionel and we want your opinions.
13. Agustín Lanuez, Looking
If you haven’t binge watched HBO’s Looking yet, prepare yourself for a glimpse into San Francisco’s gay Latino scene with not one, but two gay Latino characters.
14. Dr. Luisa Alver, Jane the Virgin
I want to love Luisa so much, but hate how JTV made her a dramatic, flighty caricature of an alcoholic and lesbian stereotype. Still, this show would literally be nothing without her accidentally inseminating the wrong woman.
15. Renee Montoya, Gotham
Oh snap, Gotham City Police Department’s lead detective is an LGBTQ+ badass. If you’re here for all things Marvel, then find yourself one with an LGBTQ character.
16. Jesús Velásquez, True Blood
Velásquez brought the realidad of Latino witchiness to the supernatural real of True Blood. He was a real life brujo and it wasn’t magic realism that happened–it was real magic.
17. Dani, Glee
My girl, Demi Lovato, was Santana’s love interest in Season 5 and I was screaming. Wish you could have stayed forever.
18. Michael Sanchez, Empire
Empire featured Michael Sanchez as the on and off again boyfriend of Jamal and his eyes can cook your breakfast in a glance.
19. Paul Torres, The Following
This guy unfortunately didn’t last long on the show after he developed feelings for the serial killer the entire show is premised on catching. Why do we go after the emotionally unavailable ones?
20. Julio Zapata and Tenoch Iturbid, Y Tu Mama Tambien
This 2001 Mexican drama film features two young coming of age teens who realize they have feelings for each other and the film was a breakthrough for the LGBTQ Latino community.