Culture

22 LGBTQ+ Latinos Who Are Changing The World

It’s no secret that our culture is hella infused with homophobia and machismo, and that simply existing as Latinx and openly gay can be a political statement all on its own. Many of us just want to exist peacefully, and that wouldn’t be possible without the Latinx activists who fight to make it easier for the rest of us.

Here are 22 Latinx LGBTQ people who are unapologetically out, proud and fighting for our rights:

1. Sara Ramirez

CREDIT: @therealsararamirez / Instagram

Remember when Sara Ramirez played a bisexual character on “Grey’s Anatomy”? In addition to giving representation to the bisexual community through television, Ramirez publicly came out as queer and bisexual on October 2016 and has been advocating for bisexual visibility ever since.

2. Manuel “Manny MUA” Gutierrez

CREDIT: @mannymua733 / Instagram

If you don’t follow this boo, get on it. He’s a fierce af beauty blogger with millions of followers. He was the first-ever male ambassador for Maybelline makeup line, and rightfully so. Look at that artistry! I could never.

3. Lauren Jauregui

CREDIT: @laurenjauregui / Instagram

Jauregui is part of the band Fifth Harmony and used her star power in the most epic possible way. When she publicly came out as bisexual, it was in an open letter to then-president elect Donald Trump. The letter called out Trump supporters for using their power to vote to take away the rights of millions of Americans that finally found inclusion and acceptance in society thanks to progress. She has since used her social media platform and reach to stand up for LGBTQ fans who have been bullied.

4. Patricia Yurena Rodríguez

CREDIT: @patriciayurena / Instagram

Patricia Yurena Rodríguez won Miss Spain in both 2008 and 2013 and was the first openly gay Miss Universe Spain. Op ed: A big struggle for all women, not just lesbians, is the sense that to be productive and successful in our society, we have to be available for male consumption. Not Patricia, my boo. ?

5. Shane Ortega

CREDIT: @shaneortega_ / Instagram

Shane Ortega served three tours in the U.S. military until his physical outed him as trans and he was reassigned a desk job in Hawaii. He then came out publicly in the Washington Post as the first openly trans service member and advocates hard for the 15k+ trans service members who are, you know, fighting for the right to fight for our country.

6. Salice Rose

CREDIT: @salicerose / Instagram

Salice is mothafuggin funny. She’s a major influencer and a major representation of the religious LGBTQ community. It shouldn’t be such a statement to prove you can be out of the closet and a Christian, y’know because God loves everyone.

I’m voting to send Salice Rose as the gay missionary to all our old churches who could really learn that lesson of Christian love. Whose with me?

7. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

CREDIT: @roslehtinen / Instagram

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen became the first Latina elected to the Florida State House of Representatives back in 1982 and then again to the House of Representatives in 1989. Since then, she’s also been the first Republican in Congress to support marriage equality, and one of the only GOP members to be vocal in her opposition to Donald Trump. She is not a lesbian but is a strong ally for the LGBTQ community in her home state of Florida. Her transgender son, Rodrigo, helped her get involved in LGBTQ rights.

8. Ricky Martin

CREDIT: @ricky_martin / Instagram

Ricky Martin was a household name for over a decade while he was still in the closet. It wasn’t until he had his twins, whom he credits for teaching him the importance of honesty and the catalyst in him coming out and living his truth.

9. Maricón Collective

CREDIT: @mariconcollective1 / Instagram

The four queer artists, DJs and party planners that make up the Maricón Collective in Los Angeles make a statement with their mere existence. They hope to reclaim the word that they grew up dreading to hear (maricón is the Spanish word for “faggot”). They still face hate and one of their queer, Cholo-style murals in San Francisco’s Mission District was defaced three times.

10. Bamby Salcedo

CREDIT: @labamby1 / Instagram

Bamby Salcedo is a well-known pioneer Latina activist in the community. She’s especially focused on trans youth and has launched Angels of change, the TransLatina Coalition and the #TransLivesMatter National Day of Action. She’s also spent the last eight years as the Health Education and HIV Prevention Services Coordinator at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Thank you for your service and stellar sign making, Bamby.

11. Julio Salgado

CREDIT: @juliosalgado831 / Twitter

Salgado is a political artist who has been drawing political cartoons for queer, undocumented immigrants like himself since the mid-2000s. Salgado’s family was visiting Los Angeles from Mexico when his sister developed a deadly kidney infection and had to stay in the U.S. for life-saving treatment. If you’ve heard of “I am Undocu-Queer!”–that was all Salagado’s doing. Look up his art; it’s worth it.

12. Natalie Morales

CREDIT: @nataliemoralesloves / Instagram

Last summer, “Parks and Rec” star, Natalie Morales penned an essay for Amy Poehler’s “Smart Girls” site coming out as queer. She writes, “I think it’s important that I tell you that this familiar face you see on your TV is the Q part of LGBTQ, so that if you didn’t know someone who was queer before, you do now.”

And for “any scared kids out there”: “You’re not weird. You’re not bad. You’re not unholy. … You are an essential part of the world just as you were created, and I want to see you. The real you.”

13. Laith Ashley De La Cruz

CREDIT: @laith_ashley / Instagram

Laith is a trans model that is truly giving back to the public. With that face, that smile, and his commitment to keep his name and transition story at the forefront to break down the stigma of being trans in the LGBTQ community. Because, there are somehow gay folks that have a problem with trans folks. I know. ?

14. Stephanie Beatriz

CREDIT: @iamstephbeatz / Instagram

Woop, there she is. Another bisexual Latina who is playing a character in “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”, who also recently came out as bisexual. She’s using that opportunity to help influence the writers to tell the true story of her own life, and that of so many other bi women of color.

15. Christian Chavez

CREDIT: @christianchavezreal / Instagram

Christian Chavez was a member of Mexican pop group RBD and when he came out in 2007, it was truly revolutionary. Chavez was still living in Mexico and was photographed marrying his partner in Canada. After Mexican newspapers published their marriage, it sparked another debate leaving the country divided.

16. Carmen Carrera

CREDIT: @carmen_carrera / Instagram

We know her from “RuPaul’s Drag Race “and going up against RuPaul himself for using derogatory slurs like “tranny” and “shemale,” which she believes are transphobic. She’s since gone on to become a major name and face in the modeling industry and that’s pretty awesome.

17. AB Soto

CREDIT: @absoto1 / Instagram

AB Soto is as unapologetic as it gets, showing who he is through music (check out his album Visibility to see what we mean). He refuses to back down from showing the Latino community what it means to be gay and the LGBTQ community what it means to be Latino.

18. Carlos Padilla

CREDIT: “Carlos Padilla.” Digital Image. The Advocate. 10 April 2018.

In 2015, Carlos Padilla received the Leadership on Immigration Reform award from the National Conference on LGBTQ Equality. He’s spearheaded the Queer Undocumented Immigrant Project with United We Dream and is, himself, a queer Dreamer. He writes about the “double closet” burden for queer undocumented kids.

19. Yosimar Reyes

CREDIT: @yosoyyosi / Twitter

Originally from Guerrero, Mexico, two-spirt slam poet Yosimar Reyes currently lives in San Jose and has been featured in documentaries, anthologies.

Twitter caption: ”

Q: Who was your first crush?

A: OK, this might sound weird, but I have always known I was into dudes. Disney’s Pocahontas came out in ’95, and I fell in love with Kocoum (you thought I was going to say John Smith, but I’m decolonial). – @YoSoyYosi ???”

20. Patricia Velasquez

CREDIT: @patricia_carola_velasquez / Instagram

Patricia Velasquez is a Venezuelan actress and supermodel. She’s the first indigenous supermodel and first openly lesbian supermodel. You’ve seen her in “The L Word” and “Arrested Development.” She founded the Wayúu Tayá Foundation, which aims to assist her indigenous roots. Her memoir “Straight Walk” describes her life in poverty in Venezuela and how her first girlfriend, Sandra Bernhard, helped her realize she’s a lesbian.

21. Jennicet Gutierrez

CREDIT: @jenctegtz1 / Instagram

Jennicet Gutierrez is an undocumented Latina transgender activist for the Not1More campaign. She caused some controversy in June 2015 when she interrupted President Obama’s speech commemorating LGBT Pride Month. Her defense was recently republished in “Latinas: An Anthology of Struggles & Protests in 21st Century USA.” 

She wrote, “Last night I spoke out to demand respect and acknowledgement of our gender expression and the release of the estimated seventy-five transgender immigrants in detention right now.” Trans immigrants are 100x more likely to be victims of sexual abuse while in ICE custody.

22. Emily Rios

CREDIT: @emily1loverios1 / Instagram

Emily Rios is an out and proud lesbian Latina actress. She’s best known as Andrea Cantillo on “Breaking Bad” but also played a lesbian reporter on “The Bridge.” Not only do high-profile out and proud queer folk cause a ripple of positivity for the rest of us, but Emily worked with the writers to rewrite scenes that just didn’t accurately represent lesbians. ?

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Ricky Martin Opens Up On Being A Queer Latino And Talks New Music In Powerful New Interview

Entertainment

Ricky Martin Opens Up On Being A Queer Latino And Talks New Music In Powerful New Interview

Mike Windler / Getty Images

Ricky Martin has long been an international superstar – even long before ‘Livin’ La Vida Loca’ took over virtually every airway in the world. But it’s hard to deny that with that song, the Puerto Rican singer entered the global mainstream and ever since he’s been a pop icon.

From being one of the first major pop stars to publicly come out as gay, to acting in popular TV series, and getting married and becoming a father of four, Ricky Martin has always been a very busy man.

And despite a global pandemic that has forced all of us to stay at home and find a ‘new normal,’ Martin has forged a path forward. He recently sat down for an interview with Billboard to discuss everything from new music, the global Coronavirus pandemic, and his identity as an out and proud gay Latino.

Considering we’re all still living amid a global pandemic, the Billboard interview started on this very relevant topic.

Billboard points out that Martin and his family live in a very big and beautiful house in Beverly Hills, which likely makes staying at home a bit easier compared to the rest of us. However, Martin points out that he has a very loud home – with four kids and his mom all living under one roof. But he admits, “…I am very lucky. I am in a comfortable home where my kids can play.”

Ricky Martin is also working on new music. He released Pausa in May, and now as he works on new music the world is a very different place. He told Billboard: “I started working on my music maybe nine months ago. In my mind, the album was going to be called Movimiento, which means movement. But with all this [pandemic], it just told me… “The way it was, was not working. Let’s do it differently.” I have music with rhythm, but I was not going to tell people to move! So I named it Pausa.”

He also speaks about his close relationship with fellow Puerto Rican, El Conejo Malo.

Shortly after Billboard released its history-making cover with Bad Bunny on the the cover, Martin described San Benito as a “Latin queer icon.” Many people – of all backgrounds – took issue with that. But Ricky Martin tells Billboard that “allies are so important. Without them, our fight for equality is impossible. It really tickles me to see Bad Bunny as a gay icon — just like Cher could be. Why not?”

The Puerto Rican singer shared what his coming out experience was like and reveals he never tires of sharing it.

In the interview, Martin is very open about his coming out as gay. The singer came out as gay in 2010, married husband Jwan Yosef in 2017, and together the couple is raising four children.

Rolling Stone asked Martin, 48, what it was like to remain closeted during “the most public, exposed period” of his life.

“I had moments of extreme positivity, and not so positive [moments],” Martin answered. “Life was a bit on steroids in those days. Everything was really intense, but I could take it! I come from a school of military discipline when it comes to training for music, dance, and acting. I started when I was 12. So for me, it was about not being ready to open [up]. When you open an egg from the outside, what comes out is death. But when the egg opens from the inside, what comes out is life. It’s something that needs to come from within. Every time someone forces someone to come out, what you’re doing is you’re destroying the natural flow of the self-discovery.”

When asked what motivated him to come out publicly, Martin said that a kid somewhere in America needs to see positive headlines about coming out.

“Today I woke up to this beautiful headline that I know someone out there is in need of. The headline was something like, ‘I came out. And ever since I’ve been the happiest.’ Something like that, something… My heart is beating faster because I know today a kid somewhere in America woke up needing to hear those words. A lot of people say they get tired of talking about the same thing. Why would I? Are you kidding me? For so many years I had to keep it inside. And then the effect of someone… What people are getting from it in their healing process?”

Billboard also asked Martin his feelings on how the media is profiting and accepting Puerto Rican and Latinx culture.

When asked if he feels that the American media has gotten better or more open to understanding Puerto Rican culture, Martin responded: “We certainly have a long way to go, but the important thing is that we see that there’s an audience that is interested. And it’s up to us to bring [the] education.”

And he’s absolutely right. This year has seen several Latino artists rise to the top of all sorts of charts. Bad Bunny and J Balvin are among the most streamed artists globally and Bad Bunny is one of the most streamed artists on YouTube as well.

Meanwhile, Maluma and Jennifer Lopez are working on a film that will be out early next year. The Emmy’s, VMAs, and other award shows finally had decent representation of artists of color – particularly among the Latinx community.

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The Pope Tells Parents of LGBT Children That ‘God Loves Your Children As They Are.’

Things That Matter

The Pope Tells Parents of LGBT Children That ‘God Loves Your Children As They Are.’

Pope Francis is, once again, making headlines for his progressive views on contemporary issues. Since his election to papal office in 2013, Pope Francis has largely been considered open-minded due to his comparatively laid-back stances on controversial topics like divorce, climate change, and LGBT issues.

On Thursday, the Jesuit publication American Magazine reported that Pope Francis recently told the parents of LGBT children that “God loves your children as they are.”

via Getty Images

According to the publication, the Pope was having a dialogue with the parent of a lapsed-Catholic gay child who had left the church because “he did not feel accepted in his diversity”. The woman, whose name is Mara Grassi, is the Vice President of an association called “Jonathan’s Tent,” which “welcomes and provides information and formation to L.G.B.T. Christians, their families and pastoral workers.”

Before describing her interaction with the Pope, Grassi explained her journey as a Catholic parent of a gay child to American Magazine. “For many years I was like a blind person,” she said.

“After I came to know that my son was homosexual, I suffered a lot because the rules of the church made me think that he was excluded from the love of God. Nobody helped me,” Grassi added.

via Getty Images

It was only when Grassi attended a Catholic vigil against homophobia and connected with other parents of gay children that she realized that “faith and homosexuality are not in opposition” and that “God loves my son as he is.” And according to this most recent report, the Pope’s opinion seems to be in accordance with Grassi’s beliefs.

Grassi told American Magazine that she told the Pope she wanted to “create a bridge to the church so that the church too can change its way of looking at our children, no longer excluding them but fully welcoming them.” It was in response to this statement that the Pope told her: “The church loves your children as they are because they are children of God.”

According to the same report, before he left, Jonathan’s Tent gifted the Pope a rainbow-colored T-shirt with the words “In love there is no fear” written across the front.

Considering the Catholic Church’s traditionally conservative stances on gay issues, the Pope’s statement was surprising to many. In the past, the Catholic Church’s stance has been that homosexuality is “intrinsically disordered” and “contrary to natural law.”

The Pope himself also has a complicated track record on gay rights, implying that gay marriage “threatens” the “very institution of marriage”. However, he has also previously expressed sympathy and modest support for people in the queer community as well as their loved ones, saying “If they accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them?”.

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