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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

@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

@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

@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

@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

@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

@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

@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

@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

@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

@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

@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

@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

@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

@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

@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

@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

@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

“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

@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

@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

@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

@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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Singer-Songwriter Kany García Speaks Out Against Conversion Therapy in Puerto Rico

Entertainment

Singer-Songwriter Kany García Speaks Out Against Conversion Therapy in Puerto Rico

As the Puerto Rican government is debating a bill on conversion therapy, Kany García is speaking out against the controversial practice. The Boricua singer-songwriter wrote an open letter to the senators in favor of Senate Bill 184, which would help end conversion therapy on the island.

Kany is one of Puerto Rico’s most-decorated artists.

García is one of the Puerto Rico’s top artists. She’s won six Latin Grammy out of a career 20 nominations. In March, she was also nominated for her third Grammy Award for her latest album Mesa Para Dos.

This year Kany celebrated five years since coming out.

On Valentine’s Day 2016, García revealed that she was in a relationship with her partner, Jocelyn Troche. The couple is still going strong with Troche appearing in last year’s “Lo Que En Ti Veo.” She and García share beautiful moments in the video. At November’s Latin Grammy Awards, there was a big wave of artists in the LGBTQ+ community in the major categories, including García, Ricky Martin, Pablo Alborán, and Jesse y Joy’s Joy Huerta.

She’s telling Puerto Rican senators to pass Senate Bill 184 in her letter.

Since coming out, García has remained at the forefront of queer issues in Puerto Rico. The passage of Senate Bill 184 seeks to prohibit conversion therapy. The controversial practice has long harmed LGBTQ+ communities. It’s thought of as a way to rid them of their queer gender or sexual identities.

“Puerto Rico deserves that every girl and boy, every young woman and young man can be who they want to be and love who they want to love,” García wrote in her letter. “This measure has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with the protection of Puerto Rican children and youth.”

García speaks from her own experience. “I am an example of how to be faithful to who you are. I am a woman who deeply loves her partner and who is loved by her family and by our people. There is nothing to change. There is nothing to repair. There’s nothing to heal. We have to give the same opportunity that I have had, to be who I am, to all our children and youth.”

García further writes that the bill should be passed as-is without any amendments. According to Al Día news, Popular Democratic Party Senators Gretchen Hau, Elizabeth Rosa Velez, and Migdalia Gonzalez have filed several amendments to Senate Bill 184 as of Wednesday. Puerto Rico’s governor Pedro Pierluisi has indicated that he’s ready to override the senators if necessary.

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Read: Thalía, Alejandra Gúzman, Anitta And More Lined-Up for ‘Ellas y Su Música’ Mother’s Day Special

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The Cast of ‘Glee’ Along With Demi Lovato Paid Tribute to Naya Rivera At the GLAAD Awards

Entertainment

The Cast of ‘Glee’ Along With Demi Lovato Paid Tribute to Naya Rivera At the GLAAD Awards

Photo via Getty

On Thursday, the cast of “Glee” paid tribute to Naya Rivera at the GLAAD Media Awards. Rivera was a once-in-a-lifetime talent the touched so many lives personally and through the screen while she was alive. But perhaps none of Naya’s roles were as impactful as Santana Lopez was.

This year, GLAAD decided to take time to honor the impact Naya Rivera had on LGBTQ representation onscreen.

During a time when LGBTQ represenation onscreen was rare, Santana Lopez was groundbreaking for being both queer and Latina. Santana went from a shut-off closeted cheerleader to an out-and-proud lesbian woman. This was a story arc many queer kids had never seen before.

Demi Lovato introduced the cast of “Glee” with a touching speech. She described how honored she was (and still is) to have played Santana’s girlfriend, Dani, on the show.

“I don’t have to tell you that this year was a tough, tough year,” Lovato said. “A particular moment of heartbreak stands out for me: losing my friend Naya Rivera. I will always cherish the chance I got to play Naya’s girlfriend, Dani, on ‘Glee.’”

“The character Naya played, Santana Lopez, was groundbreaking for closeted queer girls — like I was at the time,” she went on. “And her ambition and accomplishments inspired Latina women all over the world.”

Then, dozens of former “Glee” cast members gathered via Zoom to pay tribute to Naya Rivera.

The tribute featured former “Glee” actors like Darren Criss, Jane Lynch, Matthew Morrison, Amber Riley, Heather Morris, Harry Shum Jr., Jenna Ushkowitz, Chris Colfer, and Kevin McHale. There were also many others.

“Naya would be honored to receive this recognition,” read the statement. “When Naya was told that Santana would be a lesbian she called me to let me know and I asked her how did she feel about that and she said ‘I feel great about it!'”

“This year marks the tenth anniversary that Naya’s character, Santana Lopez, came out on ‘Glee’,” said Dot-Marie Jones, who played Coach Beast on the Fox series.

“Santana basically got disowned by her family. And as alot of us know, that’s a feeling too many LGBTQ kids know too well,” continued Chris Colfer, who played Kurt Hummel.

The loving tribute then ended with a written statement from Naya Rivera’s mother Yolanda Previtire, who couldn’t make it to the call.

“Little did we know that she would impact so many people in the LGBTQ community. Her desire was to always be an advocate to those who did not have a voice.

“She continued: “I don’t believe that she realized how important she was to this world. I am grateful that my eldest daughter helped to change the landscape of how we view and see each other.”

“Her desire was to always be an advocate to those who did not have a voice,” the message read, in part. “I don’t believe that she realized how important she was to this world. I am grateful that my eldest daughter helped to change the landscape of how we view and see each other.”

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