Culture

Here Are 9 LGBTQ+ Poets Who Will Speak To Your Soul

It’s Pride month and we all celebrate in different ways. Some of us feel our best when we pick up a protest sign and march against the homophobes in office. Others of us take four tequila shots before dropping the drab clothes that burden us and take to the streets in a rainbow flag cape. Others still, pour the hearts out in prose and poetry. 
However you plan to express yourself, you can take part in queer Latinx expressions in the quiet moments before the parades. Here’s the best of the best out there today.

1. Rafael Campo

CREDIT: “Rafael Campo” Digital Image. Poets.org. 15 June 2018.

Cubano Rafael Campo isn’t just a poet. He’s also a doctor at Harvard Medical School, which leads him to describe himself as a “a mutt, a mongrel, a kind of happy monster.” His work aims to take ownership over the sanitized medical jargon that affects people in the deepest, most personal ways.

from The Changing Face of AIDS:  V. Elegy for the AIDS Virus

by Rafael Campo

CREDIT: Rafael Campo

Campo’s primary care practice serves mostly Latinos, LGBTQ+ people and people with HIV. This man, this myth, this legend, actually “prescribes” poetry and leads poetry workshops for patients.

2. Sonia Guiñansaca

CREDIT: @soniag / Instagram

Sonia Guiñansaca is an Ecuadorian, now New York City transplant, poet and activist. She’s performed her work at The Met, The Nuyorican Poets Cafe (which we all should be at right now), and more. That means migration, climate justice, queer/femme identity and the role of art in social movements has reached the mainstream.

America Runs on Immigrants

by Sonia Guiñansaca

CREDIT: “IMG_3595.JPG” Digital Image. Sonia Guinasaca. 15 June 2018.

Sonia was born in Ecuador and migrated to NYC to be reunited with her parents when she was 5 years old. Her experience as an undocumented immigrant seeps through her writing in rich, gut-wrenching and powerful punches.

3. Ruben Quesada

CREDIT: “RQ April 2018.jpg” Digital Image. Ruben Quesada. 15 June 2018.

Quesada grew up in South Central Los Angeles and is now the co-founder of Stories & Queer among many other publications. Reading love poems written from the perspective of your gender.

Last Photograph of My Parents

by Ruben Quesada

CREDIT: Ruben Quesada

If we could all paint a picture como esa, how much more complete could we feel? By we, I mean me.

4. Joshua Jennifer Espinoza

CREDIT: @sadqueer4life / Twitter

Espinoza is a trans woman living in California. Follow her on Twitter @sadqueer4life for some of the sassiest, homo tweets on the interwebz.

This Is What Makes Us Worlds

by Joshua Jennifer Espinoza

CREDIT: Joshua Jennifer Espinoza

Our love eats the deadly sounds men make when they see how much magic we have away from them.

Just had to say it again for the people in the back.

It Is Important To Be Something

by Joshua Jennifer Espinoza

CREDIT: Joshua Jennifer Espinoza

You don’t know Espinoza’s work if you don’t know this one. Being a trans person of color puts you at more risk than almost anyone in America and we need to

5. Denice Frohman

CREDIT: @denicefrohman / Instagram
Denice is a born and raised, queer af, New Yorican who has been bringing her work to the world since she can remember. She’s passionate about working with young writers and was even Program Director at The Philly Youth Poetry Movement. 

“Dear Straight People”

by Denice Frohman

CREDIT: Button Poetry / YouTube

Sorry, fam, you really need to hear her work in slam mode. Listen to “Accents,” and try to watch it with your mom if you can.

6. Natalie Diaz

CREDIT: “Natalie Diaz” Digital Image. Poets.org. 15 June 2018.

Born in Fort Mojave Indian Village in California, Natalie Diaz is Mojave, queer, and talented af. Like a true queer badass, Diaz went to college on a full athletic scholarship for basketball and traveled through Europe and Asia before returning for her MFA.

Grief Work

by Natalie Diaz

CREDIT: Natalie Diaz

The last breaks my heart like a clay jar of wine. It’s so easy to relate to this feeling of finally coming to terms with the full picture of your sexuality. It’s silk and silt, and it’s so, so good.

7. Nancy Lorenza Green

CREDIT: Untitled. Digital Image. La Bloga. 16 June 2018.

Nancy Lorenza Green is an Afro-Chicana writer, musician and speaker. Her music is dedicated to her ancestors and the indigenous peoples of Mexico.

Queer

by Nancy Lorenza Green

CREDIT: Nancy Lorenza Green

Don’t you love when religious people, friends, your parents tell you they love you, but don’t “get in my face about it.” It being the queer. Hey, hi, hola todo el mundo, I am who I am, and I love who I am.

8. Liliana Valenzuela

CREDIT: Untitled. Digital Image. Liliana Valenzuela. 16 June 2018.

Liliana was born and raised in Mexico City and has spent much of her life conducting award winning translations of the works of Sandra Cisneros, Julia Alvarez, and others.

Fairy Dust

by Liliana Valenzuela

CREDIT: Liliana Valenzuela

If you don’t own Latinas: An Anthology of Struggles & Protests in 21st Century USA, released on the one year anniversary of the Women’s March in 2018. Her work was featured in the LGBTQ Struggles for Human Rights chapter.

9. Christopher Soto “Loma”

CREDIT: Loma. Digital Image. Remezcla. 16 June 2018.

Queer punk and prison abolitionist, Loma’s been busy cofounding the Undocupoets Campaign. They recently graduated with an MFA from NYU and has a forthcoming book called Sad Girl Poems.

Rework

by Christopher Soto

CREDIT: Christopher Soto

Oof. I’m sobbing. I’m not worthy of putting words on this page. Reread that again and let it marinate.

Want More? Get the first ever anthology of Queer Poets of Color.

CREDIT: @denicefrohman / Instagram

You can find it on Amazon, and I’d tell you all about it, but I’m still waiting on that 2-Day free shipping. 😉 Happy Pride!

Trans Activists Of Color Protested At The CNN/HRC Equality Town Hall And Audience Members Applauded

Things That Matter

Trans Activists Of Color Protested At The CNN/HRC Equality Town Hall And Audience Members Applauded

Bryan Bedder / Ethan Miller / GETTY IMAGES

CNN and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) hosted a historic town hall last night focusing on issues impacting the LGBTQ+ community. The moderators and presidential candidates tackled topics and hard-hitting issues that have severely impacted the lives of millions of LGBTQ+ Americans. The town hall happened as the Supreme Court is deciding if LGBTQ+ people are deserving of the same discrimination protections as all Americans. Here’s what happened last night.

Texas politician Julián Castro made it clear that religion will not be an excuse for LGBTQ+ discrimination in his administration.

There have numerous attempts by local and state governments to legalize religious discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community. The bills, often labeled as Religious Freedom bills, have been proposed in North Carolina and Indiana and failed. North Carolina wanted to legislate what bathroom people had to use and Indiana wanted to give religious organizations and business owners the license to outright discriminate against people based on their faith.

“If I’m elected president, the first order of business on January 20, 2021, will be to have a catalog with all of the different executive actions that this president, this administration, has taken, including exemptions that they’ve created or rolled back that has allowed people to discriminate against the LGBTQ, using as the reason their religion, their excuse their religion,” Castro told an audience member who asked how he will stop religious organizations from using their faith to dictate discriminatory laws. “I will go back to what we did in the Obama administration and then take it to the next level to protect the LGBTQ community. I don’t believe that anybody should be bale to discriminate against you because you are a member of the LGBTQ community. I don’t believe that folks should be getting funding if they’re doing that. I don’t believe that in the healthcare context, the housing context, the employment context that people should be able to do that. I support the Equality Act and will work to pass that. When I was Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, we did the transgender rule, which as I mentioned, expanded the equal access rule so that transgender individuals can find shelter in a manner that they are comfortable with and in accordance to their preference and that’s what I would do as president.”

Castro’s performance during the LGBTQ+ town hall has received praise from LGBTQ+ people.

Credit: @cmclymer / Twitter

Castro was able to speak about the issues impacting the LGBTQ+ community with an understanding that proves he isn’t going off talking points.

His conversation about faith and the license to discriminate showed his understanding of religion and LGBTQ+ people of faith.

Credit: @TUSK81 / Twitter

Castro wants to keep religion from attacking the very LGBTQ+ people of faith who depend on it. For many religious LGBTQ+ people, seeing religious leaders claim that their faith doesn’t accept them is a harsh reality.

Trans women of color let their voices be heard in a town hall that largely ignored them.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg was interrupted when he started his time on the stage. Trans activist Bamby Salcedo and other trans women of color stormed the venue holding trans flag that read “We Are Dying.” The women chanted “We are dying” and “Do something.” Some audience members joined the women in their protest however others jumped up to take the flag away and end the protest.

Anderson Cooper, who was moderating for Buttigieg, spoke up for the women as they were escorted out telling the audience, “Let me just point out, there is a long and proud tradition in history in the gay, lesbian and transgender community of protest and we applaud them for their protest.”

Cooper continued saying, “And they are absolutely right to be angry and upset at the lack of attention, particularly in the media, of the lives of transgender [people].”

Another trans activist, Blossom C Brown, also took on the moderators about the lack of Black trans voices during the town hall.

A lot of the conversation during the town hall focused on issues impacting gay men, trans women, and bisexual people. Many are calling out the town hall for ignoring trans people of color, lesbians, and non-binary people when it comes to health, housing, identity expression, and other issues impacting these communities specifically.

Ashlee Marie Preston, the only trans Black woman in the program, was taken out of the program by CNN so she publicly boycotted the event.

Credit: @AshleeMPreston / Twitter

There was a pretty glaring lack of trans women and men of color during the hours of discussion about LGBTQ+ issues. It is a common complaint within the community as trans women of color have long been ignored and silenced within the LGBTQ+ Rights movement.

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

The Supreme Court’s Term Is Starting Off With Major Cases That Will Impact The Lives Of Many Americans

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The Supreme Court’s Term Is Starting Off With Major Cases That Will Impact The Lives Of Many Americans

Molly Adams / Flickr

The nine justices of the Supreme Court will return to the chambers to an explosive docket. The court is set to hear cases covering an array of social issues from abortion to DACA to LGBTQ+ discrimination to the Second Amendment. It is shaping up to be a major term for the highest court in the land.

The Supreme Court is getting ready to hear a series of cases that could impact some of the biggest social issues in American culture.

Credit: @hshaban / Twitter

All eyes are on the Supreme Court as major cases are being presented. Some of the cases included in the docket for this term of the Supreme Court are the fate of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the definition of “sex” as it pertains to Title 7 of the Civil Rights Act and the LGBTQ community’s right to work without discrimination, an abortion case from Louisiana seeking to limit abortion rights, and a gun regulation from New York City.

On Oct. 8, the Supreme Court heard arguments about discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people.

In almost half of the country, there are no laws protecting people in the LGBTQ+ community from being discriminated against in the workplace. The Supreme Court heard arguments from two gay men and one trans woman claiming that they were fired from their places of work because of their identity.

During oral arguments, when the employers being sued in the case argued that sex is different than same-sex attraction, Justice Elena Kagan suggested that the law does favor the employees.

“If he were a woman, he wouldn’t have been fired,” Justice Kagan told General Solicitor Noel Francisco, who is representing the employers. “This is the usual kind of way in which we interpret statutes now. We look to laws. We don’t look to predictions. We don’t look to desires. We don’t look to wishes. We look to laws.”

The Trump administration is aiming to get rid of DACA protections from almost 700,000 young people.

Credit: @SenWarren / Twitter

DACA is a program that was first created by President Obama. It gave almost 700,000 young immigrants who came to the U.S. as children the chance to go to college, get work permits, and protected them from deportation. The Trump administration ended the program in 2017 and immediately threw the lives of all DACA recipients in limbo.

United We Dream, a DACA-led media company filed its own brief with the Supreme Court. The brief is a first-of-its-kind video brief with DACA recipients arguing their case for preserving DACA. The organization also included an official written brief.

“DACA has accomplished far more than affording deferred prosecutorial action. It has created lifechanging opportunities for hundreds of thousands of promising young people. DACA has allowed them to lead fuller and more vibrant lives, including by seizing opportunities to advance their education, furthering their careers, providing critical help to their families, and giving back to their communities,” reads the United We Dream brief. “Able to make use of the basic building blocks of a productive life—a Social Security number, work authorization, or driver’s license, for example—DACA recipients have thrived. They are students, teachers, health care workers, first responders, community leaders, and small business owners. They are also spouses, neighbors, classmates, friends, and coworkers. Collectively, they are parents of over a quarter-million U.S. citizens, and 70% of DACA recipients have an immediate family member who is a U.S. citizen. They pay taxes, contribute to their local economies in myriad ways, and spur a virtuous cycle of further opportunity for many Americans.”

Another case people are watching is an abortion case coming out of Louisiana.

Credit: @IlhanMN / Twitter

The case, June Medical Services v. Gee, isn’t aiming to overturn Roe v. Wade but it is hoping to limit the abortion rights of women starting in Louisiana. The law being challenged requires all abortion providers to get privileges are a hospital 30 miles from where the abortions take place.

The case is very similar to a Texas case that the Supreme Court rejected three terms ago. As such, the Louisiana case is asking the Supreme Court to distinguish between the two cases and to determine that the restriction is legitimate if a legislator vouches that the restriction is valid rather than it being valid in practice. As it stands, the law would leave just one doctor in the state of Louisiana allowed to perform abortions.

Another case getting some attention as it sits on the Supreme Court docket deals with the Second Amendment.

Credit: @DaigleLawGroup / Twitter

New York City’s original rule made it so handguns could only be transported to seven gun ranges throughout the city. While the case was originally contested because of the rule. New York City changed the rule and asked the court to dismiss the case as moot, but the court rejected the motion. This will be the first time the Supreme Court has heard a case about the Second Amendment’s reach in over a decade and is being hailed as a victory for gun rights advocates.

READ: DACA Advocates Shut Down Joe Biden At Last Night’s Democratic Debate, Here’s The Message They Delivered Loud And Clear