Culture

I Chose The Name Leia When I Transitioned And Meeting Carrie Fisher Is A Moment I Will Never Forget

It happened in a galaxy not too far away, meeting interstellar royalty. I was a cashier in a well-known beauty retailer based in the heart of Beverly Hills, California. What started as a trivial shift of organizing lipsticks and rechecking rollerballs became one of the most memorable moments in my life.

I was busy trying to solve the ever-constant mystery of lost pens. Fair to say I wasn’t completely focused on my jobs at hand as I did the meticulous work. I was rather new to Los Angeles and the beauty retail world still learning the ropes.

Credit: leiacheyanne92 / Instagram

It was that in moment a chocolate French bulldog lapped his extra long tongue on my shoes. I bent down laughing, petting him while his tongue spiraled up in between heavy pants. This wasn’t just any pampered pooch off Rodeo Drive, this dog in question was Gary Fisher, the one and only Carrie Fisher’s dog.

Credit: garyfisher / Instagram

This would be a good moment to clear up any confusion. My name is Leia, Carrie Fisher plays a character in the film series, Star Wars, Princess Leia, and Gary Fisher is obviously the full/accepted name of her dog. I wasn’t always named Leia. Up until I was 22, I was Jacob. I’m transgender. Fisher’s Star Wars character Princess Leia was always someone I looked up to. Her strength and fighting spirit are things I could relate to and I wanted to keep her strength with me. My name was now Leia and I was intentionally channeling that strength to guide me.

Credit: leiacheyanne92 / Instagram

So when I looked up to see Carrie Fisher with hundreds of dollars of sheet masks I was speechless. As a kid, I watched this woman run through the Death Star, dodging Stormtroopers braless! These are some of the most vivid memories I have from my childhood. Now it’s key to note, working in Beverly Hills, the easiest way to get fired is by making celebrities feel awkward. Oscar-nominated bad business is frowned upon. While I rang her up all I could mumble about was that her last-minute gold nail polish purchase was the “same shade as C-3PO,” and we smiled. I then saw Carrie’s eyes lock with my name tag and heard her, “Oh my God! Your name!” I nodded. She nodded. We shared a moment of clarity. I was finally acknowledged by Alderaan. Gary, Carrie, and there was I, Leia. It was the same year she passed away, but that particular day two Leia’s met in the middle. The original Princess Leia who inspired my name and taught me what it meant to be a woman had found me, accepted me, and welcomed me into her tribe. You could say it was a little luck or the Force but it’s something I’ll have a long, long time no matter how brief.

Credit: leiacheyanne92 / Instagram

I still work in the beauty industry and getting clients to remember my name comes down to one simple sentence, “Oh, and I’m Leia… like Star Wars.” The whole concept of naming oneself during a transition of gender is daunting. Many transgender/nonbinary identifying people change their name multiple times. My distinction didn’t take much thought. It was my first day in Los Angeles ordering coffee and being asked for my name, “I’m Leia… like Star Wars.” It was easily understood by the majority of the population and thus I became a part of a smile, of a sci-fi connection, of a Carrie Fisher stand up or book prologue. I was suddenly surrounded by the image of a side bunned, hard ass, space princess and if I could leave that in my wake then I knew I could be that much more memorable. Plus, my closest friends already addressed me as Leia at the beginning of my transition so it just made sense. I remember my encounter with Carrie Fisher fondly every year when May The 4th comes around and the power of that moment continues to impact my life.

READ: Why This Transgender Mexicana Picked This Biblical Name

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Selena Gomez Tells Senate to Pass Equality Act, Credits Gay Community with Launching Her Music Career

Entertainment

Selena Gomez Tells Senate to Pass Equality Act, Credits Gay Community with Launching Her Music Career

After the Equality Act was recently passed in the House, Selena Gomez is now telling the Senate to pass the bill that would give added federal protections to the LGBTQ+ community. The Mexican-American pop star also talked about her history with the gay community and how they helped support her music career.

The Equality Act would extend protections from the Civil Rights Act to the LGBTQ+ community.

The Equality Act was first introduced in 2015. The bill would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to extend protections against discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity when it came to employment, housing, education, and other public and federal accommodations. In 2019, the Senate under President Donald Trump refused to vote on the bill.

The Equality Act recently passed through the House and now Gomez wants the Senate to pass it as well.

In February, the Equality Act was reintroduced to the House of Representatives. The bill passed through the House for a second time on Feb. 25. In a recent interview with the Recording Academy, the institution that hosts the Grammy Awards, Gomez is telling the Senate to vote on the bill this time and pass it through.

“We’ve come a long way in the last 10 years, but we have so much further to go,” Gomez said about the progress of LGBTQ+ rights in the country. “The Senate must pass the Equality Act. It’s absurd that this is even being debated in 2021.”

Gomez says the gay community helped support her 2009 breakthrough hit “Naturally.”

While Gomez was promoting her Latin music EP Revelación, she also revisited a few of her past hits. In 2009, she launched her music career with her band The Scene. Later that year, Gomez got her first top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with her breakthrough smash “Naturally.” While talking about her relationship with the gay community, she says they were the first ones to show that song love.

“Earlier you mentioned my song ‘Naturally’ and I remember when it was released, it truly started getting played in the gay bars before anywhere else,” she said. “I would hear from older friends that they heard when they went out. I was so jealous that I was too young to be out and dancing to it with everyone. The LGBTQ+ community has been there for me and I don’t take them for granted.”

The Equality Act is waiting to be debated by the Senate. This is Gomez’s first time speaking in support of the bill. Last year, she launched the Black Equality Fund to support groups like the Movement for Black Lives.  In March, she also asked for the Senate to pass the People Act.

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Read: Selena Gomez and Myke Towers’ “Dámelo To’” is Everything: Listen to the ‘Revelación’ Standout

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‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Star Denali Serves Disco in Kali Uchis “Telepatía” Video

Latidomusic

‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Star Denali Serves Disco in Kali Uchis “Telepatía” Video

Even though she was recently eliminated from RuPaul’s Drag Race, Denali is creating waves online with her lip sync videos. In her latest visual, the Mexican-American drag queen tackles Kali Uchis’ viral hit “Telepatía.”

The “Latina que Patina” made her mark on Drag Race.

Denali, the self-proclaimed “Latina que Patina,” was competing on season 13 of RuPaul’s Drag Race. During her run on the show, she served plenty of moments that paid homage to her Mexican heritage, including a standout lip-sync dressed as Quetzalcoatl.

Denali, who is also of Jewish descent, finished in eighth place. We sadly missed out on a Denali and Valentina crossover moment because of that elimination. While we’re sure there will be an All-Stars placement in her future, she’s keeping her digital presence alive. On Denali’s YouTube channel, she’s done lip sync videos for Britney Spears’ “If U Seek Amy” and the Pussycat Dolls’ “When I Grow Up.”

Denali’s “Telepatía” video is everything.

Recently Denali released a video lip sync of Colombian-American singer Kali Uchis’ “Telepatía.” This is the perfect synergy of queer Latina power as Denali noted in her post. “Super thankful to Kali Uchis and her team at EMI Records for this opportunity!” she wrote. “Having had this song on repeat since it came out and it’s such an honor to promote for more queer Latinx queens.” Uchis is openly bisexual.

In the VHS-like visual, Denali is living her disco fantasy. There are moments that are reminiscent of Studio 54 and other stunning shots of the drag queen at the beach. Shanté, you stay!

Denali is not the only queer artist taking on Kali Uchis’ “Telepatía.” She retweeted the account @imirregulargirl who gives the sensual smash justice as well.

Click here for Latido Music, 24/7 Latin music videos & more

Read: Denali Foxx is Serving Mexicana Representation on ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’

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