Culture

These 25 Latinos Are Out, Loud, And Proud

There has been a lot of progress made in LGBTQ rights over the last ten years from marriage equality to company health care plans covering gender confirmation surgeries. While the rest of the country slowly comes around to LGBTQ people and their rights, our own community still has some work to do. There is still a machismo mentality that weighs us down as we judge people who are both Latino and LGBTQ. Here are 25 Latinos in the media that are challenging that mentality and living as open and proud people in the LGBTQ community.

1. Carmen Carrera

CREDIT: carmen_carrera / Instagram

Carmen Carrera first showed up in the media as a contestant on season 2 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Shortly after the show finished shooting, Carrera came out as trans and has since become a leading voice in the fight for trans rights and inclusion. Not only has she started discussion in the U.S. about the use of gender pronouns and the do’s and don’ts of questions you can ask trans people, she has taken her fight for trans rights to Latin America. Carrera, who has broken ground as a major supermodel, is using her fame and platform to change the way people think about trans people.

2. Johnny Sibilly

CREDIT: johnnysibilly / Instagram

Johnny Sibilly is giving queer Latino men on social media a place to gather and really be themselves. The Cuban-American actor and comedian is famous for his funny videos that poke fun of gay culture. But that’s okay, he can because he is gay so don’t get offended.

3. Aubrey Plaza

CREDIT: plazadeaubrey / Instagram

Aubrey Plaza stole everyone’s hearts as the colorful and enthusiastic April Ludgate in “Parks & Rec.” Plaza came out as bisexual in 2016 and was unapologetic about it. In her coming out interview, Plaza said that her family was always very supportive especially since she had a gay uncle and a gay aunt. It was never something that she was taught was wrong.

4. Perez Hilton

CREDIT: theperezhiton / Instagram

Perez Hilton made a name for himself as a celebrity gossip blogger. Since then, the blog site has grown into a full media company that always reports the latest in celebrity gossip and his pointed commentary has become a big part of U.S. celebrity culture. Though the writer might be single, he did not wait to start a family. The single father has three children and they are so adorable.

5. Michelle Rodriguez

CREDIT: mrodofficial / Instagram

Michelle Rodriguez always triggered gaydars since early in her career and it wasn’t until recently that Rodriguez confessed that she loves men and women. After years of secrecy, Rodriguez opened up about her sexuality because she is not ashamed and does what she likes. Just so happens she likes men and women and that’s just fine.

6. Shane Ortega

CREDIT: theonlyshaneortega / Instagram

Shane Ortega was the first openly trans member of the United States Armed Forces. After years of keeping it secret, Ortega realized that it was important to come out and live his authentic life. In recent months, Ortega has become a major figure once again in the discussion about trans people serving in the military as President Trump has tried banning trans people from serving.

7. Patricia Velasquez

CREDIT: wayuuprincess / Instagram

The supermodel came out publicly in 2015 in her memoir title “Straight Walk.” The decision to come out, according to Velasquez, was because of her daughter and teaching her to be honest. As a model in 1990s, Velasquez struggled with hiding her sexuality in order to succeed in the industry at a time when being openly gay would end your career.

8. Sara Ramirez

CREDIT: eqaulitymarch2017 / Instagram

Sara Ramirez had a very public coming out during a speech at the True Colors Fund and let it all out without looking back. The “Grey’s Anatomy” star is using her voice and her platform to talk about the importance of not erasing bisexuals from the conversation. She was also a speaker at the Equality March in Washington in 2017.

9. Bella Thorne

CREDIT: bellathorne / Instagram

All it took was a one-word tweet for the actress to come out as bisexual. In 2016, a fans asked Bella Thorne on Twitter is she was bisexual. Her response: “Yes.” It set off a firestorm of fans celebrating the star’s decision to come out and she fanned the flames with posts to social media of her with a woman.

10. Mondo Guerra

CREDIT: mondoguerra / Instagram

Mondo Guerra came in second place on season 8 of “Project Runway” and has offered more than just fashion. Guerra is HIV-positive and has been a vocal supporter of HIV-positive living advice. He has written op-eds discussing the realities of being HIV-positive and the possibility of living a full life with the disease. Being open about the disease is something that more people need to hear about as Latino youths are seeing an increase in HIV infections.

11. Christian Chavez

CREDIT: christianchavez / Instagram

You might know Christians Chavez from a little group known as RBD, but did you know that in 2007 he came out as gay? A gossip site published photos of the singer marrying his partner in Canada. After the photos were published, Chavez addressed the issue and Mexico was deeply divided over the sudden news.

12. Guillermo Diaz

CREDIT: guillermodiazreal / Instagram

Guillermo Diaz has been adamant in different interviews that people get too caught up on the whole gay thing. There is no real coming out moment for Diaz as an actor and he maintains that he has always been open about who he is since she started acting. That’s probably why there haven’t been headlines saying that he finally came out because he has just always been out.

Read: The 24 Slayingest Latina Queens From ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’

13. Stephanie Beatriz

CREDIT: iamstephbeatz / Instagram

The “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” actress got to come out twice. First, she came out as herself via a one-word tweet. This seems to be a pretty common way to come out in the 21st century. Beatriz retweeted Aubrey Plaza’s coming out interview and just said, “Yup.” She then confirmed when fans tweeted asking the star if it was true. She then got to come out again as her character on “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” giving Beatriz a chance to give bisexual Latinas representation on and off the show.

14. AB Soto

CREDIT: absoto / Instagram

AB Soto has never really been in the closet. He made his name in the gay music scene and then “Cha Cha Bitch” was released and the world lost it. Soto is in the video dancing around in a pink sequined charro outfit and he continues to be an out and vocal Mexican-American. The singer wants to use both parts of his identity to show that it is okay to be gay and Latino.

15. James “Valentina” Leyva

CREDIT: allaboutvalentina / Instagram

Valentina was a favorite to win season 9 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” but one ill-timed face mask ruined it all. The Los Angeles native has made quite the career for himself since leaving the show and performs around the world as Valentina and fans eat it up. As Valentina, Leyva wants to give the world a taste of Latina culture through dress, makeup, and song.

16. Lauren Jauregui

CREDIT: laurenjaurgeui / Instagram

She might be a powerhouse in Fifth Harmony but Lauren Jauregui is even more of a force in the public sphere. The singer came out publicly in an open letter to President Trump after his campaign full of demonizing and dehumanizing minority communities. Since then, Jauregui has been outspoken on social media defending LGBTQ followers when they are bullied. That’s using your fame for good on a small scale.

Read: 25 Of Lauren Jauregui’s Most Stunning Looks From Streetwear To Costumes

17. Manuel “Manny MUA” Gutierrez

CREDIT: mannymua733 / Instagram

Manuel “Manny MUA” Gutierrez is Maybelline’s first male makeup model. The social media makeup guru walked into the scene and kind of slayed all the way through. Some people tried to bully him because of the whole man wearing makeup thing but his father was quick to shut down the trolls to tell them that they need to chill.

18. Salice Rose

CREDIT: salicerose / Instagram

Salice Rose loves God, making fun videos, and women. The YouTube and Instagram personality came out publicly years ago and did so with a simple message: love yourself. Rose uses her large social media reach make people laugh and to talk about serious issues like coming out and the importance of accepting family.

19. Gisele Alicea

CREDIT: giselealicea / Instagram

Gisele Alicea started her transition when she was 17. Thankfully, she had her mother’s full support to make the transition and was with her at every doctor’s appointment. As her body changed to be more feminine, she was approached by a photographer on the streets and they asked to photograph her. Since then, Alicea has become a major face in fashion modeling and the rest is history.

20. Laith Ashley De La Cruz

CREDIT: laith_ashley / Instagram

Laith Ashley de la Cruz had his first modeling photoshoot at the very beginning of his transition. De la Cruz didn’t realize that he was trans until later in life but was fully supported by his family. The model wants to use his own platform to continue to challenge the idea of trans in the eyes of the rest of the world.

21. Roy “Bianca Del Rio” Haylock

CREDIT: thebiancedelrio / Instagram

He won season 6 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and is one of the funniest and raunchiest queens out there. Roy Haylock started a costumer in New York, after being displaced by Hurricane Katrina, and eventually began to try drag. Good thing too because now he has a worldwide career as Bianca del Rio and it is not slowing down ay time soon.

22. Emily Rios

CREDIT: emily1loverios / Instagram

Emily Rios is currently in the show “Snowfall” but before that she was a star on “The Bridge.” The actress and model played a lesbian Latina on “The Bridge” and the similarity to her life was not lost on her. Rios had to come out to her Mexican mother and experienced the same emotional turmoil about that fact as her “The Bridge” character. She even had a hand in making sure the character was written on the show to make sure that the character portrayed a real experience.

23. Ricky Martin

CREDIT: ricky_martin / Instagram

Ricky Martin was all over the place when “Livin’ La Vida Loca” shook the United States. Yet, he kept a secret to himself for years before finally declaring to the world that he is gay. Since coming out, the singer has started a family with his twins and his husband Jwan Yosef. Martin is not hiding himself anymore.

24. Wilson Cruz

CREDIT: wcruz73 / Instagram

If you have ever consumed gay media, you have seen Wilson Cruz. The actor has long played gay characters and recently starred in “Star Trek.” While he makes money by entertaining us, he uses his free time to talk politics and get politicians to pay attention to the things that matter. During the 2016 campaign, Cruz was walking down Santa Monica Boulevard with then-candidate Bernie Sanders to discuss the issues facing the LGBTQ community.

25. Orlando Cruz

CREDIT: @ElFenomenoCruz / Twitter

Orlando Cruz is a boxer who was prompted to come out after the Pulse Nightclub shooting. The Puerto Rican, Orlando-based boxer realized that life is short and he can live his life to the fullest unlike the 49 people who died in the nightclub that night in 2016.

This Woman’s Viral Poem Explores The Cultural Stigma Attached To LGBTQ Identities

Fierce

This Woman’s Viral Poem Explores The Cultural Stigma Attached To LGBTQ Identities

@2shotsofmely / Twitter

We all know how annoying family can be, nitpicking and offering opinions about how we choose to live our lives. Sometimes, though, our relatives’ perspectives are more than frustrating—they can be hurtful, causing us to question and doubt our place in the world. For many of us, it may be really difficult to address these issues with our loved ones, and we might often need to process these complex situations on our own before we can make any progress within our relationships. For Twitter user Hot Girl Scholar (@2shotsofmely), art was part of this process. She addressed some deep family conflict through poetry, and y’all, Twitter was shook.

According to her pinned tweet, @2shotsofmely and her family emigrated to the US from the Dominican Republic when she was seven years old. In May of this year, she graduated cum laude from Clark University with a BA in English and a minor in Education, ecstatic to dedicate her degree to immigrant and first-generation students. By embracing her role as a “hood girl, educator, and undercover poet,” @2shotsofmely is “living [her] mama’s wildest dreams”—although the poems that have electrified Twitter focus on some hard-to-swallow cultural viewpoints, reiterated by su madre y su abuela.

In poetry, the author of the poem is not always the speaker of the poem, but because of the caption in @2shotsofmely’s post (“Heard it so much I wrote poems about it”), it is clear that these poems—displayed on the walls of Elevated Thought, a Lawrence-based art and social justice organization—are written from her perspective. 

In one poem, “Negra Yo, Pero El No!,” @2shotsofmely acknowledges the hypocrisy (and the shadowy nature of racism and colorism) that defines how her mother reacts to a hypothetical boyfriend: based on the title, we know that @2shotsofmely’s mother is black, yet she proclaims that if @2shotsofmely ever dated a moreno, he must have a thin nose—la nariz fina—green eyes like @2shotsofmely’s grandfather, and “good hair.” In other words, he must not have black features. Why? “Because hay que refinar la raza.”

In the other poem, “LGBTQue?,” @2shotsofmely explores the cultural stigma attached to LGBTQ identities, affirming that her grandmother would “prefer [we] open [our] legs for all the men in the barrio before we walk around with a sister in our arms.”

The original tweet has garnered over 2.3k likes and 900 retweets—people can’t stop gassing @2shotsofmely’s badass display of honesty, the simultaneous pride in and critique of her roots. Several people expressed solidarity, citing events from their own lives that mirrored @2shotsofmely’s poetry.

This Twitter user really related to @2shotsofmely’s experience on the receiving end of her mother’s words.

This Latina responded in Spanish, explaining that her own grandmother married a white man para “mejorar la raza,” but affirmed that it wasn’t her fault—this point of view, according to @ditasea88, is a remnant of colonization.

This Twitter user applauded “LGBTQue?” for its resonance and truth.

Her poems even moved some folks to tears.

Although each of these tweets suggests a common experience which is largely negative, the response to @2shotsofmely’s poetry was rich with compassion—not only for those other Twitter users who share that experience, but for the madres y abuelas whose lives were very different than ours, and who had to make different decisions as a result. History is complex and difficult to synthesize without a broad contextual understanding, and @2shotsofmely’s work draws attention to how cultural patterns from the past can leave a dark impact on the present. However, alongside the criticism and pain at the core of these poems, there is something else: a sense of defiance and hope.

Now, in the midst of the political chaos within our country, it is especially important to celebrate the victories of individuals and groups creating supportive platforms for folks—particularly people of color—to express themselves. It is always exciting to see expressions of Latinidad—from art to poetry to a bomb Insta selfie—spark conversation and communion, even if people are relating about moments that have left them hurt or bruised. In a way, this type of conversation creates a sense of camaraderie, amistad—a feeling of familia.  

And although a lot of Latina familias struggle with antiquated viewpoints (like those presented in @2shotsofmely’s poems), times are changing, and cultural expectations are becoming more inclusive to Latinx people with a range of diverse identities. Often, the more difficult aspects of our upbringing lead us to create meaningful work and connect with others who can relate to us—@2shotsofmely’s poetry is a great example of how intergenerational trauma can produce beauty, connection, and personal growth when you honor yourself and your dreams. @2shotsofmely, you go, girl!

Here’s How Students At A Catholic High School Reacted When School Officials Threatened To Out Their Fellow Gay Peer

Things That Matter

Here’s How Students At A Catholic High School Reacted When School Officials Threatened To Out Their Fellow Gay Peer

Buzzfeed Twitter

Students at a Catholic high school in Los Angles staged last week in unity with a gay classmate who says shows harassed by the school for her sexuality. 

According to a recent report published by Buzzfeed, officials at the school threatened to out high school senior Magali Rodriguez. Following Buzzfeed’s report, which was published last Thursday, students at Bishop Amat Memorial High School, staged a walkout on Friday.

Bishop Amat students organized a walkout protesting the alleged actions of officials at their school on Friday.

According to Buzzfeed, Rodriguez attended Bishop Amat, for three years. The high school senior said that the incidents began to occur during her freshman year when she first began dating her girlfriend when the school’s dean confronted the couple and claimed that students had “complained about their relationship.”

 During her time at the school, Rodriguez claimed that she had been subjected to various disciplinary meetings and counseling sessions. She was also kept from sitting beside her girlfriend during lunch hours. In the report by Buzzfeed, Rodriguez claimed that school officials had threatened to out her to her parents if she refused to comply with their rules, which were not forced onto the straight students in relationships at the school. Rodriguez claims that though she was never publicly affectionate with her girlfriend at school, she felt constantly monitored by officials at the school. In one incident, Rodriguez said that a staff member approached the two teenagers during summer school and told them that they would both go to hell and that “she was trying to get them expelled.”

At the time, Rodriguez had come out to her peers but had not yet come out to her parents. 

Ultimately, Rodriguez’s grades and mental health took a toll until she decided to write her parents a letter and come out.

“Rodriguez, a high school senior, tried to stay positive and get through it, but after more than three years, she was at breaking point,” reported Buzzfeed. “She was crying every day before school, her grades suffered, and spending time on campus brought intense waves of anxiety. So she decided to speak up — first to her parents and now publicly.”

Ultimately Rodriguez’s parents withdrew her from the Catholic school. Speaking to Buzzfeed Rodriguez’s mother  Martha Tapia-Rodriguez condemned the school for how they treated her daughter saying, “They took it upon themselves to parent our daughter, to counsel her, to lecture her.”

When news of the way the school had treated Rodriguez went public, her former peers decided to stage a walkout.

The walkout took place during the student’s seventh period on Friday and lasted for an hour and a half until the school day ended. 

Several students BuzzFeed News spoke to Saturday said they hadn’t heard about Rodriguez’s experience prior to the article, and were shocked to learn how she was treated. One anonymous student who took part in the walkout spoke to Buzzfeed about the incident saying, “I never would’ve imagined Amat to be an environment like this… Once I started to read about the article I was in full shock. I decided to walk out to stand up for her.” This same student claimed that while teachers had commented on the situation saying that there were “two sides to every story” none attempted to put a stop to the protest.

According to the unnamed student, the school’s principal made an announcement before the school lunch bell that they were aware of the Buzzfeed report and had offered counseling services to students who had concerns. 

Two hundred students took part in the walkout, and according to the student interviewed by Buzzfeed, students chanted prayers for Rodriguez. Some called her via FaceTime to show what was being done. 

“I decided to walk out because I wanted to take a stand,” another student told Buzzfeed. “I didn’t agree with what the administration did with the situation and I feel like it was a good idea for the student body to stand as one to show our support for Magali.”

According to a tweet shared in response to BuzzFeed News’ original report, the school has said that it is not intolerant of LGBTQ students.

“Bishop Amat High School is committed to providing a supportive and inclusive learning environment for all students, irrespective of their sexual orientation,”  Bishop Amat said in a statement.

According to a tweet shared in response to BuzzFeed News’ original report, the school has said that it is not intolerant of LGBTQ students.

“Bishop Amat High School is committed to providing a supportive and inclusive learning environment for all students, irrespective of their sexual orientation,”  Bishop Amat said in a statement.

According to a tweet shared in response to BuzzFeed News’ original report, the school has said that it is not intolerant of LGBTQ students.

“Bishop Amat High School is committed to providing a supportive and inclusive learning environment for all students, irrespective of their sexual orientation,”  Bishop Amat said in a statement.