Culture

Famous Latinos And Their Coming Out Stories Are The Beautiful Thing You Need To See To Know Love Is Love

Happy National Coming Out Day! Coming out to your family and friends can be hard to do, especially in a Latino household. Whether it’s dealing with the machismo culture or religious ideals that shun your sexual orientation, coming out can mean tearing your family apart. It’s important to know that you should only come out when you feel ready and will be safe in doing so. The good news is that Americans, as a society, have become more accepting of LGBTQI+ people in general, according to a Harris Poll/GLAAD poll. In honor of National Coming Out Day, we’re celebrating Latinx  who have shared their own coming out stories.

Salice Rose hid her sexual orientation because her family told her it was not right.

Rose is openly talking about how she realized she was attracted to other women at a young age. In 8th grade, she had a crush on a female classmate. When she mentioned it to a family member, they quickly shut her down, telling her that it was wrong and that she shouldn’t ever think that way. So, like a lot of people in the closet, she tried dating members of the opposite sex but was not comfortable or happy.

“The thought of me coming out never crossed my mind. I know that sounds crazy,” Rose says. “Because in high school I was always getting kicked out of schools…I was going to military schools and all this stuff so I was just like, ‘Okay. Maybe I just don’t have time for a boyfriend right now. Maybe I just don’t want it. Cool.'”

It was while she was in military school that she realized that she’s gay. That made her finally feel at peace. Years later, Rose moved to San Diego and started to live as her honest self as an out lesbian woman. She eventually called her mom to let her in on the secret she had been hiding for so long.

“I was like, ‘Mom. I don’t know how you’re going to react but I like girls, I don’t like guys. If you don’t accept me for me than that’s fine. I’m still going to be me. But if you do, great. Thank you so much,'” she recalls. “My mom was actually very, very easygoing about it. She’s always been very supportive of me. She’s my hero.”

Manny “MUA” Gutierrez shared his experience of coming out while in a religious household.

Gutierrez grew up in a Mormon household, with his family was deeply involved with the Church of Latter-Day Saints. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the LDS church and its teachings, their website says there is nothing wrong with being attracted to someone of the same sex, but marriage is out of the question, as is acting on your desires. Basically, you can be gay but you can never act on it.

“I was terrified to death about the concept of me liking a boy,” Gutierrez admits. “I knew I couldn’t do it because it was a no-no for my family and it was a no-no for the church. So I was like, ‘There’s no way in hell that I’m going to like boys.’ Basically, every single night I would pray to please not like boys because that was just what I was doing. I know it sounds kind of sad but that’s what I was doing.”

Gutierrez says his first experience with talking to another LGBTQ boy was through MySpace. As a 16-year-old, Gutierrez met a boy named “T.” \While he thought T was attractive, he tried to ignore those feelings because he wasn’t ready to admit it. But, like most Latinos, his parents were not big on the whole privacy thing. One day they decided to look through his laptop to see what Gutierrez was up to. His parents read all the messages he had exchanged with “T.” Soon after, Gutierrez agreed to go to counseling to “work through” his feelings and attraction to men. However, that didn’t work and after six months, he had to tell his parents the truth.

“My mom and my dad sat me down and they were like, ‘What’s going on with you? What’s going on in your head? Why aren’t you acting like your normal happy self?’ Because I was a happy kid,” Gutierrez says. “Again, I break down and tell them that the counseling isn’t working. I’m not changing. Nothing this person is telling me is working at all. I’m not going to not be gay. I still like boys. I still like boys. I can’t help it. So, my parents, being the loving parents that they are, tell me, ‘So, let’s take a pause on this counseling and let’s just see how things go. We want you to be happy.'”

Recently the beloved Latina singer Joy, of pop duo Jesse & Joy, penned a heartfelt letter that announced she was in a loving relationship and that she and her wife were expecting a child.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BwVsv7ulkSq/

The Mexican singer and songwriter who is also Grammy and Latin Grammy winner spoke of the power of love and how it has affected her. She also detailed the fear she experienced when she fell in love with her partner, a woman, seven years ago but how when she came to accept her feelings her world was opened up to all kinds of possibilities including a baby!

“Since I was young, I have seen sexual preferences beyond black and white: two people loving each other with consent for me is love, regardless of gender,” she wrote in both English and Spanish. “And even though I never thought that the love of my life would be a woman, 7 years ago, we met and love took us both by surprise. At first, it was difficult for the two of us to accept that we had reached our destination. But leaving aside the fear and who/what people would say, I opened my heart to embrace my happiness. Today, my wife and I are expecting our first baby, a beautiful and healthy baby girl.”


READ: Years After Coming Out To Her Parents, They Finally Joined Her At A Pride Festival

Share this story with all of your friends by tapping that little share button below!

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

This Digital Posada Is All About Helping The LGBTQ Migrant Community, Who Face A Uniquely Challenging Reality

Things That Matter

This Digital Posada Is All About Helping The LGBTQ Migrant Community, Who Face A Uniquely Challenging Reality

Spencer Platt / Getty Images

With homosexuality still illegal in more than 60 countries around the world and attitudes towards transgendered people often even less welcoming, it’s obvious why so many people risk their lives to migrate to the United States.

However, that journey to a better life is often one of many dangerous hurdles and often times, once swept up in immigration proceedings, things don’t get much better.

LGBTQ detainees across the country have shared harrowing experiences of being mocked or tortured for their gender identity or sexual orientation. Many others have been sexually assaulted while in ICE custody or while waiting for their asylum claims at the U.S.-Mexico border. And transgendered and HIV-positive detainees have both been denied medically necessary healthcare that has posed a risk to their lives.

LGBTQ migrants have the same issues and problems to worry about that all other migrants face, however, the LGBTQ experience comes with several extra hurdles.

LGBTQ migrants coming to the U.S. face unique challenges that often put them at increased risk of violence.

Credit: Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images / Getty Images

Like so many others, LGBTQ migrants are often fleeing violence and persecution in their native countries. But despite often fleeing sexual violence and trans- and homophobia, so many migrants are sexually assaulted while in U.S. custody.

While just 0.14 percent of ICE detainees self-identified as LGBTQ in 2017, they reportedly accounted for 12 percent of sexual abuse and assault victims.

Based on a new report from the Center for American Progress, a public policy research and advocacy organization, LGBTQ migrants in federal detention centers are 97 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than other detainees.

Studies show LGBTQ migrants are among the most vulnerable, more likely to be assaulted and killed, especially trans migrants. Of Central American LGBTQ migrants interviewed by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees in 2017, 88 percent were victims of sexual and gender-based violence in their countries of origin; two-thirds suffered similar attacks in Mexico.

Human rights group allege that ICE fails to provide proper medical care to LGBTQ migrants – particularly trans and HIV-positive detainees.

Migrant advocacy groups and several lawmakers have demanded that ICE release all LGBTQ detainees and anyone with HIV in the agency’s custody, because the government has repeatedly failed to provide adequate medical and mental health care to them.

“We know that lack of medical and mental-health care, including lack of HIV care, is the norm,” Roger Coggan, director of legal services at the Los Angeles LGBT Center, told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “By the Department of Homeland Security’s own count, 300 individuals identifying as transgender have been in custody and at the mercy of ICE since October of 2018.

For detainees with HIV, antiretroviral treatment is necessary to help kill and suppress the virus which ensures a healthy life but also reduces the risk of transmission to basically zero. Yet ICE is failing to provide this life-saving care.

Johana Medina Leon, a transgender woman who was detained at Otero and had tested positive for HIV, fell seriously ill and died at a hospital in nearby El Paso. Leon, 25, was the second trans woman to die in ICE custody in New Mexico in the past year. Roxsana Hernandez, 33, died in November 2018 after falling ill at the Cibola County Correctional Facility.

Meanwhile, Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy is presenting additional challenges to the LGBTQ community.

Credit: Spencer Platt / Getty Images

While the Trump administration has severely limited asylum qualifications for Central Americans fleeing gang violence and domestic abuse, migrants can still request asylum based on persecution because of their gender identity and/or their sexual orientation. But their path is far from easy.

The administration continues to return LGBTQ migrants to Mexican border cities where they face assaults, kidnappings and death while they await U.S. court hearings.

“Here, the same as at home, the police discriminate against us,” Alejandro Perez told NBC News in early October. “We’re very vulnerable. I don’t feel safe here in Mexico.”

Border Patrol officials initially said “vulnerable” asylum seekers would be exempted from the Remain in Mexico program, including those who are LGBTQ, pregnant or disabled. But that hasn’t been the case.

Thankfully, the LGBTQ Center Orange County is working hard to protect and help the most vulnerable.

Southern California is home to the nation’s largest undocumented community, which means organizations like the LGBTQ Center Orange County have their work cut out for them. However, the center has proudly stood up to help in powerful and life-changing ways.

The LGBTQ Center OC is one of the leading migrant outreach centers in the region, attending numerous events throughout the year and providing outreach at the Mexican consulate in Santa Ana – each year reaching more than 5,000 people. The center also played a pivotal role in ending the partnership of Santa Ana Police and the Orange County Sheriff with ICE, bringing an end to ICE detention within the county.

As those migrants were detained at facilities outside the county – sometimes more than two hours away – the center mobilized volunteers to help stay in touch with detainees. This team helps provide much needed companionship through letters and notes, as well as providing legal representation and even cash payments that help detainees get everything from a filling meal to in-person visits.

And the work the center does is so important because it shouldn’t just be on detainees to speak out. All of us as part of the LGBTQ and migrant communities should support those in detention and speak out about the injustices they’re suffering in detention.

The Center is hosting a digital posada and you’re invited!

We all know the tradition of a posada. So many of us grew up with a holiday season full of them and although this year will look very different (thanks to Covid-19), the LGBTQ Center OC wants to keep the tradition and celebration alive.

Posadas commemorate the journey of Mary and Joseph in search of a safe refuge, a sentiment that so many migrants and refugees in our communities can relate to. It’s with this spirit that the center is hosting it’s annual posada – but virtually.

The important event is free for all to attend but is a critical fundraising event that enables the center to do all that it does for the LGBTQ migrant community across Southern California. You can learn more and RSVP here but just know that it’s an event you do not want to miss.

Not only will you be able to virtually hang out with members of the community and leaders from the LGBTQ Center OC but there will also be a screening of the short documentary, Before & After Detention, a spirited round of lotería, raffle, and a live performance by the LGBTQ Mariachi Arcoíris de Los Angeles.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Selena Gomez Will Play Trailblazing Gay Mountaineer Silvia Vasquez-Lavado

Entertainment

Selena Gomez Will Play Trailblazing Gay Mountaineer Silvia Vasquez-Lavado

Raymond Hall / Getty

Selena Gomez is ready to make mountains into movies

The Texas-born singer, actress, and producer has set her sights on a big-screen biopic about Peruvian mountaineer Silvia Vásquez-Lavado who became the first Peruvian woman to summit Mount Everest. Vásquez-Lavado is also the first openly gay woman to scale the Seven Summits in their entirety.

In the Shadow of the Mountain is an upcoming biopic based on Vásquez-Lavado’s memoir of the same name.

The Seven Summits challenge encourages climbers to climb the highest mountain on each continent.

Vásquez-Lavado’s story of pursuit and inspiration will be produced by Scott Budnick’s impact-focused co-finance company One Community. The company is a film, television, and digital content co-financing company that “harnesses the power of storytelling to inspire and encourage positive change in the world.” The film aligns with One Community’s efforts given the fact that Vásquez-Lavado’s story follows her childhood experience of assault and neglect. According to Vásquez-Lavado mountaineering proved to be a source of healing.

Vásquez-Lavado’s memoir In the Shadow of the Mountain is scheduled to be published in winter 2022.

View this post on Instagram

I am so humbled and grateful to share this thrilling news, which has been in the works for the last 10months, that an all-star team has optioned my upcoming memoir In The Shadow of the Mountain (to be published 02-2022 by @madelinecjones Holt/Macmillan) for a movie adaptation. I am so honored and touched for the bold, talented, and brilliant @selenagomez in taking the starring role and as producer; To her incredible team @zackmorgenroth and @aleenkeshishian; Grateful to have the groundbreaking visionary #DonnaGigliotti and her Tempesta films involved; For the talented @elginnjames on the helm for screenplay and direction; And the support of @onecommunity films led by the trailblazer @scottbudnick1 and @lauren_denormandie None of this would have happened without the faith of my amazing family at @ideaarchitects, my incredible agent and dearest friend @laralovehardin, #dougabrams and my sweet family at WME led by #sylvierabineau and #carolinabeltran And to all of my family and friends, thank you for all your words of encouragement and support along this road. I can’t wait to share more! Link on my bio!

A post shared by Silvia Vasquez-Lavado (@silviavasla) on

According to The Hollywood Reporter, “Vásquez-Lavado’s work in survivor circles has been heralded, particularly her efforts to organize treks to Mt. Everest’s base camp for other women who have endured abuse.”

Oscar-winner Donna Gigliotti who is set to produce the film, called Vásquez-Lavado “a force of nature.” Scott and I are so excited to work with Elgin and Selena to tell this story of resilience, courage, adventure, and humanity.”

Gigliotti has worked on acclaimed films such as best picture Oscar-winner Shakespeare in Love, she also produced films such as The Reader, Silver Linings Playbook, and Hidden Figures.

“We are thrilled to get to work bringing Silvia’s incredible and inspiring story to life onscreen,” Budnick said of the film.

Gomez will produce the film through her July Moon Productions. Vásquez-Lavado will executive produce.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com