Culture

Afro-Puerto Rican Trans Voguing Legend Leiomy Maldonado To Judge Voguing Competition Show

There’s no doubt that FX’s hit show “Pose” put voguing on the mainstream map. Queer people of color are the central characters of the show and the authentic and unflinching representation has changed the television landscape. So, of course, HBO is now bringing Ballroom culture to millions.

Afro-Puerto Rican voguing superstar Leiomy Maldonado is bringing Ballroom to the masses.

Trans voguing royalty Leiomy Maldonado, also known as Amazon Leiomy, will be a judge on HBOmax’s new competition show called “Legendary.” Eight houses will be competing on the show bringing Ballroom culture from underground and fiction to mainstream. The trailer for the show is already promising some gag-worthy moments as the Ballroom houses deliver incredible dancing.

Maldonado is a Ballroom veteran and house mother so her judgment on the show will hold a lot of weight.

Maldonado has been voguing in the Ballroom scene since she was a teenager. The Ballroom world gave Maldonado a chance to truly explore who she was and gave her a space to understand her trans identity.

As an Afro-Puerto Rican trans woman, Maldonado’s family had work to do to fully understand her. While Maldonado previously told mitú that it wasn’t until she was on “America’s Best Dance Crew” that they understood what her transition and dancing career meant.

Dashaun Wesley, also known as Dashaun Lanvin, will also be part of “Legendary” as the MC while Jameela Jamil will be a judge.

At first, Jamil was cast as the host and judge of “Legendary” but fans of Ballroom culture were not having it. The announcement faces instant and severe backlash and Jamil was suddenly no longer the host. It was shortly after the controversy that Jamil came out as queer and people questioner her motive for coming out.

There is so much love going to the people bringing this show to life.

This is a time of increasing representation on television. People want to see their stories and stories of the people they know and love reflected on big and small screens. HBOmax is taking the desire and offering people a chance to see their own queer identities and identities of those they love broadcast to the world.

Honestly, the name is perfectly fitting for the caliber of talent they have on the show.

Maldonado and Lanvin are among the most talked about and respected dancers in the voguing community. Maldonado is the mother of The House of Amazon, hence her nickname Amazon Leiomy. Lanvin’s own expertise in Ballroom culture landed him a spot on FX’s “Pose.” Lanvin plays Shadow Wintour in the series and serves the looks and moves to keep the show as exciting as it has ever been.

“Legendary” will be streaming on HBOmax on May 27.

Make sure you tune in to watch the various houses slay all day on that runway. They are guaranteed to give it all because that is just how voguers do. Thank you to all of the queer people of color who are putting this and other POC LGBTQ+ stories on the map one platform at a time.

READ: This Trans Puerto Rican Voguing Master Is So Iconic That Even Beyonce Imitated Her Dance Moves

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They Helped Get Out The Vote In November, Now These Atlanta Strippers Are Focused On The Georgia Senate Races

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They Helped Get Out The Vote In November, Now These Atlanta Strippers Are Focused On The Georgia Senate Races

Get Your Booty To The Poll / Facebook

For those of you who thought the 2020 election was behind us, well hold on to your seats because what just may be the most consequential election ever is about to take place in Georgia.

And thanks to a team of dancers from Atlanta, we won’t soon forget just how important the upcoming special election is.

A team of female dancers are focused on turning out the vote for Georgia’s upcoming dual senate run offs.

In the days following this year’s presidential election, Georgia went blue (voting for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris) for the first time since 1992. And the state saw record turnout, especially among Black and Brown voters. Much of this success is attributed to Stacey Abrams and other activists who helped register a record number of new voters.

Part of the success should also be given to a group of Atlanta strippers and dancers who made a viral get-out-the-vote ad aimed at persuading Black men to go to the polls. But with Georgia’s Senate races facing a runoff vote, the women say the work is far from done, and they are calling on young people to turn out once more.

These Atlanta dancers are hoping to reach an often overlooked electorate: Black men.

Of men age 18-34, African Americans had the lowest turnout among any listed racial group of men during the 2016 presidential election in Cobb, DeKalb and Fulton counties, according to an analysis of the data. Men who identified as Native American had the lowest turnout for Gwinnett, and were followed by Black males.

In Fulton, 29 percent of registered young Black men voted in the 2016 presidential election. Compare that to 45 percent of young Hispanic and 52 percent of young White men in Fulton.

Barnes said she wanted to connect with those Black men who feel voting and its outcomes aren’t for them. And having grown up in the metro area, she knows strip clubs are a big part of the culture — including its massive influence on hip-hop.

Original Story published October 17, 2020:

These are wild times, y’all. We are facing the election of our lifetime and on the line is the rights of millions and the dignity of our nation. This means that everyone is getting mobilized and active to make sure that voters come out in full force on Nov. 3. One ad is catching everyone’s attention.

Get Your Booty To The Poll is using pole dancing to get people to do their duty and vote.

Director Angela Barnes wanted to do something that would catch everyone’s attention during the pandemic and to remind them to vote. Her idea was to get some of the best exotic dancers from Atlanta’s best gentlemen’s clubs to do a PSA about voting. After all, we have all been told several times that “sex sells.”

The ad is getting people talking.

Some people are excited to see the ad targeting a specific group of people to vote. Others are offended that women are being objected in order to make the PSA. However, one this is for sure, the 3.4 million viewers on the tweet shows that the ad is getting everyone’s attention.

The Barnes wanted to target Black southern men, specifically in Georgia.

I wrote and directed a PSA enlisting Atlanta's finest pole dancers to encourage Black voters, specifically Black male…

Posted by Angela Barnes on Wednesday, August 12, 2020

According to her Facebook post, the video is intended to make sure that Black men in the south go out and vote. One key element in the video that the director points out is the use of ballots as dollar bills on the stage. That’s right. The cast and crew used ballots in place of dollar bills to really sell the idea of getting out to the polls to vote.

Some people are not convinced that the people who are mad are really mad.

It is a very creative way to get people’s attention, especially for voting. There are voting PSAs from almost every organization targeting almost every community. This one is clearly designed with specific people in mind and it seems to be doing its job. This is the viral content voting PSAs wish to be, tbh.

Barnes and the dancers are definitely doing their part to remind you to vote so do your part and get to the polls to vote (or vote by mail-in ballot).

The U.S. is facing a tough and very important election. The Trump administration is fighting to secure another term while Democrats are doing everything in their power to stop them. Communities of color have been the target of some of the administration’s most hateful and damaging legislation.

Get ready to vote. Register your friends. Bring them to the polls. The general election is on Nov. 3 and it is up to all of us to vote to see the policies we want.

READ: As Trump Does All He Can To Sabotage Mail-In Voting, He And Melania Request Mail-In Ballots

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

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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.

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