culture

These Latinx Queer Organizations Need Your Money More Than You Need Corporate Rainbow Socks

it_gets_better_project / Instagram

Come PRIDE month, we see every company from REI to Target slapping a rainbow on their brand to support the LGBTQ+ movement. That’s great–it’s always a comfort to see someone displaying a symbol of safety and inclusion.

However, we have to do more than that. The LGBTQ+ movement has certainly made strides since 1969, but we’re still being murdered in the streets and ejected out of our careers in the federal government. There isn’t enough space for us to have the same opportunities as straight folks, and the numbers get worse for queer people of color. So go buy those rainbow socks and then throw twenty bucks to one of these organizations supporting LGBTQ+ Latinos in other ways.

It Gets Better Project

@it_gets_better_project / Instagram

We saw a slew of celebrities in the last ten years join forces with the It Gets Better Project. Founded by Dan Savage in 2010, the social media campaign aims to highlight stories targeted toward LGBT youth to prove that it gets better. More than half of trans people attempt suicide at some point in their lives. We need this campaign.

Donate here.

The Trevor Project

@trevorproject / Instagram

After the Academy Awards honored short film “Trevor,” the Trevor Project has exploded to offer suicide hotline services to LGBTQ+ youth under 25 years of age. The organization has grown with the times to also offer webchat and text message services, saving lives 24/7.

Donate here.

The Los Angeles LGBT Center

Los Angeles LGBT Center / Facebook

Los Angeles is a city made of near majority Latinos, which means that the LA LGBT Center might be the most comprehensive health service provider of LGBT Latinos in the country. Not only does the center offer mental health services, housing for homeless youth, and job training for one of the most marginalized communities in the country, their advocacy team is actively getting bills passed that provide funding for these services.

Donate here.

The Trans Latina Coalition

@translatinacoalition / Instagram

Trans Latinas who immigrate to the U.S. to seek asylum from their probable murders in their home country arrive at Trump administration’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention centers for basic human rights abuses. The TLC is offering resources to trans Latinas in detention centers in California, Florida, Chicago, Texas, and the Washington areas.

Donate here if you think immigration is an LGBTQ+ issue.

The National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network

@nqttcn / Instagram

If you’re a QPOC you know how impossible it is to find mental health resources that are culturally competent enough to actually treat our mental health needs resulting from discrimination. It’s infuriating. This organization offers an actual network of therapists and we need it to grow.

Donate here.

Pride Fund to End Gun Violence

@Pride_Fund / Twitter

This Political Action Committee (PAC) is supporting candidates who are demanding gun policy reform as informed by the fatalities the LGBT community grieves because of gun violence. The PAC was formed after the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando and has helped get folks into the positions of power needed to change gun laws.

Donate here.

Casa De Esperanza

@casa_de_esperanza / Instagram

Based in Minnesota, this group is working to end domestic violence in the Latinx community by offering shelter and hotline. More than 50 percent of queer Latinas have experienced physical violence, rape or stalking by their partners. This organization is working to respond to the needs of these women.

Donate here.

National Latina Institute For Reproductive Health

@NLIRH / Twitter

Caption: “Nearly 31% of Black women of reproductive age and 27% of Latinas of reproductive age are enrolled in #Medicaid.”

The NLIRH is a crucial element in understanding and preventing gender inequalities for Latinas, specifically. They are doing the research that nobody else will, to understand how brown women fair in reproductive justice. The group fights for abortion access and immigrant health rights and so much more.

Donate here.

Nalgona Positivity Pride

@nalgonapositivitypride / Instagram

If you can’t donate, you need to follow @nalgonapositivitypride to get indigenous body positivity in your feed. Founder Gloria Lucas is tapping into something we feel in our bones–the colonization of our minds and how living in a white society has created a crisis of eating disorders rampant among communities of color. The NPP offers educational resources and support groups for survivors.

Donate here.

Mijente

@conmijente / Instagram

Marisa Franco created Mijente to co-conspire campaigns for Latinx, Chicanx and Black rights. This is intersectionality at its finest, prioritizing queer, poor women of color through organizing. Don’t give up on organizing–it’s given us PRIDE!

Donate here.

Equality Federation

@equalityfed / Twitter

This Federation is organizing state-based organizations to target the federal government to meet LGBT people where they are. Just recently, they’ve demanded the government invest in public education and divest from privately run charter schools that preach abstinence and exclude LGBT history from their curriculums.

Donate here.

Casa Ruby

@CasaRubyDC / Twitter

Trans Salvadoreña Ruby Corado has created a safe space in Washington D.C. for LGBTQ youth. As trans youth begin to transition, the cost of clothing to adjust to their rapidly changing bodies is often too expensive for anyone to bear. Casa Ruby offers clothing exchanges, hot meals, and housing referrals, as well as legal counseling for youth.

Donate here.

These organizations give LGBTQ+ Latinx people somewhere to turn to. This is what PRIDE is all about.

READ: Boston Heteros Are Calling For A Straight Pride Parade And Twitter Is Not Having It

This Mexican City Has Grown Into A Major LGBTQ Destination But It Wasn't Always That Way

Culture

This Mexican City Has Grown Into A Major LGBTQ Destination But It Wasn’t Always That Way

omgitsjustintime / Instagram

The year 1492 was a momentous year for Spanish and Latin American history. Not only is it the year that Christopher Columbus invaded Indigenous lands in the ‘New World’ but it’s also the year that the Spanish drove out Muslims and Jews from Spain.

It also happened to be a big year for homosexuality.

At the time, two Spanish monarchs were believed to have been homosexuals, and that Isabela’s own succession to the thrown had been contested by her notoriously homosexual half brother, Enrique IV, had raised the issue of homosexuality to the forefront of royal and public consciousness.

So when all of this Spanish colonial history converged on present-day Mexico, there were a wide degree of views.

Credit: museonacionalantropologia / Instagram

After the Spanish conquest in 1519, the Spanish Inquisition was established and the Catholic Church dictated most rules regarding society and living, including capital punishment for homosexuals.

Much like the Catholic Spaniards, the Aztecs punished homosexual relationships with death. They placed great importance on masculine ‘macho’ identity and warriors and soldiers were often idolized for their machismo.

While the Mayans, Toltecs and other Indigenous groups accepted third genders and same-sex partnerships as part of their communities. It’s said that they even hosted giant orgies that allowed same-sex relations.

It wasn’t until the intellectual influence of the French Revolution and a brief occupation by the French Empire that same-sex activities were decriminalized.

But the values of strong Catholic influence would take another hundred years to give way to a real LGBT movement. During the 1970s, a new generation of politicians and intellectuals began discussing their sexual preferences openly and promoting the adoption of equality laws that ensured that LGBT Mexicans and foreigners living in the country received the same rights as their heterosexual peers.

Jump forward 500 years, and in many ways, modern Mexico is pretty tolerant of its LGBTQ community – or at least its capital, Mexico City.

Credit: omgitsjustintime / Instagram

Today, the bustling capital of 20 million people appears to be a LGBTQ sanctuary, with openly-gay couples kissing and holding hands in all parts of the city. The city hosted Latin America’s first Gay Pride Parade in 1979 and it remains one of the world’s largest. And the city has a thriving, internationally popular queer nightlife scene.

The city even has its own LGBTQ district in the Zona Rosa – or Pink Zone. This giant gayborhood is packed full of LGBTQ-oriented shops, support groups, health centers, bars, cafes, and clubs. And it happens to be located in the city’s most popular areas along Paseo Reforma.

Public sentiment is shifting as well. CONAPRED (National Council to Prevent Discrimination) found in 2005 that 70% of Mexican citizens rejected the idea of same-sex marriage. Nowadays, numbers have reversed, and 68% of the population doesn’t see why same-sex couples couldn’t be married.  

Some of Mexico’s greatest icons were members of the LGBTQ community.

Credit: fridakahlo / Instagram

One of the first LGBT activists was Nancy Cárdenas. Cárdenas, writer, actress, and theater director, inspired by the LGBT movements in Europe and the United States, began to direct gatherings of LGBT writers. In 1973 she was the first Mexican to openly discuss her homosexuality on Mexican television and she founded Mexico’s first LGBTQ organization in 1974, the Homosexual Liberation Front (FLH).

Frida Khalo was openly bisexual and had relationships with women while being in the media and married to Diego Rivera. Today, she’s an international icon for not only the LGBTQ community but also Mexicanidad and Chicanos.

Although Juan Gabriel never spoke to the media about his sexuality, many Mexicans consider him an LGBTQ icon who kept his personal life to himself.

But today’s polished image as a gay mecca didn’t come without sacrifice.

Perhaps one of the most famous stories of anti-gay sentiment in Mexico came in 1901 on a raid of a gay bar in central Mexico City. The event today is now called El Baile de Los 41 – or the Dance of the 41. This raid predated the Stonewall Inn uprising by 68 years!

Police illegally raided a private home and arrested (officially) 41 men, 19 of whom were dressed in drag. Rumor has it that though that there was a 42nd man dressed in drag, who happened to be the son-in-law of President Porfirio Diaz.

The Dance of the 41 was such a huge scandal that to this day the number 41 remains taboo. No division, regiment, or battalion of the army is given the number 41. From 40 they progress directly to 42. No payroll has a number 41. Municipal records show no houses with the number 41. No hotel or hospital has a Room 41. Nobody celebrates their 41st birthday, going straight from 40 to 42. No vehicle is assigned a number plate with 41, and no police officer will accept a badge with that number.

At one point, police shut down every single gay bar in the city.

During World War II, Mexico City had a thriving gay nightlife scene with 10-15 gay bars operating around the city. Relative freedom from harassment continued until 1959 when Mayor Ernesto Uruchurtu closed every gay bar following a grisly triple murder.

Motivated by pressure to “clean up vice” and by the lucrativeness of bribes from queer people threatened with arrests, Mexico City’s policemen had a reputation for zeal in persecution of homosexuals.

Even today, the LGBTQ community of Mexico City faces problems that non-queer people can’t even imagine.

Credit: @soyhomosensual / Twitter

Translation: Mexico is one of the countries with the most murders caused by homophobia. There have been 381 members of the LGBT+ community killed in Mexico in just four years.

Widespread corruption and poverty make it difficult for LGBT people from impoverished families to gain access to the same benefits that a wealthy Mexican would. The great divide between rich and poor makes gay life greatly different between individuals of different social classes. While in most cases a wealthy Mexican can have a comfortable out life, poor youths from rural areas can face abandonment and violence after coming out.

Anti-discrimination laws in Mexico are weak at best and are rarely enforced, making it common for queer individuals to face discrimination and exclusion.

While violence against the trans community is the second worst in the world.

Credit: @impulsemx_ / Twitter

Mexico ranks second in homicide rates against transgender and transsexual people, with 56 murders every year. Experts agree that hate, violence, and discrimination are the main causes of such a high murder rate. Mexico is only second to Brazil, which registered 171 crimes against the trans communities, in a list of 71 countries.

Transgender women are one of the most vulnerable social groups in Mexico, next to homosexuals, and they are often subject to physical aggression due to their identity. The violence they endure ranges from death threats to physical harm, rape, sexual harassment, and murder.

Still, in a country where the Catholic Church maintains a strong influence over culture, Mexico City has fostered a welcoming place for the country’s LGBTQ community.

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