Culture

You’re Not Celebrating #WomensHistoryMonth If You’re Not Celebrating These Trans Women

Dani Vega | lanacion.cl

There is no question that, in the expanse of gender identities, being anything other than cis male means fighting for your rights and space in this world. As we honor Women’s History Month, it’s important that we celebrate all experiences of being a woman, especially trans women, who are fighting up against sexism and transphobia.

You may not know all these faces, but the next 20 women you’re about to meet have devoted a lifetime of heartbreaking service to create the moment we live in today. Start lighting candles, because every single one of these complex, fierce leaders are saints in my book.

Sylvia Rivera

CREDIT: @glsen / Twitter

Every conversation about trans Latina pioneers must begin with Sylvia Rivera. Born and raised in NYC, this Puerto Rican-Venezuelan started wearing makeup in fourth grade… in the 1950s. Her family abandoned her and she was forced into sex work at 11 years old.

She was an activist for many causes in her life and is best known as the Boricua who might have started the Stonewall Riots which launched the LGBTQ+ rights movement.

Stefanie Rivera

CREDIT: @Latina / Twitter

Rivera is a founding member of FIERCE, a non-profit dedicated to helping LGBTQ+ youth of color, and has been with the Sylvia Rivera Law Project since 2002. Her life is about helping others and it’s beautiful.

Bamby Salcedo

CREDIT: @labamby / Twitter

La Bamby is one of the leading, award-winning forces in protecting trans Latinas. She founded the one and only TransLatin@ Coalition in Los Angeles and was invited to speak at the White House United State of Women Summit on how to prevent violence against women.

Mariah Lopez

CREDIT: Untitled. Digital Image. Remezcla. 12 March 2019.

Once a sex worker, Lopez is now the executive director of the Strategic Trans Alliance for Radical Reform (STARR). Her experience as a sex worker with law enforcement has called her to ensure that transgender inmates are protected from abuse. She was ordered to comply with a “genital check,” which she refused, and was forced to go to a men’s prison.

Dani Vega

CREDIT: @SFVmovement / Twitter

In 2017, Chilean actress Dani Vega made history by becoming the first transgender actress to present at the Oscars. You might recognize her from “Una Mujer Fantastica.” Thank you for fighting to be seen.

Carmen Carrera

CREDIT: @carmerncarrera / Instagram

We first met Carrera as a drag queen on RuPaul’s Drag Race. Since then, she’s transitioned, called RuPaul himself out on transphobic elements of his show, and has become the first trans person to be wedded on a reality television series. Today, she’s breaking the mold as a professional trans model and is advocating for space for trans people on the runway. Te amos, Carmen!

Victoria Cruz

CREDIT: @Rectangular_Eye / Twitter

Cruz has been in the LGBTQ+ rights movement so long that she was friends with Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera. She moved to Brooklyn from Puerto Rico when she was 4 years old and transitioned soon after. Today, she’s a senior domestic violence counselor for the Anti-Violence Project.

Diane Marie Rodríguez Zambrano

CREDIT: @MRS_JCUPP / Twitter

Zambrano is the first openly trans and LGBTQ+ candidate to run for office in her home country of Ecuador. She works hard with the Ecuadorian government to implement protections for trans people in the workplace, therefore giving legal options to trans people to just live in this world.

Davia Spain

CREDIT: @translatinacoalition / Twitter

Caption: “Davia Spain is a dynamic performing artist, transformative presenter, informed educator, and filmmaker who uses her various platforms as opportunities to speak truth to power. Through her work, she taps into the healing abilities that performance art offers both on and off stage. She believes that by utilizing the radical potential of movement and song as vehicles for change we can reach a destination of collective rejuvenation and transformation.”

Vanessa Victoria

CREDIT: Untitled. Digital Image. PRIDE. 12 March 2019.

This Boricua gives back to her community on a full-time basis. She’s the community counselor for the NYC Anti-Violence Project and the co-founder of the Trans Women of Color Collective.

Isa Noyola

CREDIT: @TransLawCenter / Twitter

Noyola has an incredible track record of advocating for trans people. She organized the first ever National Trans Anti-Violence summit, which brought together over 100 activists. Noyola is the Deputy Director at the Transgender Law Center and spends her whole life working to abolish the oppressive policies that systematically criminalize the trans and queer communities of color. Get it, girl.

MJ Rodriguez

CREDIT: @PoseOnFX / Twitter

This talented Nuyorican has made waves by becoming the first starring trans character on a television series. Her performance as an HIV positive trans woman set in the ’80s in the series Pose will make you weep, inspire and motivate you to do more with this precious life we have.

Leiomy Maldonado

CREDIT: @leiomy / Twitter

We can’t talk ’80s ballroom without introducing the legendary Maldonado. This Boricua is known as the “Wonder Woman of Vogue” for how she’s revolutionized the scene. Her dance moves and choreographical expertise has landed her on the sets of Will Smith’s “Whip My Hair” and Icona Pop’s “All Night” music videos. She’s also the first trans woman to star in a Nike ad.

Jennicet Gutiérrez

CREDIT: @JennicetG / Twitter

We all first heard of Jennicet when she interrupted President Barack Obama to demand answers for the violence trans immigrants face in American detention centers. The Mexicana has been on the map for years, beginning with her foundation, “La Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement.” Her work focuses on freeing the LGBT Latinx stuck in America’s immigration system.

Sasha Navarro

CREDIT: @translatinacoalition / Twitter

Caption: “Meet the Case Manager for our Reentry program, Sasha Navarro Sasha works directly with trans and gender non-conforming people being released from jails, prisons, and detention centers and helps provide a smoother pathway for reentry. She helps assist clients with housing needs, hormone access, STD/HIV testing, and organizes LifeSkills courses to help folx navigate the system. Please contact Sasha Navarro if you know of any folks currently or formerly incarcerated and in need of services at sashan@translatinacoalition.org”

Arianna Lint

CREDIT: @Latina / Twitter

Peru-born Lint has dedicated her life to service of the American people. She works for the Florida Health Department and focuses on HIV/AIDS—which has made her uniquely qualified to chair the Trans-Latin@ Coalition.

Felicia Elizondo

CREDIT: @LyanneMelendez / Twitter

Elizondo has been speaking up since before the Stonewall Riots and speaking on her experience as an HIV positive trans person. Her work with the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and other organizations has granted her the Lifetime Achievement Grand Marshal honor of the 2015 San Francisco Pride Parade.

Ruby Corado

CREDIT: @latinxbeauty_ / Twitter

Corado was originally born in El Salvador and has made her way into the U.S. Capitol to speak up for our community. She’s set up a bilingual LGBT organization in Trump’s own backyard (Washington D.C.).

Bianey Garcia D la O

CREDIT: @BianeyDlao / Twitter

Bianey Garcia D la O organizes an annual trans march in New York called Make The Road NY. The Mexican-born activist has dedicated her life to decriminalizing sex work in New York.

Lorena Borjas

CREDIT: @audrelorde / Twitter

Lorena Borjas has spent the last 30 years helping to advocate for trans women looking for routes out of sex trafficking and more. Borjas was at high risk for deportation until New York Governor Andrew Cuomo granted a rare pardon for previous convictions from when she was a victim of trafficking.

Celebrate This Cool Jefa: Luisa Capetillo The Boricua Activist Arrested For Wearing Pants

Fierce

Celebrate This Cool Jefa: Luisa Capetillo The Boricua Activist Arrested For Wearing Pants

Born on October 28, 1879, in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, Luisa Capetillo is best known for her contributions to the labor and anarchist movements in Puerto Rico at the time. She’s also famously remembered as the first Puerto Rican woman to ever have worn pants in public. 

However, her commitment to break the glass ceiling and break traditional societal norms imposed on women extended beyond her fashion choices. Capetillo was a diligent organizer and passionate activist who advocated for women’s rights. She was an all-around badass. 

In a children’s e-book on Rejected Princesses, you can learn more about Luisa Capetillo’s life, one learns about her beginnings and when she first started to become an activist. 

In 1951, Luisa Capetillo became the first Puerto Rican woman to ever wear pants in public in 1951. 

Due to this, it’s been said that she was stopped and arrested for “causing a scandal.” News outlets back then reported that Capetillo defended herself ardently against the claims that she was causing a scandal for wearing pants. 

She has been quoted as saying, “Your Honor, I always wear pants,” and then slightly lifted her dress to show a pair of loose white pants. “And on the night in question, instead of wearing them underneath, I wore them just like men do, based on my perfect civil right to do so, on the outside.” Tell em, Capetillo.  

Luisa Capetillo was homeschooled by her parents.

Her mother, Luisa Margarita Perone, was a French immigrant who worked in domestic work and her father, Luis Capetillo Echevarría, who was from Spain, worked in labor. Her parents never married but they formed a partnership strong enough to raise a young fiery and passionate woman. 

Capetillo’s parents were also drawn together by their similar “beliefs in democratic ideals expressed in the attempted European revolutions of 1848.” They devoted their time to homeschooling her through a liberal education that was infused with ideological influences of both the French Revolution and the workers’ rights movement in Northern Spain. 

Her homeschool education heavily influenced the work she would be later known for. 

After a romance that didn’t end well, and that resulted in two children, she began working as a reader at a tobacco company after the Spanish-American war in Puerto Rico. Readers were needed at companies because, at the time, most of the workforce was illiterature and poorly-educated. As a result, unions hired readers to read newspapers and books out loud during work hours. 

The tobacco factory was also where Capetillo first came into contact with labor unions. What she learned through unions, she used to educate many women across Puerto Rico. 

Her work at the tobacco company also inspired her to write opinion essays and in her writing, she criticized the labor conditions tobacco workers were exposed to.

In an essay titled, “Mi opinión,” Capetillo writes: “Oh you woman! who is capable and willing to spread the seed of justice; do not hesitate, do not fret, do not run away, go forward! And for the benefit of the future generations place the first stone for the building of social equality in a serene but firm way, with all the right that belongs to you, without looking down, since you are no longer the ancient material or intellectual slave.” 

Further, working at the tobacco company led her to organize strikes. It also led her to become an anarchist and inspired material for the four books that she would write. 

Luisa Capetillo was a feminist way ahead of her time and advocated heavily for women’s rights.

Especially when it had to do with female agency. For 1910, she definitely way ahead of the curve. 

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💪 Mes de la mujer: Luisa Capetillo Born in Arecibo, Puerto Rico in 1879, Luisa was homeschooled by her parents and later became one of the island’s most important women’s rights activists of her time. She worked as a reader in a cigar making factory and that provided her with her first experiences with labor unions. In 1904, she wrote Mi Opinión (My Opinion), which encouraged women to fight for equal rights. Capetillo’s writing often discusses identity and seeks to motivate women. In her essay ¿Anarquista y espiritista? (Anarchist and Spiritis?) she discusses how she considered herself to be both. • Luis is best known for her involvement in the 1905 farm workers’ strike. She became the leader of the American Federation of Labor and began urging women to fight for their rights. In 1908, she asked the union to approve a women’s suffrage policy. Four years later, she traveled to NYC and Florida to organize Cuban and Puerto Rican tobacco workers; she joined various labor strikes in Cuba and the Dominican Republic. Capetillo was also the first woman in Puerto Rico to wear pants in public. In 1910, it was illegal for women to wear pants in public and she was jailed (the charges were eventually dropped). Later that year, she helped pass a minimum wage law in Puerto Rico. Luisa Capetillo passed away in October 1922. • Capetillo’s legacy includes Casa Protegida Luisa Capetillo: a non-profit organization whose purpose is to defend mistreated women, the Luisa Capetillo Center of Documentation at UPR Cayey: a part of the university’s Women’s Studies project, and a plaque in La Plaza en Honor a la Mujer Puertorriqueña. ⚡️ Luisa Capetillo was submitted as a mujer pode🌹 by one of program organizers/coordinators in Puerto Rico! ⚡️ Stay posted for tomorrow’s mujer pode🌹 from another one of our team members! 📸: Libcom.org • • • • • • • • • • • #puertorico #womenshistorymonth #womenshistory #luisacapetillo #arecibo #history #mujer #mujerpoderosa #studyabroad #westernillinois #westernillinoisuniversity #wiu #wiu18 #wiu19 #wiu20 #wiu21 #wiu22 #wiu23 #puertoricanhistory

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The social labor organizer became well known for her advocacy for equal rights for women, free love, and human emancipation. She developed a lot of her ideals of anarchism and romanticism from being an avid reader as a child. She read a lot of French literature from writers including Victor Hugo and Emile Zola. She also read a lot of Russian Romantics like Leo Tolstoy. 

She died of tuberculosis in 1922 but her legacy and impact as one of Puerto Rico’s first women suffragists live on. 

In 1912, she traveled to New York City where she organized workers in the tobacco factories there. From 1916-1918, she was involved in an intense period of strikes and she would constantly travel from New York City and Puerto Rico. 

She even traveled to Cuba to work with the Federation of Anarchists of Cuba. A couple of years after she contracted tuberculosis and died at 42. 

‘Fuller House’ Actor And Certified Daddy Juan Pablo Di Pace Comes Out And Yasss

Culture

‘Fuller House’ Actor And Certified Daddy Juan Pablo Di Pace Comes Out And Yasss

juanpablodipace / Instagram

Argentinian actor Juan Pablo Di Pace recently came out in a TEDx video recorded in March. The video was released in late June giving Di Pace’s coming out story a special place in the 2019 Pride Month calendar. Social media erupted in applause and praise for the actor living his truth after so much time hiding in the closet.

Juan Pablo Di Pace came out of the closet as a gay man and is already living it up.

That’s right. Di Pace was living it up in Madrid during pride not long after the video of his talk coming out of the closet was publish. Honestly, it is something everyone should be celebrating. Someone being able to live their life fully is something that some people will never be able to understand. There is an attitude of in the Latino community that tries to shun and silence the LGBTQ+ community. Seeing a prominent member of the Latino community sharing his coming out story is such a positive example for younger people struggling to come out.

Di Pace’s coming out via a TEDx is one of the greatest moments of Pride Month 2019.

Not only did Di Pace come out of the closet, but his story about coming out and learning who he is is also very relatable to most members of the LGBTQ+ community. It wasn’t like he figured out that he was different. It had to be told to him.

“My mother says that I came out of her womb with a paper and pencil in my hand and that I used to draw until I fell asleep, which is why I had very few friends. But, actually, the truth is that, unlike most of the boys in my class, I preferred to play with girls. I was more comfortable. They were more fun,” Di Pace told the audience at his TEDx talk. “So, I didn’t think anything of it, right? Until I heard a word that I had never heard before. It started like a thunder that got closer and louder to me as it exploded like egg in my face: marícon, faggot. Well, I didn’t really understand that word at first but the word was here to stay for years. A little know book, as you might know as the Bible, starts with, ‘In the beginning, was the word and the word was made flesh and it dwelt among us.’ So, after failed attempts to fight against this word and try to make friends, my only option was to make friends with white sheets of paper. Paper would not shout or kick me. Paper was kind and on paper everything and anything was possible, just like in the movies.”

The moment of being made to feel and know that you are different from everyone else is something most people deal with at the beginning of coming out. It is a harsh, and some times dangerous, moment that starts the process of coming out and learning who you are as a person.

Fans of the actor showered him with praise and love for coming out.

Credit: judygeitz / Instagram

Coming out, no matter how old you are or how successful you are, is a terrifying experience. You have to be prepared for people to shun you. You need to be ready for people to speak down to you. It is not an easy or fun process for a lot of people.

The emotional reception to Di Pace’s coming is filled with love and appreciation.

Credit: iamlibrado / Instagram

This is something the Di Pace should be so proud of. It is so important for people to come out of the closet. By coming out of the closet, you force others around you to confront their own ideas of the LGBTQ+ community. When people know someone personally who is LGBTQ+, they tend to become more accepting of the community allowing for more people to come out in a safer environment.

You are with your chosen family now, Juan.

Credit: stillwater1979 / Instagram

All people in the LGBTQ+ community understand the importance of a chosen family. Even if your family accepts you, it is important to have a chosen family. It is a way to learn what it means to be gay and how to live life open in a world that can sometimes be really cruel. Your family will want to help but it is hard for your mom and dad to teach about LGBTQ+ culture.

Congratulations on coming out Juan. Sending lots of love.

READ: Grab The Tissues! These Latinas Told Us Their Coming Out Stories And We Have Been Sobbing In Pride

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