Entertainment

21 Fab Facts About Queer Eye’s Fab 5, Yass Queen! 

One of the biggest success stories in the world of entertainment for 2018 is the relaunch of the “Queer Eye.” The iconic reality show features five gay men giving life and style advice to individuals who might have forgotten to pamper themselves. Instead of focusing only on straight male contestants like the 2000s iteration, Netflix’s “Queer Eye” has had gay men, transgender men and women among its participants.

The shows stars Antoni Porowski (food and wine expert), Tan France (fashion expert), Karamo Brown (culture expert), Bobby Berk (design expert) and Jonathan Van Ness (grooming expert) quickly became social media celebrities and pop culture icons. Their candor and genuine care for the participants translated into a worldwide audience. The casting crew have also been more inclusive than the original show. A black man and a Pakistani are the two people in color in the team, but participants have included all sorts of ethnicities, including a cute Mexican dadbod dude.

Here’s 21 amazing facts about our fave TV quintet.

1. Karamo Brown has Caribbean blood: viva Cuba!

Credit: Queer Eye. Netflix.

Brown is one of our favorites. His casting upped the inclusivity quota of the show by 100 percent. He is proud of his heritage: his parents are Jamaican, but his father is actually half Cuban.

2. Brown also founded 6in10.org, an NGO that supports the fight against HIV stigma in the black LGBT community

Credit: Logo. Digital image. 6in10.org

Brown puts his actions where his words are. He not only provides advice and compassion to the participants in the show, he extends that to his personal life and his advocacy efforts. Good on him! With so much on we wonder how Karamo doesn’t struggs to func!

3. Brown is engaged to Ian Jordan, a TV producer

 Credit: Instagram. @TheIanJordan

And by the looks of it they are good friends with Ultra Latina Queen Jennifer Lopez herself! Dream BFFs! Basically the guests one would have in a dream dinner party. Shamazing!

4. Talking about hubbies, Tan France is married to illustrator Rob France

Credit: Instagram. @TanFrance

Who drew this amazing illustration of TanGorge!

5. France did a cameo in “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”

Credit: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Netflix.

Tan France played Fett Regoso, a fashionista inspired by real-life mogul Calvin Klein. French tucks are world famous now thanks to Tan!

6. France had to overcome a discriminatory culture

Credit: Instagram. @tanfrance

Tan grew up in a Pakistani family in the United Kingdom. Homosexuality was frowned upon in his cultural environment, which makes it even more impressive how he stands up for who he is.

7. Antoni Porowski grew up trilingual

Credit: Instagram. @Antoni.

He was born in Montreal from Polish parents, so he grew up speaking English, Polish and Quebec French. Very impressive. He is the whole package it seems (even though his cooking skills are a bit limited, tbh).

8. Porowski walked the Pride March with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Credit: dla6fl-v4aadbob.jpg-large. Digital image.

Antoni has become one of the most visible queer figures in Canada. Here you can see him with awesome PM Justin Trudeau, who is famous for being one of the most inclusive statesmen today. You gotta keep on serving you realness!

9. And he is a psychologist!

Credit: Instagram. @Antoni.

Yes, he finished a degree in psychology at the prestigious Concordia University in his native Montreal. We could echar el chal with him anytime!

10. Interior designer Bobby Berk has un chingo of interior beauty

Credit: Instagram. @bobbyberk.

Berk had to fight his religious upbringing to come out and be true to himself. He knows what it is like to suffer and so he supports those in need and supports issues such as immigrant rights.

11. Berk left home at just 15 and really struggled

Credit: Instagram. @bobbyberk.

He slept on cars, worked as many shifts as he could and was homeless. He could not bear to remain caged in conservatism and fought for his true self.

12. Jonathan Van Ness was the first male cheerleader in his high school

Credit: Instagram. @jvn

He is slim, he is fast, he is flexible, he is fabulous! Zhuzh it up, gorg prince!

13. Van Ness was nominated for an Emmy…

Credit: Gay of Thrones. JVN.

For his satire show “Gay of Thrones,” a recap show for the epic HBO extravaganza “Game of Thrones.” In this show, JVN would be hilarious in dissecting the intrigues of Westeros. Yass!

14. You can listen to JVN on his podcast “Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness.”

Credit: Queer Eye. Netflix.

It is funny, quirky and provides some serious life and beaut advice. A escucharlo, chiquitines! 

15. Tom Jackson, the dude from “You Can’t Fix Ugly,” got married!

Credit: Twitter @TomJack2017630616.

Yes, the adorable older gentleman from the Season 1 Episode 1 eloped and got married to the love of his life, Abby! AW, QUE ROMANTICO!

16. “AJ” Brown embraced his gay and got engaged!

Credit: sub-buzz-17565-1520014671-9. Digital image. Buzzfeed.

“To Gay or not Too Gay” was one of the most heartbreaking and heartwarming episodes of Season 1. In it, DJ, a lovely black gay man, struggled to come out of the closet to his family and friends. The Fab 5 were key in this transformative event. So much, that now he is engaged to his boyfriend Andre.

17. The show inspired the awesome “queer eye out of context” Twitter account. Do yourself a favor and follow it like, yesterday

Credit: Twitter. @queereyecontext

This account has almost 100,000 followers and posts screen grabs from the show. Hilarity ensues as the captions make for some amazing comedy. Follow it on @queereyecontext

18. Nailed it, queen! You can’t miss this crossover!

Credit: Nailed it!. Netflix.

Besides “Queer Eye,” Netflix launched another cult reality show in 2018, “Nailed It!,” where contestants make fools of themselves recreating elaborate baked goods without previous experience in the dark arts of desert-making. There is one crossover episode that you just can’t miss! Does Antoni really know how to cook?

19. This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship

Credit: Queer Eye. Netflix

The Fab Five go well beyond their duty and sometimes keep in touch with contestants. After all, they have a huge responsibility for changing these people’s lives! Bobby has remained a close friend with Skyler Jay, the trans man from Season 2. Perhaps their struggles to be themselves were similar and they find solace in each other’s experiences.

20. Porowski is working in two movies with James Franco. Dreamboats!

Credit: Blood Surf. Dark Rabbit Productions.

Porowski has the looks of a matinee idol and no one can deny it. He has caught the eye of Hollywood power players, including James Franco, a queer icon in his own right. You will be able to see them side by side in “Blood Surf,” a horror flick that will be released in 2019. They will also appear together in “The Pretenders.” 

21. JVN, France and Porowski are BFFs with Justin Theroux

Credit: Instagram. @justintheroux

That’s right, the actor, director and Jennifer Aniston’s ex is mates with three of the Fab Five. And we can see why: they are all as cool as F. We can only dream how fun and enlightening hanging out with these four would be!

Two Trans Latinas In New York Are Starting A Beauty Co-Op To Help Trans Women Build Their Businesses

Entertainment

Two Trans Latinas In New York Are Starting A Beauty Co-Op To Help Trans Women Build Their Businesses

mirror_cooperative_ / Instagram

Four years ago, Lesly Herrera Castillo and Joselyn Mendoza both had a vision to create a worker-owned makeup and hair salon for the trans Latino community in Jackson Heights, New York. It was ambitious and for them, it was necessary. For years, the duo faced racial and gender discrimination from employers. Their own community, Jackson Heights, was also becoming a problem as the area became the site of multiple anti-trans hate crimes in recent years. So they came together with a plan to open Mirror Beauty Cooperative in 2015.

The beauty shop would create numerous jobs for the local trans community but more importantly assist undocumented individuals who were denied opportunities due to their legal status. So Castillo and Mendoza made the important decision to register the business as a cooperative cooperation (co-op). This was done so the salon would basically be “worker-run” and there would be no need for things like social security numbers, an obstacle many undocumented workers face when applying to jobs. Instead, the salon will use individual taxpayer identification numbers (ITINs).

“The significance of the cooperative for me is that it’s an opportunity to create more jobs and make a space that’s free of discrimination,” Mendoza told the HuffPost. “As trans women, we don’t often have access to a healthy economy, and this allows us to change that and obtain other services like health care.”

While their idea started four years ago, the duo hasn’t yet obtained a physical space to open up the salon. But they hope with enough support this vision can become a reality. 

Credit: @equalityfed / Twitter

While both Castillo and Mendoza haven’t opened up a physical salon space, they are both continuing to work in other salons as they continue to save and plan for the Mirror Beauty Cooperative. This past May they began to reach out to more people to help fund their goal through a GoFundMe Campaign. The results of the campaign fund have been less than 1 percent of their $150,000 goal. The duo has also faced other socioeconomic setbacks like lack of traditional education and the economic instability due to their immigrant background. 

“Latina trans women always have multiple obstacles in the way,” Mendoza said. “I think if a collective of white trans women were to start a project like this, their incubation process would be faster than ours because of their historical access to privilege.” 

But Herrera notes that the white trans community is still an ally to them even though they are on different economic levels. “We can always depend on the white trans community” to offer support “because they know they’re on a better [economic] level.”

For the trans, gender-queer and nonbinary community, job discrimination has been a reoccurring issue. According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, 16 percent of gender-queer and nonbinary respondents who had held jobs reported having been fired for their gender identity or expression. But for trans women and trans people of color, they were the most likely to have gone through this. 

While the salon is still in progress, Castillo and Mendoza have become a presence in their own neighborhood uplifting and bringing attention to the trans Latino community. 

As of now, the duo has a secret backup plan in case they don’t meet their fundraising goals by the end of the year. They hope that the campaign does one thing though, create and share their broader call for building community with people. 

That has already started to take place as Castillo, Hernandez and their new partner, Jonahi Rosa have all become presences in Jackson Heights advocating for the trans community. The trio even participated in the Queens Pride Parade as co-grand marshals. This has also included various charity events for local LGTBQ+ youth. 

They all feel that the salon has the potential to bring people together and spread awareness about issues that affect their lives every day. From the start, the trio has always wanted to not only create a space for the trans community but give them an opportunity. 

“We want to work, [and] we want to give agency to our community,” Rosa said. “It’s a perfect opportunity for our community to come together and make something for our future.”

READ: Our FIERCE Readers Share Some of the Most Outrageous Lies They’ve Told To Get Some Time Away With Their Boo

After Almost Two Years, Trans Activist Alejandra Barrera Has Been Released From ICE Custody

Things That Matter

After Almost Two Years, Trans Activist Alejandra Barrera Has Been Released From ICE Custody

transgender_together / Instagram

After nearly two years in detention, Alejandra Barrera, a 44-year-old transgender Salvadorian activist, was released from an ICE facility in New Mexico late last Friday. Human rights activists and the transgender immigrant community are rejoicing at the news that Barrera will finally be freed after being held in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention since November 2017.

Barrera, who hails from El Salvador, fled her country due to discrimination and persecution. Shortly after seeking asylum in the U.S, she was detained at the Cibola County Correctional Center in New Mexico, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s detention center with a unit specifically for transgender women that opened in 2017, according to the Phoenix New Times. During her time at the detention facility, there were numerous complaints of abuse and maltreatment of inmates that included the death of Roxsana Hernandez Rodriguez, a transgender woman who died of HIV-related complications last year. 

 Before leaving El Salvador, Barrera was a well-known activist in her home country where she stood up for transgender rights for over a decade. But with this attention also came attacks from local gangs and the Salvadoran military who targeted her and forced her to eventually leave in and claim asylum in November 2017. In spite of all of this, Barrera was repeatedly denied asylum in the U.S.

Many people and organizations helped build awareness around the release of Barrera. But it was the hashtag #FreeAlejandra that made the world know her story. 

Credit: @outmagazine / Twitter

Barrera’s release is the culmination of a year-long campaign by multiple nonprofit organizations like the Amnesty International, the Translatin@ Coalition and the National Immigrant Justice Center. This also included the help of federal lawmakers like Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Adam Schiff (Calif.), and Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.) 

Many first heard the story of Barrera with the hashtag #FreeAlejandra that circulated online for months spreading awareness of her detention. A Change.org petition demanding her freedom received more than 36,000 signatures and raised awareness of Barerra’s case using the hashtag #FreeAlejandra.

“Through letters of support, people from around the world gave me the strength to continue in this struggle that was so hard for me. I’m here to keep fighting”  Barrera said in response to everyone that helped share her story. 

Bamby Salcedo, the executive director of Translatin@ Coalition, acknowledged all the work put forth to have Barrera finally released. She said in a video posted to Facebook the day of  Barrera’s release that her “heart is so full of joy” now that Barrera is finally out.

“It was because of all of your calls, because of all of you signing petitions, showing up to the rallies, showing up the press conferences, her lawyers – everyone – all of you who wrote letters to Alejandra, everyone who participated in la campaigna de #FreeAlejandra – should be very proud because this is one more victory and we should be able to celebrate,” Salcedo said in the video. 

Barrera is currently released on parole while she waits for her asylum case to go to immigration court.

Credit: @mghtranshealth / Twitter

While Barrera is out and getting to enjoy her freedom, her fight for asylum is not over just yet. As of now, Barrera’s asylum status is still not secure and must now continue to fight against her deportation. If she is not granted asylum, Barrera faces the daunting possibility of being deported back to El Salvador. 

Denise Bell, Amnesty International’s researcher for refugee and migrant rights, told the Daily News that while her organization is happy that Barrera is out of ICE detention, the fight is not over yet. Bell says that she hopes that Barrera’s case becomes an example of what happens when people come together to bring awareness to a good cause. 

“We don’t think that she should be returned to El Salvador, where we are gravely concerned for her well-being,” Bell told the Daily News. “Trans people in detention are at a special risk of abuse because of their special medical needs, often, and [because of] their gender identity. So we just want to draw attention to the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of other trans people who are seeking asylum, who are in immigration detention [and] who should be released on parole

Barrera is currently being represented by Rebekah Wolf of the Equal Justice Coalition, who fought and brought awareness for her release. While she seeks refuge, Barrera will stay with a sponsor from the TransLatin@ Coalition. 

According to the Washington Blade, ICE estimates that at least 111 transgender people who are being held in U.S. detention centers. The number is an increase that what ICE estimated just five months prior and it does not include detainees that might have been uncounted. 

READ: Mexico Has Become The World’s Second-Deadliest Country For Transgender People To Live And Many Are Worried