Entertainment

Proof That Carmen Carrera Is The Trans Latina Warrior We All Need In This Crazy World

We all know and love Carmen Carrera for her unapologetic assertion that trans lives matter, in the face of political warfare, and even just ignorant, disrespectful remarks. We haven’t always known her to be this warrior, though. When we first met Carmen Carrera, she was just meeting herself for in a real way on RuPaul’s Drag Race, where she identified as a gay man.

Today, Carmen Carrera has put RuPaul himself in his place on his transphobic remarks and has become a Puerto Rican-Peruvian supermodel. Hear her open up about her childhood and where she is today.

Carmen Carrera was born in Elmwood Park, New Jersey.

CREDIT: @carmen_carrera / Instagram

Her parents were Puerto Rican and Peruvian and moved to the United States for a better life.

She’s been criticized by other Latinos for not being “Puerto Rican enough.”

CREDIT: @carmen_carrera / Instagram

In an interview with HuffPost, her response was bella: “I think that if you are in America, you should live as Americans do. I have Puerto Rican roots — I eat rice and beans everyday! (laughs). I was born here and this is my country. I do visit Puerto Rico often; however, what the other girls think is a bunch of bullshit in my opinion. It’s like if I said they aren’t American enough. Kiss my ass!”

She named herself, Carmen, after her mother.

CREDIT: @carmen_carrera / Instagram

Her mother is Peruvian and Carrera has penned in W Magazine that she is a “big beauty inspiration.”

“We’d always be singing the latest hits, and she would enroll me in little plays, but I was shy. I was more into doing things by myself: I’d wrap a T-shirt around my head and put on makeup to try to look like her. I knew that I was different, but my mom never told me I should be any other way. Consequently, I didn’t grow up thinking that I was wrong being who I was—until I got to school. That’s when the actress in me had to come out.”

Her father passed from complications to AIDS.

CREDIT: @carmen_carrera / Instagram

In 2013, Carrera opened up on Facebook about her relationship with her father and with herself:

“I grew up without a father because he was too selfish to understand he was needed at home. He spent his time running the streets, catching AIDS, and leaving me and my mother behind when I was 2. I hid who I was in high school because I was afraid to be me. I grew up partly ashamed of who I was because I wasn’t like the “normal kids”. I couldn’t enjoy being happy in school, I was so focused on playing a role just so I can be with the popular kids. I played the role so well that after high school I met someone that loved my act so much, he married me. It took me 25 years to realize I couldn’t take it anymore, no one was giving me an Oscar anytime soon. I was done acting… Time to move on… Now that I’m being true to who I am on the inside, you’d think I’d be happy right? I’ve never experienced the type of heartbreaks I’ve felt in the past 2 years. Rejection, judgment, hatred, prejudice. I swear these are the times I realize how strong I am. Will I let it get to me? Hell NO. It’s not my fault the world isn’t ready to begin to understand how real I am, how deep I am. I will never go back to pretending. God made me a strong person for a reason. If I can pick myself up from the type of pain that almost feels like its manifesting on my body as physical pain, you can deal with whatever you’re dealing with, my loves.

Don’t ever sell out. Always stay on your grind. Never lose the ability to love. Be at your best and understand that life is a lesson. The quicker you learn, the quicker you can reach your promise-land 

She was kicked out of Catholic school for being too feminine.

CREDIT: @GAYLETTER / Twitter

She had a crush on this boy named Anthony and “the nuns were not having it,” Carrera told Cosmopolitan. “I ended up going to public school in the first grade, and that’s when I knew I had to be very strategic about my survival in school. I tried my best to be friends with people who were going to protect me. I hid behind people. As a result, I didn’t go to my prom, I didn’t get to have any slumber parties, I didn’t get to develop myself as a young person — it really impaired my growth.”

On RuPaul’s Drag Race, she was called “the pretty one.”

CREDIT: @internet_gril / Twitter

I mean, because we’ve all seen her at this point right? Total smoke show. Today, she’s a supermodel.

Fans petitioned for Victoria’s Secret to include her in their fashion show.

CREDIT: @carmen_carrera / Instagram

The petition received 45,000 signatures back in 2013 and received a ton of media coverage. To this day, Victoria’s Secret has yet to include a transgender model on their runway.

Carrera finds peace with her baby pictures.

CREDIT: @carmen_carrera / Instagram

It makes perfect sense why many trans people are pained to see childhood photos that reflect a time of total vulnerability to society before they were free from living up to a standard that didn’t match their innermost desires. Carrera shared this photo on her Instagram with this caption:

“I’m so proud to say that I’m still in touch with my inner child ???????? This baby is turning 33 today feeling empowered, standing up for what she believes in and also never forgetting how far she’s come. I look into my own eyes in this photo and remember having way too much knowledge of self at the time and being almost afraid of it because the outside world reflected the opposite. I was too smart. I remember how my inner dialog, even back to the day this photo was taken, had always been center focused on how or where I would fit into this world. I’m glad to say that even through all the adversity and tribulations, that I am still able to smile and still able to rise to the occasion of my destiny, keeping true to the loving and joyful nature I was born with. ???????????????? ”

Carrera came out as trans immediately after her season of RuPaul’s Drag Race wrapped.

CREDIT: @carmen_carrera / Instagram

She tells Attitude, “When I came through, I was a wide-eyed kid in New York City, not knowing who I was, I just wanted to learn. So I was like a sponge. I went to the gay clubs and made tons of friends that I still have, and I got to know the trans girls in the drag scene and the drag community, and performance art. Now I feel like after I’ve transitioned, there’s still that kind of disconnect between drag performers who live their life as male and go on stage as female, versus the trans performers. That’s where I feel like we need the most work.”

Carrera has called RuPaul himself out on his transphobia on the show.

CREDIT: @JWilliamJames / Twitter

The show used to have a “SheMail” as a way of notifying contestants of their upcoming challenged, which obviously plays off the transphobic slur “she-male.” The show changed the phrase after she continued to speak out and there was backlash against Carrera for ‘biting the hand that fed her.’

Carrera has had to break down Katie Couric’s own ignorance during an interview.

CREDIT: @carmen_carrera / Instagram

Carrera literally shushed Katie Couric when she straight up asked about her “private parts.”

“I don’t want to talk about it because it’s really personal and I’d rather talk about my modeling stuff, being in Italian Vogue, and showing people that after the transition, there’s still life to live.”

After that snafu, Couric was inspired to create an entire documentary on “Gender Evolution.”

She publicly came out as trans on an episode of Primetime: What Would You Do?

CREDIT: @anorderlymess / Twitter

You remember those social experiment shows? Carrera played a transgender server that was being hurled (staged) abuse by a customer to see how many people would come to her defense. From the beginning of her transition, Carrera has been speaking out for others in her position.

Carerra’s transition has been entirely public, and for that, she’s become a trans icon.

CREDIT: PopSugar / YouTube

We first met her on RuPaul as an out gay man, and last saw her on the show at the beginning of her transition. Since then, she’s gone on to model in Miami Swim Week, for David LaChapelle and on countless magazine covers. Her modeling career and public name is making waves for trans awareness.

Carrera urged all of her followers to vote in the midterms.

CREDIT: @carmen_carrera / Instagram

It’s no secret that the Trump administration has actively been trying to hide trans people behind closed doors. Carrera refuses to allow that to happen and you can find her posting lingerie photos followed by VOTE promotional images in the same Instagram post.

Carrera held out hope at first that Trump wouldn’t attack her and her community.

CREDIT: @carmen_carrera / Twitter

She told People Magazine, “I wanted to try my best to believe that [Trump would] be here for us and to understand what we were going through. I would just urge him to look at the facts and to understand the people that he’s affecting and how they are being affected. Just take a couple of moments to empathize with what we’re going through.”

She’s one of 1.4 million Americans to update their birth certificates to match their gender identity.

CREDIT: @carmen_carrera / Instagram

Carrera is doing all of this for herself and for young trans kids who don’t see themselves reflected accurately in the media. “Just know that we’re here to fight for this. I’m trying to break ground in the industries I work in and I’m doing it for the trans youth across the globe,” Carrera told People.

Carrera became the first transgender person to get married on public television.

CREDIT: People / Pinterest

She married her longtime partner Adrian Torres on Couples Therapy with Dr. Jenn. The two started dating a decade ago and were in a domestic partnership until their split in 2013, around when Carrera began her transition.

The two have two daughters together.

CREDIT: @carmen_carrera / Instagram

They are not these pomeranians. Torres’ daughters, Ahsia and Leeah, are from a previous relationship and Carrera considers them as her own children.

“When we originally got together, we sometimes felt like it was us against the world. But now, incredibly, it’s us with the world,” she told People. “Our children are so smart and such a big part of our lives. Having them there with us while we made this commitment really solidifies our existence as a family.”

She made a cameo appearance on Jane the Virgin‘s pilot episode.

CREDIT: @MisterManu / Twitter

In an interview with Attitude, she said, “ideally I’d like to do non-trans roles. I’d like to just play a female character, just a teacher, a mom, or whatever, you know. Something relatable to women so that it normalises the idea that trans people can play regular roles and have regular jobs and be embraced for how they present themselves to be.” BOOM. She’s crushing it.

Carrera’s idol is J.Lo–just like us!

CREDIT: @carmen_carrera / Instagram

The first song she ever performed on stage was actually Jennifer Lopez’ “Step Into My World” at Escuelita’s Diva Search in New York City. She told we are mitú that she remembers every exchange she’s ever had with the icon.

“Throughout the years, she’d watch me. I saw her at the GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) Awards and she congratulated me. Then I saw her again in Vegas at her concert and she asked me how things were going,” Carrera says. “It was just so good to know that someone else that comes from a similar background like me and who I have similar struggles with, other than being Latinx, [supports me]. It was just good to know that she was supportive and that she still watches so that really inspires me to be better.”

We can’t wait to see what’s next for you, Carmen!

CREDIT: @carmen_carrera / Instagram

Victoria’s Secret doesn’t deserve you, Archangel, and we’re so happy that you’ve taken on the very personal task of raising awareness for trans people, their stories and breaking stereotypes. ????????????


READ: Here Are 11 LGBTQ Latinos Who Will Make You Proud To Say You Are Part Of The Same Community

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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.

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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.

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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.

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