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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Gender Is So Last Year And These Celebrities Know How To Expertly Play With Gender

Entertainment

Gender Is So Last Year And These Celebrities Know How To Expertly Play With Gender

badbunnypr / ajathekween / Instagram

Non-binary individuals, also known as genderqueer, encompasses a spectrum of gender identities that escape the traditional definitions of masculine and feminine. In short, their gender identity falls outside the man/woman gender binary, outside cisgender paradigms (cisgender refers to a person whose personal identity and gender both correspond to their birth sex). For years, genderqueer folks were forced to live in the shadows, either due to conservative social norms or due to lack of awareness of this identity.

Recently, a group of celebs have come out as non-binary and we think that’s fabulous. We can think, for example, of Australian model Ruby Rose (remember their steamy affair with Piper in “Orange is the New Black”? Just this month “Queer Eye”hairstylist extraordinaire Jonathan Van Ness came out as non-binary. He told OUT magazine: “The older I get, the more I think that I’m nonbinary — I’m gender nonconforming. Like, some days I feel like a man, but then other days I feel like a woman. I don’t really — I think my energies are really all over the place. Any opportunity I have to break down stereotypes of the binary, I am down for it, I’m here for it. I think that a lot of times gender is used to separate and divide. It’s this social construct that I don’t really feel like I fit into the way I used to. I always used to think ‘Oh, I’m like a gay man,’ but I think any way I can let little boys and little girls know that they can express themselves and they can like be.” This pretty much sums up what genderqueer identity is all about.

Because we celebrate identities of all forms, here are some genderqueer POC stars that make us proud and happy! Some of them have identified as genderqueer while others have broken the paradigms of cisnormativity. Bien por ellos, muy bien!

Rico Dalasam, the Brazilian rap dynamo

This Brazilian rap artist and former hairdresser has taken his genderqueer identity to powerful lyrics of political resistance. He told Vice: “All the marginal communities I’m a part of—young, black, gay—all of these identities are forced to be ashamed by the oppressor. But I’m the potential of resistance.” With a career that started in 2014, Rico Dalasam has achieved success thanks to his high couture looks and remorseless combative attitude.

Bad Bunny, the boricua marvel

Bad Bunny wears long nails and jewelry that would commonly be associated with a feminine aesthetic. As we have reported, he is unbothered by those who criticize his non-binary moda. He identifies as a straight man but finds inspiration in the queer community. He has talked about his fashion choices in a GQ interview: “There’s people that appreciate what I do; there’s people that criticize it,. There’s people who say, ‘Thank you for sticking up [for us], thank you for defending [this].’ There’s others that say I’m an opportunist.” Be what it may, Bad Bunny is challenging the role of masculinity in urban culture and in a musical genre, reggaeton, that is often criticized for its often sexist lyrics.

Valentina, global drag phenomenon

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@lacasadelasflorestv on @netflix @netflixlat @netflixes

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“I identify as nonbinary,” Valentina told Out in an interview. “I don’t completely feel like a man, I don’t completely feel like a woman. I feel like a goddess. I feel like I’m my own gender.”

The “RuPaul’s Drag Race” superstar is one of the most recognizable faces in the drag world. We are so proud of the Latino representation Valentina has been able to bring to the drag world.

Aja, bruja extravaganza

Aja’s experience coming to terms with her gender identity was a long one.

“When I was 18, I actually lived as a trans woman for almost a year,” Aja told Them. “I thought I was trans, and then I learned through the education of the queer community about being non-binary, genderqueer, and all these different [identities]. I realized that I do feel like a woman, but I feel comfortable in my body. I don’t feel the need to change anything. I don’t feel the need to appear more feminine to society’s standards.”

Amandla Stenberg, from “The Hunger Games” to queer advocate

This amazing African-American young actress openly uses they/them as pronouns. She came out as non-binary on Tumblr (before she came out to her family!), by writing: “I honestly don’t know… I mean they/them makes me feel comfortable but I know that the media and the general populace that follows me will critique it/not understand which makes me feel sad and almost more uncomfortable. So I guess she/her for now”. Not in the cisgender closet anymore, dear Amandla! 

Liniker Barros, the Brazilian soul star

Samba and Latin rhythms find a nice home in the tender voice of this musical prodigy. Liniker is the lead singer if the band Liniker and the Caramelows, and many of their lyrics focus on the joy and tribulations of those who are not cisgender. They told the Spanish newspaper El Pais: “Why should I wear jeans and a T-shirt and present myself as just a voice? My body is political. I need to show my audience what I’m living.” Liniker is well aware of the fact that they represent a wider community. They told Now: “[My] visibility as a singer helps me occupy spaces that aren’t the usual ones for trans women. That representation is so important. Brazil remains a very transphobic, chauvinist, racist country, with a lot of hate speech. When a trans woman takes the stage, that alone is political.”

Angel Haze, rapping for freedom

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on my way to drop the album

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Born Raykeea Raeen-Roes Wilson, this rap artist identifies as pansexual and agender. Angel Haza has said: “I sound like four people when I get written about as ‘they.’ It drives me crazy. If you call me ‘him’ or ‘her’ it doesn’t matter to me. I don’t consider myself of any sex. I consider myself an experience.” Quite an interesting and revolutionary approach! Angel Haze used to date Ireland Baldwin, the daughter of Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin. 

READ: Marvel Is Bringing More LGBTQ Characters To The Universe

Ritchie Torres Is Poised To Become The First Out Gay Afro-Latino In Congress After Primary Win

Things That Matter

Ritchie Torres Is Poised To Become The First Out Gay Afro-Latino In Congress After Primary Win

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Primary elections in New York this week ushered in new politicians poised to make history. One of those people is Ritchie Torres, an out Afro-Latino gay man who won his primary for New York’s 15th District.

Ritchie Torres won his primary challenge for the 15th congressional district of New York.

New York City Council Member Torres defeated Rúben Diaz Sr. last night. People are celebrating the victory because Torres, who is openly gay, was running against a very problematic reverend. Diaz, who is also a New York City council member, has billed himself as the opposite of AOC and holds a very conservative view on various social issues.

Diaz has voted against same-sex marriage and routinely speaks out against abortion. One time, according to CBS News, Diaz claimed that the city council was being run by the “homosexual community.”

The fight is not over for Torres.

The council member still has to make it through the November election. He will be running against Republican Orlando Molina in November. However, people are celebrating the historic vote that could put the first-ever openly gay Afro-Latino person into Congress.

New York’s 15th District is called the bluest district in America. That is why someone who supports Trump, opposes abortion, and has a homophobic past leading the field was so shocking to many. The Pentecostal minister made headlines when he refused to resign from the city council after his comments about the “homosexual community.”

Praise and support for Torres came flooding in on social media from fellow Democrats across the country.

Torres’s victory over Diaz is a welcomes outcome for many in the Democratic party. Some feared what Diaz would do to the party when in office considering the clear opposition to Democratic causes, especially considering the hyper-partisan nature of the current Congress.

It was a truly historic night in politics thanks to the people running and the voters.

There were several seats last night that have started to better reflect communities in the district. African-American and Latino candidates won decisively in various districts leading to what could be a more diverse and progressive Congress.

Congratulations to all of the winners during yesterday’s primaries.

READ: AOC Wins Primary Election In New York In Run For A Second Term In Congress