Entertainment

This Lesbian Relationship In A Televisa Telenovela Is Setting Off A Firestorm Of Love And Support Around The World

If you watch telenovelas, then you know #Juliantina. If not, let us tell you about Mexican novela “Amar a Muerte,” which aired for four months on Televisa. Juliana and Valentina made the first same-sex couple on a Mexican telenovela and fans want more.

In fact, a petition has garnered over 60,000 signatures asking Televisa for a spinoff series. “It has opened the door for our LGTBQ community to be more visible and accepted,” the petition states about Juliantina. “Its impact in Mexico and Latin America is becoming stronger and stronger.”

While actresses Macarena Achaga and Bárbara López don’t identify as queer, the fandom loves them.

@Sapphire_1225 / Twitter

You’d be hard-pressed to find a fan who finds this problematic, likely because the story seemed authentic. One fan particularly loved that their romance wasn’t meant for male viewers–it was a slow building romance with all the twists and turns of that real lesbian life.

And are pining for more content.

@rian_and_bow / Twitter

One petition signer wrote that the spin-off is important because “We need more stories which identify we with. All our lives we have watched heterosexual novelas. At the same time it will help to make it more normal for parents.”

For lesbians, seeing a lesbian relationship that is mostly about these moments of intimacy is it.

@KadenaStudio / Twitter

We’re not here for hypersexualized lesbian relationships as side plots in shows. The fandom is here to see what Juliantina’s happily ever after looks like.

These bellas have made waves in Latin America.

@fandomburst / Twitter

Televisa gave Mexico a same-sex couple that is hard to hate–even for the haters. The actresses have even been on the cover of Cosmopolitan México.

Actually, they’ve made waves around the world.

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This British YouTuber couple recorded a reaction video to some of the most iconic scenes from “Amar a Muerte” and that video alone has half a million views.

Of course, this romance could only blossom after the cartel kidnapped Juliana’s mother.

@misguidedpeople / Twitter

It is a telenovela. Still, fans want to see that moment where the two tell their grandchildren their love story. We want “The Notebook” meets Juliantina.

This fan toasted their treasured Ramadan ‘break the fast’ to #Juliantina.

@Tyaz_Reborn / Twitter

During a moment of delayed gratification, this fan was still thinking of Juliantina.

The petition has grown beyond just a spin-off.

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Jacqueline Marmolejo Contreras wrote on the Change.org petition that, “Que la visibilidad lésbica, así como la LGBT+ en general logre cambiar la heteronormatividad de la sociedad para que se vea el amor sin prejuicios, porque el amor es amor y a través de representaciones como Juliantina se ve y se puede lograr.”

Hundreds of #Juliantina fans are calling on ClexaCon to invite the couple.

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It’s the ultimate convention for all thing LGBTQ+ in Media and Entertainment, and Juliantina don’t have an invite.

Literally every Juliantina fan to Televisa and ClexaCon.

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Is this not a supply and demand market? Fans are yearning for content. Give the fans what they want.

In the meantime, Juliantina has a message for us.

@juliantinalls / Twitter

Or at least, Bárbara López does via Instagram: “Esto es para todas ustedes #juliantinas que sepan que las amo con todo mi corazón y las apoyo, pero sobre todo estoy agradecida con ustedes por darme tanto amor, por permitirme entrar en cada uno de sus corazones y hacerme parte de cada una de sus historias! #loveislove🌈Este mundo tiene que sentirse libre para amar. Este es un mensaje de agradecimiento y apoyo para cada un@ de ustedes. Gracias @amaramuerteoficial por permitirme darle vida a la Juliana y con ella hacerme más humana. #notgaybutsupportive”

Find “Amar a Muerte” streaming on Televisa.

READ: Univision Makes History, Announces First Telenovela That Will Star Gay Couple In Leading Role

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