Latinos have made major strides in recent years when it comes to speaking up and standing out. We have taken new seats in politics, led major national movements and using our voices to uplift each other. Latinos in the LGBTQ community have also found their voice and are taking up space in society and the LGBTQ community like never before. Here are 9 LGBTQ Latinos who are changing the world for LGBTQ rights on day at a time.
1. Alan Pelaez Lopez
Self-portrait of a Black NDN wearing a colorful top attempting to perform as if they have it all together, though they are barely recovering from a 5-day sickness due to exhaustion. Anyways, class was cute today. Three students presented on “performativity,” “transphobia,” and “toxic masculinity.” I wish I had access to language like this when I was an undergrad. Alas, here we are: where there is possibility and disaster. #afroindigenous #afrofuturism #qtpoc #gnc #sfbayarea #educator
Pelaez Lopez is a graduate student at University of California, Berkeley, a writer and an activist within the undocumented, queer, Afro-Latino space. He uses his poetry to tell the stories of his life and the lives so countless people dealing with the same reality he navigates every day. His word and writings have been featured in countless publications including the Huffington Post sharing his message with a larger community.
2. Bamby Salcedo
Salcedo grew up in Guadalajara, Mexico and had a hard time growing up. According to her website, the internationally known activist had a hard life with homelessness, drug addiction and growing up with a sexually abusive step father. After immigrating to the U.S. and fighting through her drug addiction, the trans Latina activist has fought tirelessly for trans rights and trans visibility. Her works has earned her numerous awards for several diverse organizations.
3. Yosimar Reyes
Episode 52: Yosimar Reyes… is live! . . . Yosimar Reyes joins us this week and we GET INTO IT! The nationally acclaimed poet, educator, performance artist and public speaker tells @FavyFav and @Babelito all about his one man show, his special relationship with his grandmother and the importance of being held accountable for the quality of the content we produce as artists, writers and cultural makers. Listen as @yosirey schools us all on the importance of knowing our worth as artists and advises us to always demand equal treatment in all that we do. #supportbrownpodcasts #supportlatinxpodcasts #podsincolor #yosimarreyes
Reyes is a poet and organizer that uses his words to share the experience of being a queer Chicano. His works has toured universities across the country giving a voice to the downtrodden and often ignored. He has published books that are collections of his works as well as co-founding Maricolectiva, a organization of queer undocumented spoken poets. His first book published was “For Colored Boys Who Speak Softly…,” which was self-published with the help of Carlos Santana.
4. Jennicet Gutiérrez
Gutiérrez made national news when in 2015 she interrupted President Obama while he was speaking at the White House during Pride month. Gutiérrez was in the crowd when Obama began to speak about trans women of color and she needed to be heard. Her message was that more needs to be done to protect undocumented trans women of color in detention centers. Trans women in detention centers face sexual harassment, rape, refusal of medication and are some times detained with men. Her disruption was for respect and recognition.
5. Carmen Carrera
Carrera first came out as trans after her time on RuPaul’s Drag Race. She has since become one of the most recognizable faces in the modeling industry and has broken down barriers and doors for trans women trying to become models. She has utilized her fame to speak for trans rights across the U.S. as well as Latin America. As someone of Peruvian descent, she has also used her voice specifically in Peru to fight for LGBTQ rights.
6. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
Rep. Ros-Lehtinen is an ally to the LGBTQ community. As a Republican representative from Florida, Rep. Ros-Lehtinen fought for LGBTQ rights from marriage equality to same-sex adoptions. She was prompted to take a stand for LGBTQ rights because of her trans son. Her career in politics might be ending, but her legacy is far reaching for LGBTQ Latinos in the nation.
7. Shane Ortega
Ortega was the first openly trans person serving in the military during the fight against “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” The military veteran is a strong activist for LGBTQ rights in the military. When President Trump announced his ban on trans military members serving, Ortega quickly spoke up and made it known that trans military members should not be silenced or marginalized.
8. Julio Salgado
Salgado is one of the most known undocumented queer artists who uses his art to illustrate the life experiences of undocumented, queer people. His art is provocative and paints a vivid scene about the perils and fear of his community.
9. Lauren Jauregui
Jauregui publicly came out as bisexual in 2016 with an open letter to President Trump about the importance of tolerance. She has since used her Twitter account to attack trolls who attack her LGBTQ fans.