Entertainment

Queer People Are Shouting Their Gratitude For Naya Rivera’s Trailblazing Character Santana Lopez

There are few queer characters the people can point to in the past as being someone that changed their lives. Santana Lopez, Naya Rivera’s character on “Glee,” is one of them. Even if you’ve never watched “Glee,” Rivera’s character touched you because of how that representation is so important and empowering.

Naya Rivera’s place in LGBTQ+ media representation will be her long-lasting legacy.

Rivera brought us Santana Lopez, a queer Latina navigating the world of high school in a small town. For many, this kind of representation was so rare and often poorly done that Rivera’s command of the role was impactful. You didn’t have to be an avid viewer of the show to understand and appreciate the magnitude of Santana Lopez.

Rivera brought our experience directly to the mainstream and forced our own classmates to think about the way they saw queer people.

Rivera’s ability to capture the awkwardness and terror of being a closeted queer student in high school still resonates. It is a piece of nostalgia that is so deeply ingrained in queer people that it’s hard not to be emotional about Rivera’s sudden and tragic death.

Who can forget the moment Santana used “Landslide” to tell Brittany that she loved her.

The emotion of a love that is not easy to confess and live authentically is real. Ask any queer person you know about coming to terms with her sexuality in high school and you will hear about the fear and excitement. You will hear about the strategic allyships that epitomize the constant battle between being open and staying safe.

Rivera was more than an actress, she was an ally and advocate during her time on “Glee.”

Season 2, when Rivera’s feelings for Brittany (played by Heather Morris) grew, aired from 2010 to 2011. It was a time when marriage equality was not nationwide. Some states still barred same-sex couples from adopting children. Yet, queer high school and college students had a chance to see their experience mirrored because of Rivera’s insistence.

Rivera’s death is a major loss for the queer community that got our strength and courage from her.

Knowing that all of the “Glee” fans were rooting for and falling in love with Santana Lopez gave us a chance to breathe and feel accepted. Adding her Latina heritage was so important. Queer people of color, who have faced increased scrutiny from their own families, had someone representing them completely and sincerely.

Demi Lovato paid tribute by remembering the time she played Santana Lopez’s girlfriend.

The queer Latina love was not lost on fellow queer Latinos. Lovato herself was not out about her sexuality at the time and she admits in her post that Rivera inspired her. Rivera’s efforts to give the character an accurate and respectful storyline will forever be praised and admired as a fully realized manifestation of our experience.

Thank you for being someone we didn’t know we needed, Naya.

Our hearts are broken and our eyes are wet. We send love and hope to your loved ones. Rest in power, mija. We love you and will never forget what you did for our community.

READ: Naya Rivera’s Body Found In Lake Piru After Going Missing During Outing With Son

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‘Glee’ Star Naya Rivera Laid To Rest After Death Certificate Finds She Drowned ‘In Minutes’

Entertainment

‘Glee’ Star Naya Rivera Laid To Rest After Death Certificate Finds She Drowned ‘In Minutes’

nickaylarivera / Instagram

Updated August 3, 2020.

Nearly two weeks have passed since authorities confirmed the death of “Glee” star Naya Rivera. The actress passed away in a tragic drowning accident wherein authorities determined she died fighting to save the life of her own 4-year-old son Josey after they’d been swimming at Lake Piru in Ventura County, California. Various fans, friends, and members of the “Glee” cast have publicly mourned her death as a result.

Speaking about her death, Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub explained during a News Conference that Rivera’s son described being helped into the boat by Naya, who boosted him onto the deck from behind. He told investigators that he looked back and saw her disappear under the surface of the water.”

“There are a lot of currents on the lake that appear particularly in the afternoon,” he added. “We believe it was midafternoon when she disappeared. The idea perhaps being that the boat started drifting, it was unanchored, and that she mustered enough energy to get her son back into the boat, but not enough to save herself.”

Rivera’s body was buried last week at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles. According to BuzzFeed, Twenty-five people, including some of Rivera’s “Glee” cast members, attended a small service to say ‘goodbye.’

Soon after her disappearance and recovery, Rivera’s family put out a statement but the star’s younger sister Nickayla Rivera had yet to speak out.

In a post to her Instagram page, the 25-year-old model shared a heartbreaking tribute to her sister writing “there are no words.”

In an image shared to her Instagram page, Nickayla showed a black and white image of her giving Naya a kiss on the cheek. It’s the first public social media post shared by Nickayla since her sister went missing on July 8.

“Sister,⁣ There are no words to describe my love for you,” she wrote. “Side by side or miles apart, our connection is infinite. Our bond is unbreakable. We were complete opposites, yet simultaneously the same. The yin to my yang. I never knew that by losing you, I would find so much of you in myself.”

“I’ve never known a life without you in it & still can’t imagine it. My world is turned upside down. But through it all, everything we were, we are still,” she continued. “I’ll always look at you with the same eyes as I did when I was young. ⁣My shmaya, I’ll love you for eternity & miss you every second of my life.”

Tributes to Naya have not waned in recent weeks.

On Saturday, Rivera’s ex-husband, Ryan Dorsey, also shared an emotional message about her death on Instagram calling it “unfair.”

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This is so unfair…there's not enough words to express the hole left in everyone's hearts. I can't believe this is life now. I don't know if I'll ever believe it. You were just here… We were just in the back swimming with Josey the day before. Life just isn't fair. I don't know what to say…I'm thankful for our times and our journey that brought us together and gave us the sweetest and kindest smart little boy we could ever hope for. I remember sometimes you used to get annoyed at me: "Ryan can you stop snap chatting!" Haha. I'm glad I didn't listen to you because I have hundreds and probably thousands of snaps and videos that Josey will have forever and know his momma loved him more than life, and how much fun we had together as he was growing up. Life is all about good times and bad times but with Josey it makes the bad a little less so because a part of you will always be with us. He'll never forget where he came from. We miss you. We will always love you. Love you Meep. 🖤💔🖤 ♥️ To everyone that reached out and I haven't had a chance to or just didn't get back to you…thank you all for the overwhelming love and support you've sent our way. I'll just say in closing, be kind to yourself, be kind to others, forgive…forget…don't hold grudges….if you have nothing nice to say maybe try not to say anything. There's peace in silence. Time on Earth is precious and you just never know….you never know what could happen. Hold your loved ones close, and cherish the times you have with those you care about. ♥️

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“This is so unfair… there’s not enough words to express the hole left in everyone’s hearts,” he captioned a photo of Naya Rivera holding their son. “I can’t believe this is life now. I don’t know if I’ll ever believe it. You were just here… We were just in the back swimming with Josey the day before. Life just isn’t fair.”

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‘Glee’ Creators Have Announced A College Fund They Are Creating For Naya Rivera’s Son

Entertainment

‘Glee’ Creators Have Announced A College Fund They Are Creating For Naya Rivera’s Son

Gregg Deguire / Getty Images

There are still a lot of questions surrounding Naya Rivera’s sudden and tragic death. The 33-year-old actress is survived by her young son Josey and the creators of “Glee” are coming together to help his future.

“Glee” creators Ryan Murphy, Ian Brennan, and Brad Falchuk have announced a college fund for Naya Rivera’s son.

Josey Hollis Dorsey, who is 4 years old, was with his mother when she tragically died on Lake Piru in Ventura County, California. Since the discovery of Rivera’s body, the cast and creators of “Glee” have shared touching tributes to the actress and singer.

“Our hearts go out to her family, especially her mom Yolanda, who was a big part of the ‘Glee’ family and her son Josey,” reads the statement by the three creators. “The three of use are currently in the process of creating a college fund for the beautiful son Naya loved most of all.”

The statement comes with the backdrop that Rivera sacrificed her own life to save her son.

According to the official autopsy, Rivera’s cause fo death was drowning in Lake Piru. The actress had rented a pontoon boat for her and her son to enjoy some time together on the lake around the 4th of July holiday. According to officials, Rivera made the ultimate sacrifice for her son.

“She mustered enough energy to get her son back onto the boat, but not enough to save herself,” Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub said in a press conference, according to CNN.

Her former “Glee” classmates remember Rivera as a loving and kind person.

It is clear that Rivera left an indelible mark on everyone she worked with. Her passion for life and her craft is evident in the constant outpouring of love from friends, family, and costars as they continue to try to make sense of the tragedy.

Rest in peace, Naya.

READ: Queer People Are Shouting Their Gratitude For Naya Rivera’s Trailblazing Character Santana Lopez

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