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The Queens Of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Have Kept Latino Strong Alive In The World Of Drag For 10 Years

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Ever since the beginning of the show a decade ago (yes, it has been ten years since this groundbreaking television program made its debut on February 2009), RuPaul’s Drag Race has celebrated Latin American and Hispanic-American music, dance, aesthetics, and culture. In fact, some of the best and more daring queens have had Latino heritage

The program has a huge following the world over, and Latin America is no exception. It is not only popular within queer communities, but also among anyone who thrives on seeing others feeling empowered by being themselves, le guste a quien le guste.

Here are some key moments in which Latina queens have celebrated their heritage or non-Latino reinas preciosas have kindly paid an homage to the rich visual mosaic that is the Americas (by the way, gringos, America is a continent, the United States is a country, so don’t call it “America”, porfavorcito). Let’s not forget that RuPaul’s Drag Race is all about being spectacularly fabulous, so some of these examples are borderline pasados de lanza, but we are sure that the queens had the best of intentions. 

Bianca del Rio tots gave love to Nuyoricans.

Credit: RuPaulsDragRace / Giphy

Bianca del Rio, who is Cuban and Honduran, is probably the most beloved queen of all time (we said “probably” before you start setting the house on fire!). Here, she is paying her respects to New York Puerto Rican culture. OK, it seems like she is mocking it but remember the show is all about fun. Serving cake like a boss! 

Bianca also did her own version of Dora la Explora!

Credit: RuPaulsDragRace / Giphy

Like it or not, Dora The Explorer was a groundbreaking TV show, as it brought Latino culture and Spanish to mainstream popular culture. Sure, it was a bit washed down, but at the time it was quite revolutionary. Our queen Bianca del Rio knows it and gives us her own Dora interpretation. 

Oops… it was a bit NSFW!

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But do you know? It actually means the verb “arrebatar” which means “to take”. 

Oops, I did it again!

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No comments. Sorry, not sorry! What else do you expect from one of the funniest and raunchiest queens to ever grace the stage of RuPaul’s Drag Race?

Adore Delano gave us her best virgencita version

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Virgin Mary is one of the most important religious figures for Latin American culture. Although some might see this as blasphemous (we can’t see why, honestly, if you keep an open mind), Adore communicated her spirituality by wearing this elaborate outfit that is literally divine.

Talking about virgencitas look at this treat that Shuga Cain served us recently. We are drooling.

Credit: @RuPaulsDragRace /Twitter

Hang this heavenly image in any wall and people will worship. Enter this outfit on the Dragulator’s hard disk now. We were devastated to see her leave the show but so grateful that we got to experience her genius.

Is it us or is Delano channeling the Colombian superstar Shakira?

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Credit: Shakira-Pies_Descalzos-Frontal. Digital image. Coveralia

OMG. She totally looks like a young Shakira, when our dear Colombian looked like a Latina version of Joan Baez meets Tori Amos. Shakira is a true icon of Latin culture worldwide, so Adore’s homage is welcome. It is full of C.U.N.T, Drag Race for Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and, of course, Talent.

Jinkx Monsoon is a great plañidera.

Credit: RuPauls Drag Race / VH1

plañidera is a woman who is actually hired to cry during a funeral. It is a staple of Latin cultures, not only Latin American but also Italian and Greek. Here, Jinkx Monsoon totally looks like an abuelita crying at a funeral, all pious with that black veil. Her performance is worthy of an Academy Award, truly for the gods! 

Valentina is a charrita like no other.

Credit: RuPauls Drag Race / VH1

Valentina got her Mexican up with this amazing mariachi or charro outfit. OK, it might not be that authentic (we don’t know where she got the idea that those shoulder pads are something that Pedro Infante or Jorge Negrete would wear), but el esfuerzo es lo que cuenta. Those Chicken Cutlets are on the wrong place, sweetheart!

Manila Luzon served us some Gloria Stefan realness

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This hot queen totally gave us a 1980s Miami vibe. Her attitude is totally reminiscent of Gloria Stefan and the Cuban-American scene. That swagger though! And a Body-Ody-Ody to die for.

Then she was possessed by the spirit of Carmen Miranda.

Credit: RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars /VH1
Credit: Giphy

We can’t think of a more stereotypically Latin American look than the one made famous by classic Hollywood starlet Carmen Miranda. Our chica Manila Luzon gave it a twist wearing a wrapped fruit basket! The homenaje is as funny as it is sort of classy.

In that same season, Valentina was Miss Venezuela.

Credit: RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars /VH1

Venezuela has been fertile ground for beauty queens, women who do physical features of indigenous, Black and European beauty, all mixed together. Valentina tried to do them right with this fierce look. 

A few years ago, Serena ChaCha took us all the way to a Panamanian carnival.

Credit: RuPauls Drag Race / VH1

This chiquita pero picosa lady wore those feathers in a killer look that is reminiscent of carnival cultures in the continent, from Panama to Brazil. We can almost smell the salty sea breeze and feel the balmy sweat on our faces looking at this pocket rocket. BAM! BAM! BAM!

Mercedes Iman gave us a dose of Old Havana charm.

Credit: @RuPaulsDragRace / Twitter

Imagine the setting: an outdoor bar in La Habana Vieja, with couples lasciviously dancing to the rhythm of the ocean tides, the smell of cigars lingering in the air, the taste of rum, sugar and mint (mojitos!) in your mouth, and a delicious son cubano (Simoneeeeey) setting the mood… Mercedes Iman (from the latest season of RuPaul’s Drag Race) walks in, stunning in her sexy yet elegant dress. She would fit right in, like a knife on butter. Fierce! Fierce! Fierce!

She could very well be accompanied by this stunning lady.

Credit: @RuPaulsDragRace / Twitter

Can they get their sh*t together and launch a double act already? We would pay to see them. Perhaps they could do an awesome Celia Cruz and Omara Portuondo lip sync battle! Take our money and run, ladies. 

Mariah Balenciaga got all J.Lo on us during DragCon.

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The hairdo, the dress that goes up to the point where it ceases to be decent and the attitude… it all screams Jenny from the block. We love this homage to one of our Latino icons. Jennifer Lopez is powerful, a true boricua warrior, and Mariah Balenciaga certainly channeled that. She looks so hot she flooded our basements! (yes, that is a thing… if you disagree please click here and get your RuPaul lingo together, ignorante de la vida). 

OK, you tried… Happy Cinco de Mayo, we guess!

Credit: @Bhytes1 / Twitter

Season 11 queen Brooke Lynn Hytes (Brooklyn Heights, get it?) uploaded this picture of her man celebrating Cinco de Mayo. Cultural appropriation much? That’s OK, this date is all about celebrating all things Hispanic anyway, so we will give her a pass.

READ: 27 Moments When Latina Queens Ruled In RuPaul’s Drag Race

Even In Her 70s, Victoria Cruz Continues To Fight For The LGBTQ Community

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Even In Her 70s, Victoria Cruz Continues To Fight For The LGBTQ Community

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The history of Gay Rights in the country date back to the late ’60s and the epicenter was Manhattan. The core fighters of the LGBTQ community include Marsha P. Johnson, Scott G. Brown, Sylvia Rivera, and a slew of other pioneers. The sad thing is this generation has passed or will very soon, which is why we have to honor their legacy while they’re still alive. One of those people is an inspiring person in our Latinx community.

Victoria Cruz, who is in her 70s, is a survivor of the Stonewall Riots and is still very much a part of the fight for LGBTQ rights.

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Cruz, who was born in Puerto Rico, is one of 11 children that grew up in New York. While Cruz was born a male, she knew since she was in high school that she was a woman. Back in the ’60s, that was no easy thing to admit, yet her Puerto Rican family supported her transition.

While her family and close community were supportive, Cruz faced immense hardships including harassment from the police, and later in the ’90s, she was assaulted.

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Four of her coworkers physically assaulted her, which left her in ruins.

“I was very angry. Very angry,” Cruz said in an interview with Vanity Fair in 2017. “The worst part of it is that I couldn’t feel the ground beneath me, and added that she was “was contemplating suicide,” at the time.

But she overcame that tough time and is recognized as a leader in the movement for Gay Rights.

Yet, despite the hate and violence she faced, Cruz pushed on standing up for her LGBTQ+ family.

“I used to go to St. Vincent’s on my lunch hour…and I would see her,” Cruz told The Advocate. “She called to me, ‘Victoria, come here.’ And she always called me Dickie, you know, so when she said, ‘Victoria come here,’ I knew that she meant business. I sat down, and she looked at me. She said, ‘Try to keep the community together because we are our own worst enemy. And there’s power in numbers.’ And then she said, ‘The world will come up to try to divide us, and when you divide a community, you conquer it. So try to keep the community together.’”

As a trans woman and pioneer of the LGBTQ movement, Cruz said positive change is happening right now.

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“I’m optimistic, and I’m hopeful that it will change for the better,” she told The Advocate. “There’s power in numbers. If we unite and keep united, we can make the future different, and what we want it to be. By galvanizing one another, we galvanize each other. And with the same frame of mind, the same frame of thought, we can change what’s happening.”

Trans rights are the new frontier in the LGBTQ+ movement. Despite the contributions made to the movement by trans women of color, cis members of the LGBTQ+ community ignore their plight or add to the harassment.

“There is so much hatred directed toward queer people, particularly transgender women of color. For what? Why? I think it may be about people’s own insecurities about their own identities and sexualities. And further, people don’t know their history,” Cruz told BC/Stories. “The transgender experience isn’t new. It’s as old as the human experience, and anyone who does their research would know this. I think society needs to be educated, and maybe after being educated, empathy will follow.”

READ: Zuri Moreno Made Sure The Trans Community In Montana Remained Safe

Here’s Why AOC Called Her Address At Bronx’s Pride “The Most BX” Speech She Ever Gave

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Here’s Why AOC Called Her Address At Bronx’s Pride “The Most BX” Speech She Ever Gave

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) made an appearance at Bronx Pride 2019 on Sunday, where she gave an air horn-accompanied address that she called “The most BX pride speech I ever gave.”

As the Puerto Rican congressional freshman, who hails from the borough, shouted LGBTQ  policy points she has advocated for in her five months in elected office, spectators blasted “bwa-bwa-bwa-bwaaah” air horns, a familiar sound to the community that birthed hip-hop.

“They really cued up the horns for our policy points. There’s no place like home,” she later tweeted alongside a couple laughing-crying emojis.

During her short talk, AOC touched on what Pride, a time to commeorate the trans women of color-led Stone Wall riots that birthed the gay rights movement and led to the LGBTQ battles and wins of today, means.

“Pride is about honoring the community workers, the people who work in the clinics, the community organizers, the people who work with LGBTQ youth, the people who are fighting to make sure that it’s not just about marriage equality, but quality of life for all people in the community,” she said.

The congresswoman also highlighted some of the biggest issues impacting queer communities at the moment.

“What does the LGBTQ fight mean in a post-marriage-equality world? Here’s what it means: It’s making PrEP free for all people,” she said, as an air horn blasted. 

In Congress, Ocasio-Cortez has led the fight for affordable PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), which could decrease the spreading of HIV during sexual intercourse, criticizing the CEO of Gilead, the pharmaceutical company behind the PrEP drug Truvada, in May during a congressional hearing over the high cost of the drug.

“It means tackling the homelessness crisis among our LGBTQ youth,” she continued, with the sound of another “bwa-bwa-bwa-bwaaah” following. 

“It means decarcerating our society so that no trans woman and no person ever dies again in custody,” she said, alluding to the death of transgender Afro-Latina Layleen Polanco earlier this month in New York’s Rikers Island, as another round of air horns exploded. 

“It means no one is denied a job because of their gender identity, no matter what it is,” she said to a final blast.

Ocasio-Cortez wasn’t the only elected official at Bronx Pride. State Senator Alessandra Biaggi and Senator Chuck Schumer were also in attendance, supporting and taking photos with those who participated in the parade.

Since taking office, the young congresswoman has made issues confronting the LGBTQ community a top priortity.

Read: Historians And AOC Agree That Detention Centers Look Like Concentration Camps But Conservatives Don’t Want To Hear It

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