Entertainment

Valentina Took To The RuPaul Stage Dressed As A Mariachi And It Slayed

Season 9 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” is in full swing and one queen is giving the contestants and “Drag Race” fans all the Latina heat they can handle. Valentina, representing Latinos from East L.A., rocked her first runway look by throwing it all the way back…to Mariachi Plaza. The Mexicana queen is already proving herself as a force to be reckoned with her upbeat personality, utterly slaying looks, and by winning the first challenge. Introducing, Valentina – or

Ladies and gentlemen… Introducing, Valentina – or James Leyva when not in drag.

Introducing Valentina, the Latina queen slaying on “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”


“My type of drag is very dramatic, very theatrical, and always very Latina,” Valentina, who has only been doing drag for 10 months, said on the season 9 premiere of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” “I’m an undiscovered superstar.”

This queen can give you Barbie doll glam…


“I think I would consider myself a glamor girl, but I think it depends on my look and my level of performance,” Valentina told LAist.

Comedy…


And, when not in drag, smoldering Latino realness.

✨?Amor a la Mexicana?✨ #AllAboutValentina ?: @abelr

A post shared by Valentina? (@allaboutvalentina) on


Yas, James! YAAASSSS!!!!

On the first episode of season 9, performers were told to present an outfit the represents their neighborhood and Valentina did not disappoint.

RuPaul's Drag Race / VH1 / grammylesslana / Tumblr
CREDIT: RuPaul’s Drag Race / VH1 / grammylesslana / Tumblr

“What I do is very romantic, very regal, very elegant,” Valentina told LAist. “Being Latino and being Mexican, it’s everything that I am and I try to make sure no matter what I’m doing, it’s always through the eye and through the lens of a powerful Latina woman.”

“I’m from East L.A. representing Mariachi Plaza,” Valentina proclaimed while strutting down that runway.

RuPaul's Drag Race / VH1 / grammylesslana / Tumblr
CREDIT: RuPaul’s Drag Race / VH1 / grammylesslana / Tumblr

[slays in Spanish]

In March, Valentina made headlines with fellow “Drag Race” contestant Trinity Taylor and photographer Jason King when they were attacked in West Hollywood.

I’ve debated writing this post because I don’t usually like to put my very personal stuff out on social media. I’m not…

Posted by Jason King on Friday, March 17, 2017

“Last night Trinity Taylor, James Leyva [Valentina], two other friends and myself were walking home after the club and a guy we didn’t know took it upon himself to join our group but not saying anything,” King wrote on Facebook about the incident. “After a certain amount of time this became uncomfortable and he was asked very politely by Valentina [James Leyva] to please not follow us. He said his car was parked in the same direction we were going so he was asked again politely to go ahead of us and we would wait. He asked us to go ahead of him instead and it went back and forth like that a couple of times until finally Valentina said we would go the other way and the guy then punched him. I went to go get the guy off of Valentina and he punched me in the nose and broke it. I spent 9 hours in the ER.”

Valentina posted a video to Instagram letting his fans know that he was okay after the event.

?I love you guys so much?

A post shared by Valentina? (@allaboutvalentina) on


“I just want to let everyone know that I’m okay. I’m doing really good,” Valentina says in the video. “The incident happened and I’m fine. Everyone is fine. Jason is fine. Trinity is fine. I have lots of support from family and friends and it wasn’t a hate crime. It was just a crazy druggie who was out there just being bad. I was a lucky person to have had it happen to.”


READ: This Queen Is Utterly Destroying This Texas High School In Her New Revenge Movie

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Trans Activists Of Color Protested At The CNN/HRC Equality Town Hall And Audience Members Applauded

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Trans Activists Of Color Protested At The CNN/HRC Equality Town Hall And Audience Members Applauded

Bryan Bedder / Ethan Miller / GETTY IMAGES

CNN and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) hosted a historic town hall last night focusing on issues impacting the LGBTQ+ community. The moderators and presidential candidates tackled topics and hard-hitting issues that have severely impacted the lives of millions of LGBTQ+ Americans. The town hall happened as the Supreme Court is deciding if LGBTQ+ people are deserving of the same discrimination protections as all Americans. Here’s what happened last night.

Texas politician Julián Castro made it clear that religion will not be an excuse for LGBTQ+ discrimination in his administration.

There have numerous attempts by local and state governments to legalize religious discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community. The bills, often labeled as Religious Freedom bills, have been proposed in North Carolina and Indiana and failed. North Carolina wanted to legislate what bathroom people had to use and Indiana wanted to give religious organizations and business owners the license to outright discriminate against people based on their faith.

“If I’m elected president, the first order of business on January 20, 2021, will be to have a catalog with all of the different executive actions that this president, this administration, has taken, including exemptions that they’ve created or rolled back that has allowed people to discriminate against the LGBTQ, using as the reason their religion, their excuse their religion,” Castro told an audience member who asked how he will stop religious organizations from using their faith to dictate discriminatory laws. “I will go back to what we did in the Obama administration and then take it to the next level to protect the LGBTQ community. I don’t believe that anybody should be bale to discriminate against you because you are a member of the LGBTQ community. I don’t believe that folks should be getting funding if they’re doing that. I don’t believe that in the healthcare context, the housing context, the employment context that people should be able to do that. I support the Equality Act and will work to pass that. When I was Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, we did the transgender rule, which as I mentioned, expanded the equal access rule so that transgender individuals can find shelter in a manner that they are comfortable with and in accordance to their preference and that’s what I would do as president.”

Castro’s performance during the LGBTQ+ town hall has received praise from LGBTQ+ people.

Credit: @cmclymer / Twitter

Castro was able to speak about the issues impacting the LGBTQ+ community with an understanding that proves he isn’t going off talking points.

His conversation about faith and the license to discriminate showed his understanding of religion and LGBTQ+ people of faith.

Credit: @TUSK81 / Twitter

Castro wants to keep religion from attacking the very LGBTQ+ people of faith who depend on it. For many religious LGBTQ+ people, seeing religious leaders claim that their faith doesn’t accept them is a harsh reality.

Trans women of color let their voices be heard in a town hall that largely ignored them.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg was interrupted when he started his time on the stage. Trans activist Bamby Salcedo and other trans women of color stormed the venue holding trans flag that read “We Are Dying.” The women chanted “We are dying” and “Do something.” Some audience members joined the women in their protest however others jumped up to take the flag away and end the protest.

Anderson Cooper, who was moderating for Buttigieg, spoke up for the women as they were escorted out telling the audience, “Let me just point out, there is a long and proud tradition in history in the gay, lesbian and transgender community of protest and we applaud them for their protest.”

Cooper continued saying, “And they are absolutely right to be angry and upset at the lack of attention, particularly in the media, of the lives of transgender [people].”

Another trans activist, Blossom C Brown, also took on the moderators about the lack of Black trans voices during the town hall.

A lot of the conversation during the town hall focused on issues impacting gay men, trans women, and bisexual people. Many are calling out the town hall for ignoring trans people of color, lesbians, and non-binary people when it comes to health, housing, identity expression, and other issues impacting these communities specifically.

Ashlee Marie Preston, the only trans Black woman in the program, was taken out of the program by CNN so she publicly boycotted the event.

Credit: @AshleeMPreston / Twitter

There was a pretty glaring lack of trans women and men of color during the hours of discussion about LGBTQ+ issues. It is a common complaint within the community as trans women of color have long been ignored and silenced within the LGBTQ+ Rights movement.

READ: After Almost Two Years, Trans Activist Alejandra Barrera Has Been Released From ICE Custody

The Supreme Court’s Term Is Starting Off With Major Cases That Will Impact The Lives Of Many Americans

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The Supreme Court’s Term Is Starting Off With Major Cases That Will Impact The Lives Of Many Americans

Molly Adams / Flickr

The nine justices of the Supreme Court will return to the chambers to an explosive docket. The court is set to hear cases covering an array of social issues from abortion to DACA to LGBTQ+ discrimination to the Second Amendment. It is shaping up to be a major term for the highest court in the land.

The Supreme Court is getting ready to hear a series of cases that could impact some of the biggest social issues in American culture.

Credit: @hshaban / Twitter

All eyes are on the Supreme Court as major cases are being presented. Some of the cases included in the docket for this term of the Supreme Court are the fate of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the definition of “sex” as it pertains to Title 7 of the Civil Rights Act and the LGBTQ community’s right to work without discrimination, an abortion case from Louisiana seeking to limit abortion rights, and a gun regulation from New York City.

On Oct. 8, the Supreme Court heard arguments about discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people.

In almost half of the country, there are no laws protecting people in the LGBTQ+ community from being discriminated against in the workplace. The Supreme Court heard arguments from two gay men and one trans woman claiming that they were fired from their places of work because of their identity.

During oral arguments, when the employers being sued in the case argued that sex is different than same-sex attraction, Justice Elena Kagan suggested that the law does favor the employees.

“If he were a woman, he wouldn’t have been fired,” Justice Kagan told General Solicitor Noel Francisco, who is representing the employers. “This is the usual kind of way in which we interpret statutes now. We look to laws. We don’t look to predictions. We don’t look to desires. We don’t look to wishes. We look to laws.”

The Trump administration is aiming to get rid of DACA protections from almost 700,000 young people.

Credit: @SenWarren / Twitter

DACA is a program that was first created by President Obama. It gave almost 700,000 young immigrants who came to the U.S. as children the chance to go to college, get work permits, and protected them from deportation. The Trump administration ended the program in 2017 and immediately threw the lives of all DACA recipients in limbo.

United We Dream, a DACA-led media company filed its own brief with the Supreme Court. The brief is a first-of-its-kind video brief with DACA recipients arguing their case for preserving DACA. The organization also included an official written brief.

“DACA has accomplished far more than affording deferred prosecutorial action. It has created lifechanging opportunities for hundreds of thousands of promising young people. DACA has allowed them to lead fuller and more vibrant lives, including by seizing opportunities to advance their education, furthering their careers, providing critical help to their families, and giving back to their communities,” reads the United We Dream brief. “Able to make use of the basic building blocks of a productive life—a Social Security number, work authorization, or driver’s license, for example—DACA recipients have thrived. They are students, teachers, health care workers, first responders, community leaders, and small business owners. They are also spouses, neighbors, classmates, friends, and coworkers. Collectively, they are parents of over a quarter-million U.S. citizens, and 70% of DACA recipients have an immediate family member who is a U.S. citizen. They pay taxes, contribute to their local economies in myriad ways, and spur a virtuous cycle of further opportunity for many Americans.”

Another case people are watching is an abortion case coming out of Louisiana.

Credit: @IlhanMN / Twitter

The case, June Medical Services v. Gee, isn’t aiming to overturn Roe v. Wade but it is hoping to limit the abortion rights of women starting in Louisiana. The law being challenged requires all abortion providers to get privileges are a hospital 30 miles from where the abortions take place.

The case is very similar to a Texas case that the Supreme Court rejected three terms ago. As such, the Louisiana case is asking the Supreme Court to distinguish between the two cases and to determine that the restriction is legitimate if a legislator vouches that the restriction is valid rather than it being valid in practice. As it stands, the law would leave just one doctor in the state of Louisiana allowed to perform abortions.

Another case getting some attention as it sits on the Supreme Court docket deals with the Second Amendment.

Credit: @DaigleLawGroup / Twitter

New York City’s original rule made it so handguns could only be transported to seven gun ranges throughout the city. While the case was originally contested because of the rule. New York City changed the rule and asked the court to dismiss the case as moot, but the court rejected the motion. This will be the first time the Supreme Court has heard a case about the Second Amendment’s reach in over a decade and is being hailed as a victory for gun rights advocates.

READ: DACA Advocates Shut Down Joe Biden At Last Night’s Democratic Debate, Here’s The Message They Delivered Loud And Clear