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Here’s Why An Undocumented Trans Latina Helped Create The LGBTQ Pride March Of Our Lifetime

June 11 will be the day that the LGBTQ community makes their voices heard during the Equality March for Unity and Pride scheduled to take place in Washington D.C. The march has been organized by a team of national co-chairs who believe strongly in the idea of advancing the progress for all people in the LGBTQ community, including trans women of color who are disproportionately impacted by violent hate crimes and murder across the country. One of the co-chairs of the national Equality March for Unity and Pride, Catalina Velasquez, a trans undocumented Latina from Colombia, spoke to mitú about the importance of the upcoming march and why she decided to take part as a national co-chair.

Catalina Velasquez (third from the left) is one of the national co-chairs of the upcoming Equality March for Unity and Pride that is bringing attention to the issues impacting the trans and queer community.

CREDIT: Catalina Velasquez / Facebook

“Our platform is very intersectional recognizing that a lot of the transgender and queer community have often times been left behind, both politically and socially, with what current national organizations have done,” Velasquez told mitú. “We have a platform that brings reproductive health rights and justice as a trans queer issue: talking about abortion as a trans queer issue, access to contraception as a trans queer issue, bodily autonomy and agency over one’s reproductive decisions as a trans queer issue.”

Velasquez wants to provide a platform for the LGBTQ community to speak out against anti-blackness, health care needs, and immigration, which is most personal to her.

CREDIT: Catalina Velasquez / Facebook

“As an undocumented trans-Latina, of course making immigration a trans queer issue since over 80 countries criminalize people based on sexual orientation and gender identity,” Velasquez expressed to mitú. “Deportation of a transgender immigrant is deportation to a death sentence so we really want to show what it really means to look at the larger trans and queer community of color.”

Velasquez is an immigrant from Colombia who came here when she was only 14 years old.

CREDIT: Catalina Velasquez / Facebook

According to an interview she did with The 41 List, Velasquez talked about how she and her family fled Colombia because of the political environment. Velasquez told The 41 List that her family was very politically active when she was younger and when the political tides changed in that country, she and her family were the direct targets of several threats including attempted kidnappings. One night, her father told her that they were fleeing to the U.S. and not to tell anyone. Velasquez is a beneficiary of deferred action as signed by Janet Napolitano in 2012.

Velasquez told mitú that it is imperative that immigration becomes a part of the LGBTQ debate and fight because of the number of LGBTQ people fleeing deadly persecution in their countries for safety in the U.S.

CREDIT: Catalina Velasquez / Facebook

“We can’t forget that immigration is a symptom of dehumanizing militaristic US foreign policy that kills,” Velasquez told mitú. “I say that very intentionally because the United States’ presence abroad exacerbates and becomes a push factor often that leads to folks making the life changing decision or seeking a life with dignity, seeking a life period, over death. We have seen, that in terms of foreign policy, the United States has not always been one that has centered LGBTQIA+ rights and needs and oftentimes, especially under this current administration, has worked against it and so a conversation about immigration needs to be a conversation about foreign policy.”

“I think what motivated me personally to join this march is the fact that the ‘T’ [in LGBTQ] is no longer silent,” Velasquez told mitú.

CREDIT: Catalina Velasquez / Facebook

Velasquez believes that it is important for the march that is going to be a visible representation of the LGBTQ community show the “vibrant and diverse LGBTQIA+ communities plural.” Velasquez told mitú that she wants to see more trans people being included in these kinds of organizing missions and conversations to add more depth to the work being done by these national LGBTQ organizations.

The Equality March for Unity and Peace is scheduled for June 11 in Washington D.C. and Velasquez is determined to inject some color into the LGBTQ celebration.

CREDIT: The Equality March for Unity and Pride / Facebook

Velasquez says that she understands that as a trans or queer person of color, it is often the case that you function in an Anglo-white, cis-gender, gay male space. This mentality and environment leaves LGBTQ people of color out of the equation and impacts those people’s ability to fight for things that are specific to their experience.

As for what she wants attendees of the march to get from their experience, she wants them to embrace the diversity of the LGBTQ community.

CREDIT: Catalina Velasquez / Facebook

“Ultimately, [I want them to] find strength and unity from diversity without taking away the particularities and distinctions that each of us have as we walk this earth and all come together to fight for the right to breathe and walk unapologetically in our truths,” Velasquez told mitú.


READ: Here’s How Three Women, Including A Mexican-American, Came Together To Organize One Of The Biggest Marches Of Our Time

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Solomon Ray Is One Of The Hottest Musicians On Scene Right Now And These Pics Prove It

Entertainment

Solomon Ray Is One Of The Hottest Musicians On Scene Right Now And These Pics Prove It

solomonraymusic / Instagram

Solomon Ray is one of the hottest artists in music right now. The young man is delivering music and lewks that we didn’t know we needed. Let’s take a moment to admire the artist who si giving us some new music.

This is Solomon Ray and he is not shy about showing off who he is.

One of the most iconic quotes from Juan Gabriel and it still rings true today. How many times has someone in your family asked about your sexuality? Like, obviously it is what you suspect it to be so why the third-degree, tía?

He’s a Britney stan, which is still so very important.

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OH, BABY! BABY!

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She might have one of the most bizarre Instagram accounts ever created, but that’s just part of her. Britney is an American treasure and should be protected and honored at all times no matter what. It’s a good thing that Ray understands the importance of loving the pop icon.

He knows how to give you all of those rancho vibes.

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No puedo decidir. La primera foto o la segunda?

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Those chains against the hairy chest are really just everything. Honestly, we should be thanking him for being able to serve us such diverse lewks. We should aspire to have a man that can do both.

Ray even does the thing when he is at work.

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🎶 🎼 🎵

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Just like mami always said, “You can never be overdressed.” Mom instilled in us the importance of always being well put together no matter what. We dress up to hang out in the living room to hang out when the family comes over. Seems like Ray would be the perfect man to bring around.

Look at him being all chill with Mariah Carey.

Like, we get it. You have famous friends and know people who are just incredibly awesome. Well, if you do know Mariah Carey, let’s go ahead and plan a dinner date. You know, for networking.

READ: Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Guatemalan Son Is Becoming A Bodybuilder And He Is Definitely A Thirst Trap

Trans Advocacy Group Establishes First Spanish-Language Trans Hotline

Culture

Trans Advocacy Group Establishes First Spanish-Language Trans Hotline

translifeline / Instagram

Trans Lifeline is a hotline for the trans community that offers resources and counseling during tough times. COVID-19 has really exposed the inequalities in our communities and the world is having to react. That’s why Trans Lifeline offers the first Spanish-language trans hotline in the U.S.

Trans Lifeline has helped trans people since 2014.

For almost 6 years, Trans Lifeline has been a place for trans people to connect with other trans people for help. The hotline is for trans people and run by trans people to talk about trans issues without unneeded pressure. The hotline also understands the strained relationship between police officers and the trans community.

“The Hotline was, and still is, the only service in the country in which all operators are transgender,” reads the Trans Lifeline website. “Because of the particularly vulnerable relationship transgender people have with police, it is also the only service in the country with a policy against non-consensual active rescue.”

Trans Lifeline hired T Peña to run the Spanish-language service.

Peña was hired to be the Bilingual Hotline Services Coordinator. The genderqueer Afro-Cuban told Trans Lifeline that they would love to learn sign language to better engage with their partner and younger child, who are both on the autism spectrum. Peña’s position will be to make sure that trans people get the access they deserve to local services and Trans Lifeline can accomplish that.

Trans Lifeline recognized a need for a Spanish-language option for trans people in need.

According to a report from the UCLA School of Law Williams Institute, 21 percent fo adults who identify as trans are Latino. Sixteen percent of adults identifying as trans are Black. White people make up 55 percent of adults who identify as trans. The high number of trans Latinos and Latinas shows a need to have resources for our trans hermanos y hermanas.

If you are trans and speak Spanish, there is a chance for you to help.

If you are a trans person who can speak Spanish, there is a place for you to help your community. The fight for trans lives is far from over as trans women of color, particularly Black trans women face disproportionate murder and violence.

If you need help, Trans Lifeline is here for you.

The organization is here to help. With more than 98,000 calls answered and more than $500,000 in donations dispersed to help the trans community, Trans Lifeline is here to help their community.

READ: Netflix’s ‘Disclosure’ Gets Honest About The Evolution Of Trans Representation In Media