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This Trans Puerto Rican Voguing Master Is So Iconic That Even Beyonce Imitated Her Dance Moves

Leiomy Maldonado has been on the Voguing/Ballroom scene for a while and she is undoubtedly one of the biggest names in that world. Her moves have inspired the choreography of some of music’s biggest stars, including Beyoncé. Yet, she didn’t join the scene to make it big. This trans puertorriqueña from the Bronx found an escape and stress reliever in dance. It was later in her career that she realized that it was what she was called to do. Maldonado spoke to mitú about dance, life, and inspiring major music stars.

Leiomy Maldonado is a dance icon but it wasn’t always that way.


Maldonado was first introduced to voguing when she was only about 14 or 15 years old. She was at the Boys and Girls Club in the Bronx when a chance encounter with a stranger introduced her, via VHS, to the world of voguing.

Maldonado admits that she was immediately fascinated by voguing and wanted to know more. Before she knew it, it became her stress reliever.


“From the beginning, I really didn’t think that I’d be making a career or that I would have grown this passionate about dance,” Maldonado told mitú. “For me, in the beginning, I just fell in love with that style and me going through the transition in my life, I didn’t know how to express that and I used voguing to do that. With using voguing as a stress reliever, I fell in love with the style and fell in love with just the dance overall and from there, people started seeing me and people started telling me that I was going to be something and that I had something special.”

Maldonado said that she always felt supported by her family in her dance career.

My Dad ^__^

A post shared by Leiomy Maldonado (@wond3rwoman1) on


“They [my family] always did [support my ambitions]. For me, I’ve always been the person to go for what I like and what I believe in and things like that,” Maldonado told mitú. “I didn’t really rely on support from my family even though they were supportive. It was just something that I was like, “This is what I’m going to do and I really don’t care who has anything to say about it or who thinks anything about whatever. I’m just doing it because I want to.’”

But it wasn’t until “America’s Best Dance Crew” that Maldonado’s family truly understood what their daughter meant by transitioning and pursuing a serious career in dance.

“It wasn’t until I was on “America’s Best Dance Crew” that they kind of started to understand more because I was able to express myself through TV and explain a little bit of my story and they were able to see that themselves and see why I wasn’t around,” Maldonado told mitú about a moment she realized dance was what she was supposed to be doing. “After that, they understood my career; they understood the woman that I’ve always been and that I’ve grown into. You know, just being confident.”

Maldonado also said it helped her family learn about her transition. “When I began my transition, my family didn’t quite understand what it was because, back then, people weren’t really educated on what being trans was. You either were gay or a lesbian. Like, if you were born a male and showed signs for femininity they would just automatically label you as being gay.” She continued saying, “It wasn’t until I was on “America’s Best Dance Crew” that they kind of started to understand more because I was able to express myself through TV and explain a little bit of my story and they were able to see that themselves and see why I wasn’t around. After that, they understood my career; they understood the woman that I’ve always been and that I’ve grown into. You know, just being confident.”

As her dance career grew, so did the number of people imitating her style until it reached peak mainstream culture a la Beyoncé.

Have a beautiful and blessed day everyone ???

A post shared by Leiomy Maldonado (@wond3rwoman1) on


At first, Maldonado says that she was excited and a little flattered that big stars were using her dance moves but after a while, she realized that people weren’t giving her any credit and only people who knew her knew that she created the moves.

So, she did what any dance icon does (not really). She started her own ballroom house, The House Of Amazon.

The House of Amazon is not about walking balls and being “fab”. I created my house to help my kids grown individually in…

Posted by Leiomy Maldonado on Tuesday, February 23, 2016


“I’ve been a part of a few houses. Actually last year, I introduced my house, which was the house that I opened, the House of Amazon, I introduced to the ballroom scene. We’ve been open for about two years now,” Maldonado told mitú. “Houses are like families so that all depends on what kind of people you want to be around. Every family has their own style their own kind of surroundings or people who they deal with or things that they do and it all depends.”

If there is anything Maldonado would tell other LGBTQ Latinx about thriving it’s to build confidence in who you are.

Feeling myself after class tonight ^__^

A post shared by Leiomy Maldonado (@wond3rwoman1) on


“I would like to share that I was an underdog in the beginning. I feel like it took a lot of struggles and things for me to go through that I went through within the ballroom for me to become as strong and confident as I am now,” Maldonado tells LGBTQ youths. “I feel like a lot of people look for confidence and they look for acceptance in other people but they don’t accept themselves yet and I feel like that’s very important. You have to love yourself and accept yourself before you can grow and be part of other people.”


READ: After Trump’s Anti-Trans Order, Carmen Carrera Has Some Words For Him

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Singer-Songwriter Kany García Speaks Out Against Conversion Therapy in Puerto Rico

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Singer-Songwriter Kany García Speaks Out Against Conversion Therapy in Puerto Rico

As the Puerto Rican government is debating a bill on conversion therapy, Kany García is speaking out against the controversial practice. The Boricua singer-songwriter wrote an open letter to the senators in favor of Senate Bill 184, which would help end conversion therapy on the island.

Kany is one of Puerto Rico’s most-decorated artists.

García is one of the Puerto Rico’s top artists. She’s won six Latin Grammy out of a career 20 nominations. In March, she was also nominated for her third Grammy Award for her latest album Mesa Para Dos.

This year Kany celebrated five years since coming out.

On Valentine’s Day 2016, García revealed that she was in a relationship with her partner, Jocelyn Troche. The couple is still going strong with Troche appearing in last year’s “Lo Que En Ti Veo.” She and García share beautiful moments in the video. At November’s Latin Grammy Awards, there was a big wave of artists in the LGBTQ+ community in the major categories, including García, Ricky Martin, Pablo Alborán, and Jesse y Joy’s Joy Huerta.

She’s telling Puerto Rican senators to pass Senate Bill 184 in her letter.

Since coming out, García has remained at the forefront of queer issues in Puerto Rico. The passage of Senate Bill 184 seeks to prohibit conversion therapy. The controversial practice has long harmed LGBTQ+ communities. It’s thought of as a way to rid them of their queer gender or sexual identities.

“Puerto Rico deserves that every girl and boy, every young woman and young man can be who they want to be and love who they want to love,” García wrote in her letter. “This measure has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with the protection of Puerto Rican children and youth.”

García speaks from her own experience. “I am an example of how to be faithful to who you are. I am a woman who deeply loves her partner and who is loved by her family and by our people. There is nothing to change. There is nothing to repair. There’s nothing to heal. We have to give the same opportunity that I have had, to be who I am, to all our children and youth.”

García further writes that the bill should be passed as-is without any amendments. According to Al Día news, Popular Democratic Party Senators Gretchen Hau, Elizabeth Rosa Velez, and Migdalia Gonzalez have filed several amendments to Senate Bill 184 as of Wednesday. Puerto Rico’s governor Pedro Pierluisi has indicated that he’s ready to override the senators if necessary.

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Read: Thalía, Alejandra Gúzman, Anitta And More Lined-Up for ‘Ellas y Su Música’ Mother’s Day Special

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The Cast of ‘Glee’ Along With Demi Lovato Paid Tribute to Naya Rivera At the GLAAD Awards

Entertainment

The Cast of ‘Glee’ Along With Demi Lovato Paid Tribute to Naya Rivera At the GLAAD Awards

Photo via Getty

On Thursday, the cast of “Glee” paid tribute to Naya Rivera at the GLAAD Media Awards. Rivera was a once-in-a-lifetime talent the touched so many lives personally and through the screen while she was alive. But perhaps none of Naya’s roles were as impactful as Santana Lopez was.

This year, GLAAD decided to take time to honor the impact Naya Rivera had on LGBTQ representation onscreen.

During a time when LGBTQ represenation onscreen was rare, Santana Lopez was groundbreaking for being both queer and Latina. Santana went from a shut-off closeted cheerleader to an out-and-proud lesbian woman. This was a story arc many queer kids had never seen before.

Demi Lovato introduced the cast of “Glee” with a touching speech. She described how honored she was (and still is) to have played Santana’s girlfriend, Dani, on the show.

“I don’t have to tell you that this year was a tough, tough year,” Lovato said. “A particular moment of heartbreak stands out for me: losing my friend Naya Rivera. I will always cherish the chance I got to play Naya’s girlfriend, Dani, on ‘Glee.’”

“The character Naya played, Santana Lopez, was groundbreaking for closeted queer girls — like I was at the time,” she went on. “And her ambition and accomplishments inspired Latina women all over the world.”

Then, dozens of former “Glee” cast members gathered via Zoom to pay tribute to Naya Rivera.

The tribute featured former “Glee” actors like Darren Criss, Jane Lynch, Matthew Morrison, Amber Riley, Heather Morris, Harry Shum Jr., Jenna Ushkowitz, Chris Colfer, and Kevin McHale. There were also many others.

“Naya would be honored to receive this recognition,” read the statement. “When Naya was told that Santana would be a lesbian she called me to let me know and I asked her how did she feel about that and she said ‘I feel great about it!'”

“This year marks the tenth anniversary that Naya’s character, Santana Lopez, came out on ‘Glee’,” said Dot-Marie Jones, who played Coach Beast on the Fox series.

“Santana basically got disowned by her family. And as alot of us know, that’s a feeling too many LGBTQ kids know too well,” continued Chris Colfer, who played Kurt Hummel.

The loving tribute then ended with a written statement from Naya Rivera’s mother Yolanda Previtire, who couldn’t make it to the call.

“Little did we know that she would impact so many people in the LGBTQ community. Her desire was to always be an advocate to those who did not have a voice.

“She continued: “I don’t believe that she realized how important she was to this world. I am grateful that my eldest daughter helped to change the landscape of how we view and see each other.”

“Her desire was to always be an advocate to those who did not have a voice,” the message read, in part. “I don’t believe that she realized how important she was to this world. I am grateful that my eldest daughter helped to change the landscape of how we view and see each other.”

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