22 LGBTQ+ Latinos Who Are Changing The World
It’s no secret that our culture is hella infused with homophobia and machismo, and that simply existing as Latinx and openly gay can be a political statement all on its own. Many of us just want to exist peacefully, and that wouldn’t be possible without the Latinx activists who fight to make it easier for the rest of us.
Here are 22 Latinx LGBTQ people who are unapologetically out, proud and fighting for our rights:
1. Sara Ramirez
CREDIT: @therealsararamirez / Instagram
Remember when Sara Ramirez played a bisexual character on “Grey’s Anatomy”? In addition to giving representation to the bisexual community through television, Ramirez publicly came out as queer and bisexual on October 2016 and has been advocating for bisexual visibility ever since.
2. Manuel “Manny MUA” Gutierrez
CREDIT: @mannymua733 / Instagram
If you don’t follow this boo, get on it. He’s a fierce af beauty blogger with millions of followers. He was the first-ever male ambassador for Maybelline makeup line, and rightfully so. Look at that artistry! I could never.
3. Lauren Jauregui
CREDIT: @laurenjauregui / Instagram
Jauregui is part of the band Fifth Harmony and used her star power in the most epic possible way. When she publicly came out as bisexual, it was in an open letter to then-president elect Donald Trump. The letter called out Trump supporters for using their power to vote to take away the rights of millions of Americans that finally found inclusion and acceptance in society thanks to progress. She has since used her social media platform and reach to stand up for LGBTQ fans who have been bullied.
4. Patricia Yurena Rodríguez
CREDIT: @patriciayurena / Instagram
Patricia Yurena Rodríguez won Miss Spain in both 2008 and 2013 and was the first openly gay Miss Universe Spain. Op ed: A big struggle for all women, not just lesbians, is the sense that to be productive and successful in our society, we have to be available for male consumption. Not Patricia, my boo. ?
5. Shane Ortega
CREDIT: @shaneortega_ / Instagram
Shane Ortega served three tours in the U.S. military until his physical outed him as trans and he was reassigned a desk job in Hawaii. He then came out publicly in the Washington Post as the first openly trans service member and advocates hard for the 15k+ trans service members who are, you know, fighting for the right to fight for our country.
6. Salice Rose
CREDIT: @salicerose / Instagram
Salice is mothafuggin funny. She’s a major influencer and a major representation of the religious LGBTQ community. It shouldn’t be such a statement to prove you can be out of the closet and a Christian, y’know because God loves everyone.
I’m voting to send Salice Rose as the gay missionary to all our old churches who could really learn that lesson of Christian love. Whose with me?
7. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
CREDIT: @roslehtinen / Instagram
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen became the first Latina elected to the Florida State House of Representatives back in 1982 and then again to the House of Representatives in 1989. Since then, she’s also been the first Republican in Congress to support marriage equality, and one of the only GOP members to be vocal in her opposition to Donald Trump. She is not a lesbian but is a strong ally for the LGBTQ community in her home state of Florida. Her transgender son, Rodrigo, helped her get involved in LGBTQ rights.
8. Ricky Martin
CREDIT: @ricky_martin / Instagram
Ricky Martin was a household name for over a decade while he was still in the closet. It wasn’t until he had his twins, whom he credits for teaching him the importance of honesty and the catalyst in him coming out and living his truth.
9. Maricón Collective
CREDIT: @mariconcollective1 / Instagram
The four queer artists, DJs and party planners that make up the Maricón Collective in Los Angeles make a statement with their mere existence. They hope to reclaim the word that they grew up dreading to hear (maricón is the Spanish word for “faggot”). They still face hate and one of their queer, Cholo-style murals in San Francisco’s Mission District was defaced three times.
10. Bamby Salcedo
CREDIT: @labamby1 / Instagram
Bamby Salcedo is a well-known pioneer Latina activist in the community. She’s especially focused on trans youth and has launched Angels of change, the TransLatina Coalition and the #TransLivesMatter National Day of Action. She’s also spent the last eight years as the Health Education and HIV Prevention Services Coordinator at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Thank you for your service and stellar sign making, Bamby.
11. Julio Salgado
CREDIT: @juliosalgado831 / Twitter
Salgado is a political artist who has been drawing political cartoons for queer, undocumented immigrants like himself since the mid-2000s. Salgado’s family was visiting Los Angeles from Mexico when his sister developed a deadly kidney infection and had to stay in the U.S. for life-saving treatment. If you’ve heard of “I am Undocu-Queer!”–that was all Salagado’s doing. Look up his art; it’s worth it.
12. Natalie Morales
CREDIT: @nataliemoralesloves / Instagram
Last summer, “Parks and Rec” star, Natalie Morales penned an essay for Amy Poehler’s “Smart Girls” site coming out as queer. She writes, “I think it’s important that I tell you that this familiar face you see on your TV is the Q part of LGBTQ, so that if you didn’t know someone who was queer before, you do now.”
And for “any scared kids out there”: “You’re not weird. You’re not bad. You’re not unholy. … You are an essential part of the world just as you were created, and I want to see you. The real you.”
13. Laith Ashley De La Cruz
CREDIT: @laith_ashley / Instagram
Laith is a trans model that is truly giving back to the public. With that face, that smile, and his commitment to keep his name and transition story at the forefront to break down the stigma of being trans in the LGBTQ community. Because, there are somehow gay folks that have a problem with trans folks. I know. ?
14. Stephanie Beatriz
CREDIT: @iamstephbeatz / Instagram
Woop, there she is. Another bisexual Latina who is playing a character in “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”, who also recently came out as bisexual. She’s using that opportunity to help influence the writers to tell the true story of her own life, and that of so many other bi women of color.
15. Christian Chavez
CREDIT: @christianchavezreal / Instagram
Christian Chavez was a member of Mexican pop group RBD and when he came out in 2007, it was truly revolutionary. Chavez was still living in Mexico and was photographed marrying his partner in Canada. After Mexican newspapers published their marriage, it sparked another debate leaving the country divided.
16. Carmen Carrera
CREDIT: @carmen_carrera / Instagram
We know her from “RuPaul’s Drag Race “and going up against RuPaul himself for using derogatory slurs like “tranny” and “shemale,” which she believes are transphobic. She’s since gone on to become a major name and face in the modeling industry and that’s pretty awesome.
17. AB Soto
CREDIT: @absoto1 / Instagram
AB Soto is as unapologetic as it gets, showing who he is through music (check out his album Visibility to see what we mean). He refuses to back down from showing the Latino community what it means to be gay and the LGBTQ community what it means to be Latino.
18. Carlos Padilla
CREDIT: “Carlos Padilla.” Digital Image. The Advocate. 10 April 2018.
In 2015, Carlos Padilla received the Leadership on Immigration Reform award from the National Conference on LGBTQ Equality. He’s spearheaded the Queer Undocumented Immigrant Project with United We Dream and is, himself, a queer Dreamer. He writes about the “double closet” burden for queer undocumented kids.
19. Yosimar Reyes
CREDIT: @yosoyyosi / Twitter
Originally from Guerrero, Mexico, two-spirt slam poet Yosimar Reyes currently lives in San Jose and has been featured in documentaries, anthologies.
Twitter caption: ”
Q: Who was your first crush?
A: OK, this might sound weird, but I have always known I was into dudes. Disney’s Pocahontas came out in ’95, and I fell in love with Kocoum (you thought I was going to say John Smith, but I’m decolonial). – @YoSoyYosi ???”
20. Patricia Velasquez
CREDIT: @patricia_carola_velasquez / Instagram
Patricia Velasquez is a Venezuelan actress and supermodel. She’s the first indigenous supermodel and first openly lesbian supermodel. You’ve seen her in “The L Word” and “Arrested Development.” She founded the Wayúu Tayá Foundation, which aims to assist her indigenous roots. Her memoir “Straight Walk” describes her life in poverty in Venezuela and how her first girlfriend, Sandra Bernhard, helped her realize she’s a lesbian.
21. Jennicet Gutierrez
CREDIT: @jenctegtz1 / Instagram
Jennicet Gutierrez is an undocumented Latina transgender activist for the Not1More campaign. She caused some controversy in June 2015 when she interrupted President Obama’s speech commemorating LGBT Pride Month. Her defense was recently republished in “Latinas: An Anthology of Struggles & Protests in 21st Century USA.”
She wrote, “Last night I spoke out to demand respect and acknowledgement of our gender expression and the release of the estimated seventy-five transgender immigrants in detention right now.” Trans immigrants are 100x more likely to be victims of sexual abuse while in ICE custody.
22. Emily Rios
CREDIT: @emily1loverios1 / Instagram
Emily Rios is an out and proud lesbian Latina actress. She’s best known as Andrea Cantillo on “Breaking Bad” but also played a lesbian reporter on “The Bridge.” Not only do high-profile out and proud queer folk cause a ripple of positivity for the rest of us, but Emily worked with the writers to rewrite scenes that just didn’t accurately represent lesbians. ?