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Why This Transgender Mexicana Picked This Biblical Name

On a U.S. Navy base located in Panama, a long awaited gift was born to a sailor and his wife. Little did they know he had the body of a healthy baby boy but the spirit, soul, and heart of a baby girl.

My childhood was typical for a male — as in playing with action figures, fishing for bass, and reciting dinosaur names aloud. At heart, my sisters’ dolls were all I coveted. The baby ones especially. A part of my childhood was spent thinking I’d have a dolly one day; that I would have my own big, Mexican family. During mass, I’d pray God would turn me into a good mother someday.

I was 21 — almost done with college, done with rehab, done with therapy — when I finally realized how hard I had let my life become. A lot of people ask me “When did you know?” It had been engrained in me as far back as I can remember, but I couldn’t verbalize it. It was impossible. Just like you fall in love or lose someone, some things are just beyond your control.

Over the last few years it really dawned on me, I wasn’t gay or a cross-dresser or a drag queen. I realized I was pretending to be male more than I was pretending to be female. I was simply a woman trying to live my life.

People now know me as Leia. When it comes to pronunciation I blurt out the phrase, “Like the Princess!” In Biblical terms the name means “Flower of God”…

No one can take Roman Catholicism away from me. I grew up with crosses above my bed, blessings before everything (even taquitos after school), and falling asleep with rosary beads still in hand. I believe God gives us only what we can handle. He gave me a lot because He knew he made me with a little more armor than the rest. No offense.

It’s been just shy of a year since I made the decision to let the woman I am bleed out. My eyebrows and hair are a black-brown, my lips full, and my eyelids layered in black and browns. I’m biracial, a blend of Mexico City and Bavaria. The German tends to shine brighter with my green eyes and light complexion, but I always joked my deep set eyes, distinct nose, and high cheek bones were that of an Aztec princess’.

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Trans Latina’s Account Of Transphobic Treatment At TSA Goes Viral— ‘Solution was to ask me if I wanted to be scanned as a man’

Fierce

Trans Latina’s Account Of Transphobic Treatment At TSA Goes Viral— ‘Solution was to ask me if I wanted to be scanned as a man’

The TSA has long come under fire for its mishandling of minorities. From their treatment and suspicion of certain ethnicities to their mishandling of binary scanning technology, it’s no secret that TSA officers are lacking in awareness when it comes to certain issues. This is particularly true when it comes to nonbinary and trans people. In fact, recently a ProPublica investigation revealed that trans people are often forced to endure invasive searches by the TSA in airports.

In some of the worst cases, trans people have reported being forced to show their genitals to simply fly.

Rose Montoya, an Arizona-based, Hispanic, bisexual, nonbinary trans model recently recalled an experience with TSA that was extremely transphobic.

In the viral TikTok video, which has racked up over three million views, Montoya recalled her experience with airport security and underlined why “we need to change how the scanners function and educate TSA about trans people”.

Speaking about the recent incident, Montaya recalled how “going through the scanner, there’s a male and female scanner for the TSA checkpoint… But going through the scanner, I always have an ‘anomaly’ between my legs that sets off the alarm. So she asked me if I had anything in my pants and I say, ‘No’, so she said, ‘Maybe it’s just the metal buttons on your shorts.’”

“So I went through the scanner again but I set off the alarm again, so I said I am trans woman and to just pat me down,” she explained. “Her solution was to ask me if I wanted to be scanned as a man instead. I didn’t, but I ended up doing it. And my boobs set it off, because of course. So I tried to make a joke out of it and said don’t worry, there’s just a bunch of plastic in there. Then she said we have to pat you down and asked if I would prefer a man to do it. I said absolutely not.”

In an interview with Buzzfeed, Montoya was recently traveling from Phoenix to Los Angeles to visit her boyfriend when she was subjected to humiliation by TSA.

Montoya’s experience sparked a conversation on TikTok and Instagram, where many trans people shared similar experiences with TSA.

a“It’s been proven that the system we have in place is broken and doesn’t work,” she emphasized. “We also need to train people on how to treat trans people. If I tell you I’m a trans woman, it most likely means I want to be scanned as a woman, treated as a woman, and patted down by a woman.”

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A New Film Called ‘Trans Los Angeles’ Is Coming Out and It Features Mostly Queer, Latinx Talent

Entertainment

A New Film Called ‘Trans Los Angeles’ Is Coming Out and It Features Mostly Queer, Latinx Talent

Photos via Getty Images

If you’re afraid there is going to be a big “Pose”-shaped hole in your heart after the upcoming final season, then we might have some good news for you. A new movie called “Trans Los Angeles” might be just what the doctor ordered.

On Wednesday, Deadline announced that a new movie called “Trans Los Angeles” is officially in the works.

And if that wasn’t exciting enough, the cast of “Trans Los Angeles” will feature a range of LGBTQ Latinx talent, including Stephanie Beatriz, Carmen Carrera, and YaYa Gosselin. The movie is the vision of up-and-coming transgender writer/director Kase Peña.

According to Deadline, “Trans Los Angeles” will be an anthology film, made up of four four stand-alone shorts. Each segment will focus on a different character in a different part of Los Angeles and spotlight the different and varying lives of trans people.

One of the stand-alone shorts has buzz around it already. The anthology installment “Period” will star the aforementioned Latinx superstars Stephanie Beatriz, Carmen Carrera, and YaYa Gosselin.

Per Deadline, “Period” will center on a Latinx transgender woman named Vergara (Carmen Carrera) who has recently been released from LA County jail. Vergara “gets a part-time job taking care of a shy 12-year-old girl (YaYa Gosselin), while doing sex work on the side, to make ends meet.” However, things become complicated for Vergara because “sex work is what got her locked up in the first place.”

“Trans Los Angeles” will be, without a doubt, trailblazing. It is rare that Hollywood makes movies with transgender people as main characters and transgender artists inhabiting the roles. So far, Panavision, Light Iron Post, WarnerMedia, and Latino Lens are backing “Trans Los Angeles”. The WeHo Transgender Arts Initiative grant is also partially-funding the film.

Excited for the news, fans and fellow celebrities alike flooded the social media accounts of all of those involved, offering their endless support and congratulations.

“So happy for you!!!! 👏👏👏” wrote Eva Longoria. Another fan added “Can’t wait to see this, Carmen!! YOU GO GIRL!!!”. Writer/director Kase Peña commented: “It’s only the beginning. That’s all. ❤️🔥”

Last year, Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival selected Peña to participate in a Netflix’s Latinx Inclusion Fellowship Series. The fact that Peña was able to get such an ambitious project off the ground shows that it just takes a bit of effort on Hollywood’s part for more diverse stories to get made.

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