Culture

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.

leia

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.

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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”…

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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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JLo Introduces Her Nibling, Brendon In New Short Film ‘Draw With Me’ And It’s A Must Watch

Entertainment

JLo Introduces Her Nibling, Brendon In New Short Film ‘Draw With Me’ And It’s A Must Watch

JLo / Instagram

Jennifer Lopez has been wildly busy as of late – and that’s all despite a global pandemic. The Hustlers star attempted a takeover of the New York Mets baseball team with her husband A-Rod, she’s launching her own beauty line, and continues to push out grade-A social media content that keeps her fans begging for more.

Although she’s been busy, she still found the time to support her nibling – who has created a short film about how art was a lifeline for them when coming out. She used the term, which is a gender-neutral alternative for a niece or nephew, when discussing her sister Leslie Lopez’s child, Brendan Scholl (who is transgender and uses they/them pronouns).

Jennifer Lopez has introduced the world to her nibling Brendon and their new short film.

In a video posted to her Instagram TV channel, JLo introduced the film Draw With Me. She’s supporting the short film by her nibling which is about “accepting change and challenges with love, knowing when we do –everything is possible. Please enjoy the first 5 minutes of this incredible story. Stay tuned for the full documentary at film festivals worldwide and coming soon on VOD. A film by @ithakafilms @marcomaranghello @lyndalopez08,” she says in the post.

During her introduction, she explained, “Draw With Me is a short film about a transgender youth and their journey of coming out to their family, and also engaging with their art to help them cope with the feelings they were having during this time.”

She continued on to say, “The film is important and timely in its story and message, and can have a huge impact on those of us who watch and experience what Brendon and their family is going through in this time of acceptance and admission. It’s a story very close to my heart, because it was a family affair… because Brendon is my nibling.”

In the film, Brendon tells the very important and timely story of their coming out and coming to terms with their identity.

After JLo’s brief introduction, there’s a short five-minute preview of the film, featuring Brendon telling their coming out story. “It was in eighth grade when I finally felt comfortable with saying that I’m trans,” they said. As their mom Leslie explained in the film, “You’re talking about your identity as a person. Sexual preference has to do with who you go to bed with, and your identity is who you go to bed as.”

Brendon continued: “I’m just hit with how lucky I am in terms of the family and friends. Titi Jen made that post where she used the right pronouns. It felt really nice to have a family member in a very public way show their support, makes me appreciate things other people will do for me and for anyone else who’s struggling.”

They also share some very dark moments that illustrates how important films like ‘Draw With Me’ really are.

When talking about their lowest moment in the five-minute clip, Brendon says, “The darkest point was definitely when I wasn’t out to any of my teachers or my parents. I was worried about when I came out, that would be like the last straw, so to speak.” The family then reflect upon the night that Brendon very sadly tried to take their own life.

After this, Leslie says, came a turning point, “When it finally hit me, like, ‘Oh my God, my kid just trying to kill themself’, it just hit me. When you finally get to the acceptance part, then you realise it’s not about you. This is about my child.”

And when aunt Lynda asked Brendon about advice they would give to someone who has never had a trans person in their life, their message was clear. “The best thing I can say is just believe them. I shouldn’t have to be scared to tell people who I am,” they said. “If they don’t like me because I’m trans then it’s their loss. I’m not going to change myself just because this one person doesn’t like it.”

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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

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