The Latino LGBTQ community in Miami is celebrating October a lo grande! Not only because we’re in the midst of Hispanic Heritage Month, but also because the 6th annual Celebrate Orgullo Festival is in town – a month-long celebration uniting artists, musicians, educators and more.
What began as a one-day event in 2012, has flourished into a month-long festivity with activities like movie screenings, poetry readings, book signings, writing workshops, culinary tours, and drag brunches, according to the event’s official website.
The festival is organized by Unity Coalition/Coalición Unida, the first and only organization for the South Florida Latino LGBTQ community.
“Our focus is much more on the culture and the heritage of the Hispanic community. We certainly like to have fun and have our events be celebratory, but unlike a traditional LGBT Pride festival we try to focus more on the art and the culture of our community,” Unity Coalition President Herb Sosa said to The Miami Herald. “It’s a showcase for the rest of the world to come see the wonderful talent that is the Hispanic LGBT community.”
Celebrate Orgullo, which runs from September 15 to October 16, is one of a kind in the 305.
Despite the election being more than 400 days away, the 2020 Election campaign season is in full swing. We’ve got Democrats debating substantial policy ideas in debate after debate and then we’ve got Donald Trump blurring the line between campaign rallies and presidential events.
Trump has been busy jetting from state to state (largely staying in states that supported him in 2016) to spread his message of falsehoods and hate.
Is Trump starting to change his ways just in time for the 2020 campaign?
If you pay attention to the news, you’ll of heard about Trump’s “pitch” to Hispanic voters.
It makes sense that Trump would put effort into Latino outreach in New Mexico, which has the highest percentage of Latinos of any state of the country. But remarking on the tone of an ally’s skin and suggesting Latino voters have dual loyalties are probably not the best ways to do it. Trump’s comments unsurprisingly seemed to play well to his supporters in the room, but they are unlikely to win many new ones in a state where he can use all the supporters he can get
But oh, it was so much more.
President Donald Trump did his best to appeal to Latino voters during his rally on Monday evening in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. His “best,” however, was profoundly bizarre.
In one especially odd moment, Trump remarked upon how white one of his key Latino surrogates looks.
“He happens to be Hispanic, but I’ve never quite figured it out because he looks more like a WASP than I do. So I haven’t figured that one out. But I’ll tell you what — there is nobody that loves this country more or Hispanic more than Steve Cortes,” Trump said. (Cortes is a pro-Trump television commentator and member of Trump’s Hispanic Advisory Council.)
“Nobody loves the Hispanics more!” Trump continued, before asking Cortes a question that suggested Latinos have dual loyalties: “Who do you like more, the country or the Hispanics? He says the country. I don’t know, I may have to go for the Hispanics to be honest with you. We got a lot of Hispanics! We love our Hispanics.”
In anticipation of Trump’s New Mexico rally, the ACLU but up billboards that obviously hit some important points.
Another one said “No Ban, No Wall, No Hate In Our State.”
While another group had this to say:
Apparently New Mexico has some legit billboard game. Who knew?
Many in New Mexico wondered why Trump was visiting a state to share his hateful views in a state that is overwhelmingly Democratic.
Trump is not doing well with Latinos in particular or in New Mexico in general. Polls consistently show his approval rating at about 30 percent.
Trump’s poor performance is dragging him down in New Mexico, a state he lost by 8 points to Hillary Clinton in 2016. According to Morning Consult’s tracking polls, Trump’s approval rating in the state has dropped a whopping 34 points since his inauguration, and as of last month, sat 17 points underwater.
Not to mention the President’s hurtful, hateful, and dangerous rhetoric used against immigrants, refugees, and basically anyone who isn’t cis white.
Nonetheless, during his rally on Monday, Trump insisted he plans to win New Mexico in 2020. His sales pitch largely centered around low Latino unemployment rates and stoking fears about immigration — but these were also key components of his campaign message heading into last year’s midterms elections, and Republicans ended up losing all five statewide races in New Mexico. At this stage, there’s little reason to believe things will be different next November.
But of course, Trump wasn’t just in Mexico to awkwardly talk about ‘Hispanics.’
He was also there to repeat many of the lies he’s now become so famous for.
Trump spoke for 95 minutes at the rally in New Mexico on Monday night, among the longest speeches he’s given as President. And, according to CNN, he made at least 26 false claims — most of them ones he’s said before in recent months.
From blaming a former Google executive for him losing “up to 10 million votes” to saying San Diego’s mayor agrees with Trump on the wall (hint: he doesn’t), Trump was in typical Trump form.
From New Mexico, Trump departed for deep blue California.
After leaving New Mexico, Trump headed for California — another state he lost by millions of votes in 2016. He’s there to raise funds for his 2020 re-election but he’s also getting in some attacks on the heavily Democratic state.
Before even arriving, Trump had been shaming California cities over a very real issue — homelessness. It’s out of control from San Diego to San Francisco but many doubt that the administration is going to help address the issue with any substantial policy. Meanwhile, the President is also set to revoke California’s ability to set stricter standards on vehicle emissions, which would set up yet another legal battle between Trump and California.
Four years ago, Lesly Herrera Castillo and Joselyn Mendoza both had a vision to create a worker-owned makeup and hair salon for the trans Latino community in Jackson Heights, New York. It was ambitious and for them, it was necessary. For years, the duo faced racial and gender discrimination from employers. Their own community, Jackson Heights, was also becoming a problem as the area became the site of multiple anti-trans hate crimes in recent years. So they came together with a plan to open Mirror Beauty Cooperative in 2015.
The beauty shop would create numerous jobs for the local trans community but more importantly assist undocumented individuals who were denied opportunities due to their legal status. So Castillo and Mendoza made the important decision to register the business as a cooperative cooperation (co-op). This was done so the salon would basically be “worker-run” and there would be no need for things like social security numbers, an obstacle many undocumented workers face when applying to jobs. Instead, the salon will use individual taxpayer identification numbers (ITINs).
“The significance of the cooperative for me is that it’s an opportunity to create more jobs and make a space that’s free of discrimination,” Mendoza told the HuffPost. “As trans women, we don’t often have access to a healthy economy, and this allows us to change that and obtain other services like health care.”
While their idea started four years ago, the duo hasn’t yet obtained a physical space to open up the salon. But they hope with enough support this vision can become a reality.
While both Castillo and Mendoza haven’t opened up a physical salon space, they are both continuing to work in other salons as they continue to save and plan for the Mirror Beauty Cooperative. This past May they began to reach out to more people to help fund their goal through aGoFundMe Campaign. The results of the campaign fund have been less than 1 percent of their $150,000 goal. The duo has also faced other socioeconomic setbacks like lack of traditional education and the economic instability due to their immigrant background.
“Latina trans women always have multiple obstacles in the way,” Mendoza said. “I think if a collective of white trans women were to start a project like this, their incubation process would be faster than ours because of their historical access to privilege.”
But Herrera notes that the white trans community is still an ally to them even though they are on different economic levels. “We can always depend on the white trans community” to offer support “because they know they’re on a better [economic] level.”
For the trans, gender-queer and nonbinary community, job discrimination has been a reoccurring issue. According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, 16 percent of gender-queer and nonbinary respondents who had held jobs reported having been fired for their gender identity or expression. But for trans women and trans people of color, they were the most likely to have gone through this.
While the salon is still in progress, Castillo and Mendoza have become a presence in their own neighborhood uplifting and bringing attention to the trans Latino community.
As of now, the duo has a secret backup plan in case they don’t meet their fundraising goals by the end of the year. They hope that the campaign does one thing though, create and share their broader call for building community with people.
That has already started to take place as Castillo, Hernandez and their new partner, Jonahi Rosa have all become presences in Jackson Heights advocating for the trans community. The trio even participated in the Queens Pride Parade as co-grand marshals. This has also included various charity events for local LGTBQ+ youth.
They all feel that the salon has the potential to bring people together and spread awareness about issues that affect their lives every day. From the start, the trio has always wanted to not only create a space for the trans community but give them an opportunity.
“We want to work, [and] we want to give agency to our community,” Rosa said. “It’s a perfect opportunity for our community to come together and make something for our future.”