Culture

This Queer Immigration Activist Is Pushing The Boundaries Of Brown LGBTQ Art

Julio Salgado is a Mexican artist who does not hold back in his art. The California-based artist has been making politically charged and relevant AF pieces over the past year and things are just getting started. mitú spoke with Salgado to learn a little bit more about the man behind the art.

You may recognize Salgado’s viral art series featuring popular sitcoms reimagined with people of color as lead characters.

Julio Salgado / Facebook
CREDIT: Julio Salgado / Facebook

“When the POC TV Show Takeover series took off online and folks were sharing the images, I remember reading comments that were accusing me of being anti-white or stealing white culture,” Salgado told mitú. “Hilarious! For the record, these series were not meant to put down these shows. On the contrary, I loved these sitcoms. I grew up with these sitcoms. I learned English with these sitcoms! It’s about the need to create more shows and movies that depict our stories not just in front of the camera but behind the camera.”

I-Con-Ic.

Julio Salgado / Facebook
CREDIT: Julio Salgado / Facebook

“Why were people so obsessed with a show like “Friends,” which is basically a show about six white people that hung out at a coffeeshop,” Salgado asks. “It was because they had great writers behind these characters who made them humane. We need more of that with people of color character. Thank God for Issa Rae and Shonda Rhimes!”

Salgado first started making art when he was a kid and his biggest inspiration is Frida Khalo.


“When I moved to California from Ensenada, Mexico, I was put in this 7th grade class where most of the kids that looked like me spoke mostly in English. I was 12 years old, about to be a teenager and so not wanting to live in this country,” Salgado told mitú. “I felt like it wasn’t my home. But it was in the 7th grade where I was introduced to Frida Kahlo. Her raw and emotional work sparked something inside of me. As the years went by and art teachers kept encouraging me to take the art route, I just knew I wanted to do art for the rest of my life.”

And as his experience with art has grown, so has his voice, along with his no-f*cks given attitude.


“I think it’s important for artists, or anyone really, to continue to grow,” Salgado told mitú about what he wants people to take from his art. “But I guess the main message is for people to own their narratives and not let anyone speak for you.” #PREACH

Salgado first became interested in politics as a journalism student at Long Beach City College. He made cartoons for the student newspaper.

Can't sleep? #AdventuresOfBitterFag #FagFriday #Deportations #Homophobia #UndocuQueer

A photo posted by Julio Salgado (@juliosalgado83) on


“While I was at the student newspaper [at Long Beach City College], I was also creating editorial cartoons and eventually transferred to California State University, Long Beach and continued to hone my political cartooning skills,” Salgado told mitú. “Around this time, there weren’t many depictions in the media of who we were as undocumented students. The snippets you would see in the media were very dehumanizing of the migrant experience.”

“I started making artwork and writing about being undocumented and things that were affecting our communities,” Salgado said.


Salgado was moved by other undocumented activists at the time and wanted to make sure that he could help to document their fight.

Not only is Salgado tackling the political issues facing the undocumented community, he is also tackling the LGBTQ issues within the undocumented community.


Salgado says that his biggest inspiration of incorporating the queer identity to his art was from fellow queer migrant activists.

“As we know from many movements, when you’re queer you’re always told to leave the ‘gay agenda’ behind and focus on the big picture,” Salgado told mitú. “In the migrant rights movement for many years, that big picture meant immigration reform.”

By creating queer migrant art, Salgado joined several migrant activists pushing against the homophobia within the migrant rights world.


“A lot of key undocumented and formally undocumented organizers like Yahaira Carrillo, Prerna Lal, Sonia Guinansaca, Kemi Bello, Javier Hernandez and many more pushed against the real homophobia and heteronormativity that lurked in migrant rights organizing and that really informed the queerness in my political art,” Salgado continued. “Of course, my own personal queer experiences have been part of my art as well.”

Salgado’s undocuqueer lens has helped him to create some incredibly relevant art in 2016 from the ridiculousness being spewed this presidential election…

…to the tragic Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting that targeted LGBTQ people of color.


“The morning after the horrible tragedy in Orlando earlier this year, I got a call from my mother who pretty much told me to stop going to gay clubs,” Salgado told mitú. “I can’t imagine being the mother or the father of a gay son or daughter and hearing what was happening. This tragedy only reminded me of the reality that our communities go through as queer people of color.”

Since the Orlando shooting, Salgado has created a new art series dedicated to queer trans people-of-color (QTPOC) love.

Que Siga La Fiesta: Queer and Trans People of Color Club Takeover. #QueerCumbia #QTPOC #QueerArt #UndocuQueer #Oakland

A photo posted by Julio Salgado (@juliosalgado83) on


“I decided to keep going to gay clubs and bars to take pictures of the smiling queer and trans people of color while they were alive and make these illustrations,” Salgado told mitú about how he responded after the Orlando shooting. “I wanted to capture the moments when we as a community celebrate ourselves and hug each other and are there for each other.”

As for the presidential election, well, Salgado thinks the whole thing, no matter who wins, is just going to be a wash.

When you want to be hopeful but… #AdventuresOfBitterFag #FagSaturday

A photo posted by Julio Salgado (@juliosalgado83) on


“All I know is that after this circus of an election is over, we will still have detention centers, prisons, racism, etc,” Salgado told mitú. “The job of the artist is to portray that in the art. To remind folks that our bodies will continue to suffer after we elect a rich white person into office.”

And he just hopes that people of color realize that when election is over, it doesn’t mean there’s no more work to do.


“Being in the migrant rights movement for so many years has made me very, very skeptical of any politician regardless of party affiliation,” Salgado said. “So whether you decide to exercise your right to vote or stay at home, the realities that we face as communities of color will still be there after this election.”


READ: Letters of Detained Immigrants are Getting Mass Exposure by Becoming Works of Art

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One Day After A Texas Sheriff Called Undocumented Immigrants ‘Drunks,’ His Son Is Arrested For Public Intoxication

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One Day After A Texas Sheriff Called Undocumented Immigrants ‘Drunks,’ His Son Is Arrested For Public Intoxication

A Texas sheriff is eating his words after his bigotted comments came back to bite him in the worst way.

A day after Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn referred to undocumented immigrants as “drunks” who would “run over” children, his own son was reportedly arrested on charges of public intoxication. It has also been revealed that his son Sergei Waybourn has been arrested before. In 2018 he was charged with assault and in recent years he was arrested for trespassing and theft.

Sheriff Waybourn’s comments sparked controversy when he spoke against undocumented immigrants at a press conference in Washington.

Last Thursday, the sheriff spoke at the conference alongside Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Matthew Albence. Speaking in response to a ruling by a federal California judge made last month that imposed restrictions on ICE’s use of “detainers,” Waybourn underlined the consequences of releasing illegal immigrants with DWI and other crimes.

U.S. District Judge André Birotte Jr.’s decision barred ICE from using online database searches to find and detain people based. Recently, the ACLU stated that since 2008, 2 million US citizens have been illegally detained because of such searches.

Waybourn pointed to his charge of inmates to give examples of high rates of repeat offenders. “If we have to turn them loose or they get released, they’re coming back to your neighborhood and my neighborhood,” Waybourn said according to New York Post. “These drunks will run over your children, and they will run over my children.”

After his comments, the national president of the League of United Latin American Citizens called for Waybourn’s resignation.

According to Dallas Morning News, Domingo Garcia said Waybourn ought to “resign and apologize for his bigoted comments immediately.”

In response, Waybourne said his comments had been taken out of contexts and his office released a statement saying that “Sheriff Waybourn was not referring to all legal or illegal immigrants when making his comments about DWI/DWI repeat offenders. He was speaking toward the charges of DWI and DWI repeat offender in the context of illegal immigration.”

In response to the news of his son’s arrest, the sheriff said he is “deeply saddened by Sergei’s choices.”

According to WFAA, he said that “It has been many years since he disassociated from our family. We, along with many family members have made efforts over the years to help him – all to no avail. It is always sad when drugs take control of a person’s life. His choices and actions have lead to this situation.”

Trans Activists Of Color Protested At The CNN/HRC Equality Town Hall And Audience Members Applauded

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Trans Activists Of Color Protested At The CNN/HRC Equality Town Hall And Audience Members Applauded

Bryan Bedder / Ethan Miller / GETTY IMAGES

CNN and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) hosted a historic town hall last night focusing on issues impacting the LGBTQ+ community. The moderators and presidential candidates tackled topics and hard-hitting issues that have severely impacted the lives of millions of LGBTQ+ Americans. The town hall happened as the Supreme Court is deciding if LGBTQ+ people are deserving of the same discrimination protections as all Americans. Here’s what happened last night.

Texas politician Julián Castro made it clear that religion will not be an excuse for LGBTQ+ discrimination in his administration.

There have numerous attempts by local and state governments to legalize religious discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community. The bills, often labeled as Religious Freedom bills, have been proposed in North Carolina and Indiana and failed. North Carolina wanted to legislate what bathroom people had to use and Indiana wanted to give religious organizations and business owners the license to outright discriminate against people based on their faith.

“If I’m elected president, the first order of business on January 20, 2021, will be to have a catalog with all of the different executive actions that this president, this administration, has taken, including exemptions that they’ve created or rolled back that has allowed people to discriminate against the LGBTQ, using as the reason their religion, their excuse their religion,” Castro told an audience member who asked how he will stop religious organizations from using their faith to dictate discriminatory laws. “I will go back to what we did in the Obama administration and then take it to the next level to protect the LGBTQ community. I don’t believe that anybody should be bale to discriminate against you because you are a member of the LGBTQ community. I don’t believe that folks should be getting funding if they’re doing that. I don’t believe that in the healthcare context, the housing context, the employment context that people should be able to do that. I support the Equality Act and will work to pass that. When I was Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, we did the transgender rule, which as I mentioned, expanded the equal access rule so that transgender individuals can find shelter in a manner that they are comfortable with and in accordance to their preference and that’s what I would do as president.”

Castro’s performance during the LGBTQ+ town hall has received praise from LGBTQ+ people.

Credit: @cmclymer / Twitter

Castro was able to speak about the issues impacting the LGBTQ+ community with an understanding that proves he isn’t going off talking points.

His conversation about faith and the license to discriminate showed his understanding of religion and LGBTQ+ people of faith.

Credit: @TUSK81 / Twitter

Castro wants to keep religion from attacking the very LGBTQ+ people of faith who depend on it. For many religious LGBTQ+ people, seeing religious leaders claim that their faith doesn’t accept them is a harsh reality.

Trans women of color let their voices be heard in a town hall that largely ignored them.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg was interrupted when he started his time on the stage. Trans activist Bamby Salcedo and other trans women of color stormed the venue holding trans flag that read “We Are Dying.” The women chanted “We are dying” and “Do something.” Some audience members joined the women in their protest however others jumped up to take the flag away and end the protest.

Anderson Cooper, who was moderating for Buttigieg, spoke up for the women as they were escorted out telling the audience, “Let me just point out, there is a long and proud tradition in history in the gay, lesbian and transgender community of protest and we applaud them for their protest.”

Cooper continued saying, “And they are absolutely right to be angry and upset at the lack of attention, particularly in the media, of the lives of transgender [people].”

Another trans activist, Blossom C Brown, also took on the moderators about the lack of Black trans voices during the town hall.

A lot of the conversation during the town hall focused on issues impacting gay men, trans women, and bisexual people. Many are calling out the town hall for ignoring trans people of color, lesbians, and non-binary people when it comes to health, housing, identity expression, and other issues impacting these communities specifically.

Ashlee Marie Preston, the only trans Black woman in the program, was taken out of the program by CNN so she publicly boycotted the event.

Credit: @AshleeMPreston / Twitter

There was a pretty glaring lack of trans women and men of color during the hours of discussion about LGBTQ+ issues. It is a common complaint within the community as trans women of color have long been ignored and silenced within the LGBTQ+ Rights movement.

READ: After Almost Two Years, Trans Activist Alejandra Barrera Has Been Released From ICE Custody