Things That Matter

While Trans Women Die In Detention Centers, Bamby Salcedo Fights For Her Community With A Determination We Rarely See These Days

Prepare yourself to get familiar with an icon in the making. Bamby Salcedo was born and raised in Guadalajara, Mexico by a single working mother who tried to protect her daughter from hate. She couldn’t.

Salcedo doesn’t consider herself a victim. She is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, of drug addiction, of homelessness, of persecution for sex work, of the U.S. prison system. Salcedo has survived a transphobic society and considers it a privilege to work tirelessly for trans rights in an uphill battle with ICE.

Bamby Salcedo is leading the initiative to grant equal rights to detained trans women.

Untitled. Digital Image. Bamby Salcedo. 12 June 2019.

Yet, she tells Latina that she’s “just a pawn in the game.” It’s humbling to learn that Salcedo, often referred to as “La Bamby”, said, “I’m just a piece of the puzzle in the fight for trans rights, especially for trans Latina immigrants.”

La Bamby’s experience of overcoming homelessness, of being imprisoned and addiction has fueled her fire to help others.

@latinxbeauty_ / Twitter

“In my case, being homeless, having to participate in the street economy to survive, being imprisoned, being a drug addict, all of those things I faced,” were all drivers to her activism, she tells Latina. “Then, once I had the privilege and opportunity to change my life, it was me seeing my friends and those close to me that I love to continue to experience these things. A combination of both has driven me to stand up and do something about it.”

La Bamby has become an icon in her own right.

@atribecalledqueer / Twitter

This fan’s artwork depicts her as a blossoming flower, with a halo of tropical flowers. She maintains that while she knows she’s the most recognizable voice of trans Latina immigrants, she shouldn’t be.

“I am very privileged and lucky to be one of the people who gets highlighted often,” she tells Latina. “But more and more trans women immigrants, Latinas, are doing so, too, and I hope seeing me out there is encouraging for them. Sharing one’s story is a truth, and it’s impactful because it helps people understand our issues.”

Bamby’s activism led her to create the TransLatin@ Coalition in 2009.

@translatinacoalition / Instagram

Bamby saw a gap in attention for the trans communities. National, trans-led organizations weren’t addressing the issues of Latina immigrants, so she did something about it.

Remember when this flag dropped at the 2018 World Series?

@labamby / Instagram

That was all TransLatin@ Coalition. “I felt my heart was dropping along with it,” she told Huffington Post. “I was kind of exploding because of the adrenaline. You don’t know what’s going to happen with the police and security and all of that.” FOX didn’t air the flag on national television, and the flag waved for a few minutes before they were escorted out.

Last year, TransLatin@ Coalition gifted LA this performance statement during the Pride parade.

@translatinacoalition / Instagram

“PRIDE has historically been a protest, not a parade,” @translatinacoalition captions. “And it will continue to be a protest so long as our communities are still suffering from corrupt systems. Let us celebrate our beauty but also acknowledge there is work still to be done! There is no liberation without liberation for all. ‘HOW MANY OF US HAVE TO DIE FOR YOU TO GET INVOLVED?'”

This year, it was censored for calling out the abuse trans women face in ICE detention centers by name.

@translatinacoalition / Instagram

“We marched in pride yesterday and brought attention to the state and governmental violence our community continues to face,” the organization posted. “We were censored by both LAPride and ABC7. We were told to put our signs away. Told that we should be celebrating. Pride reminded us that there is so much to be done, even within our own community. But we won’t stop bringing attention to the injustices our community is facing. Okay! #FREEALEJANDRA #JohanaMedina”

Currently, TransLatin@ Coalition is focused on freeing Alejandra Barrera, a trans woman held by ICE since November 2017.

@sonsandbros / Twitter

The campaign petition has received over 26,000 signatures, urging the U.S. government to release Barrera on parole until her next asylum court date. The longer she stays in the detention facility, the higher the risk for sexual abuse and negligent medical care.

TransLatin@ Coalition implements grassroots efforts to gain media coverage for the causes.

@translatinacoalition / Instagram

“Alejandra’s application for a stay of removal was denied for the 5th time with no valid arguments,” TransLatin@ Coalition writes on Instagram as an update to the #FreeAlejandra press conference post. “She can be deported anytime within the next couple of days. We need you all to help us to put pressure on Congress to intervene and stop ICE from potentially sending Alejandra to her death.”

We are in the midst of a week-long campaign to #FreeAlejandra.

@TransLatina_C / Twitter

If Alejandra is deported, she will inevitably be murdered. TransLatin@ Coalition describes Alejandra as “a transgender Latina immigrant who was forced to flee El Salvador due to discrimination and violence, her home country in which she has spent years fighting for respect and dignity of transgender people.”

Before founding TransLatin@ Coalition, she was the Health Education and HIV Prevention Services Coordinator at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

@NationalNOW / Twitter

Needless to say, Bamby’s life mission has been to provide services to the trans community. She quit her job in 2015 to focus on trans immigrants full time.

Since then, she’s spoken at The White House and helped organize #FamiliesBelongTogether protests.

@labamby / Instagram

Bamby sees her activism as a privilege. She sees her shift in circumstances from homelessness and sex work as a privilege. That’s because, for trans women, it is a privilege when it should be an inherent right.

The issues facing trans women are nuanced and debilitating.

@prideportraits / Instagram

Trans women who flee their countries for fear of violence come to the U.S. for safety. “But things are bad here, too,” she tells Latina. “And we have to resort to the street economy, whether drugs or prostitution, to survive. Then we risk being arrested and turned into ICE, where we are detained and possibly deported. Immigration is one of the main issues impacting us, but it’s also not the only one, and I don’t want to forget that.”

La Bamby is here to fight for all women.

@labamby / Instagram

She celebrated Latina Equal Pay Day like most of our favorite feministas–with a solidarity post that read, “Today is #LatinaEqualPayDay, marking the 10 extra months Latinas must work to make the same amount white men earned last year. The gender pay gap is greatest for Latinas, who get only 54 cents for every $1 a white man makes. This is an injustice. Soy una mujer fenomenal — and I deserve the entire dollar! We’re not 54% phenomenal. We bring 100% every day & it’s time we make 100%.”

She just might be the Selfie Queen.

@labamby / Instagram

Her personal Instagram feed is a fabulous stream of selfies. Most of the captions describe what event she is going to, like this one: “On my way to bring my #TransLatinaPower to #northcarolina#deepsouth I’m going deep!! #freealejandra”

She also seems to have a healthy sense of humor.

@labamby / Instagram

This classic Strategy Selfie is captioned, “Que disque high class … #transocupayingspace con @life_as_a_queen” ????

And she’ll take every single opportunity to talk about the cause.

@labamby / Instagram

La Bamby ran into John Legend and California’s Surgeon General Nadine Burke Harris and took the opportunity to “bring your #TransLatinaPower to highlight #transissues.” ????????????

Unsurprisingly, her story has been captured in documentary format for your leisurely viewing.

@NewVoicesPgh / Twitter

Peruvian Director Dante Alencastre gifted the world “TransVisible: Bamby Salcedo’s Story” and the world noticed. The film has received Long Beach’s QFilm Festival “Best Documentary” award.

There’s no question: Bamby Salcedo is the revolutionary that will push trans rights to the next level.

@TransEquality / Twitter

To do that, she’s going deep into the murky systems of ICE and making sure to keep every detained trans woman accountable. Nobody else is doing it.

READ: Check Out These 9 Trans Activists On Instagram As They Fight For Justice And Equality

FIERCE LGBTQ Couples Are Sharing How They Met And It’s The Sweetest Thing

Fierce

FIERCE LGBTQ Couples Are Sharing How They Met And It’s The Sweetest Thing

Charles McQuillan / Getty

As we highlight Pride month, we wanted to share beautiful stories of LGBTQ+ love. To do so, we recently asked our FIERCE readers on Instagram to tell us how they met their partners and the results were not only hilarious but deeply inspiring.

Love is love and we love this kind of love.

Check it out!

The old slide in trick.

“I slid into the DMs.” – joanacanna

On their start to being ~educated latinas~

“My girlfriend and I met at the end of our first year of law school. She would say that I curved her for a few months before we became close. Almost three years later, we are both attorneys and looking forward to where life takes us.” – legalricanmujer

These two lovers who met while pushing for a joint interest

“We met in boot camp! 10 years ago (we’ve been together 2 /1/2 years, married 1 yr.” –hey_itsaj18

Chicas who started out on the same path and stuck together.

“We met in Nursing school we graduated together. That was 4 years ago, she’s a psychiatric nurse and I’m a geriatric nurse.” – m_a_r_i_a__j_o_h_a_n_n_a

They found love in a pandemic place.

Love in the time of Corona, thanks to Hinge!” – bienvenidarealidad__

Turns out the internet is the ultimate matchmaker.

“On the HER app. The same day she liked my profile she ended up coming into my job. I saw her but she didn’t see me. I ended up messaging her that night when I got off of work & we have been inseparable ever since. 3 years later and everyday I fall in love with her over & over again.” – _yourfavoritepoet_

And this is the most hilarious one of all.

“My wife @chulaworldand I were both seeing the same guy (total 🐶) …… so when we found out about each other we met up! And we have LITERALLY been inseparable ever since. Married on 4/20/19.” –bunuelitas

Here Are Some Queer Films And Shows To Watch To Start Pride Off Right

Entertainment

Here Are Some Queer Films And Shows To Watch To Start Pride Off Right

posefx / onedayatatimepoptv / Instagram

Pride Month is here and that means it is time to highlight the already celebrated LGBTQ+ shows and movies that have made a mark on us. Since Pride and the COVID pandemic are coinciding, it is a good time to watch some of the best examples of LGBTQ+ Latino entertainment.

“Moonlight”

Winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture, “Moonlight” brought Afro-Latino, Black, and queer storylines together. The movie follows a young Black man in Miami and his own trials and tribulations growing up with a mother who is addicted to drugs. His life is changed thanks to an Afro-Cuban man who takes him under his wing and shows him how to make it through his adolescents.

“To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything! Julie Newmar”

One of the most popular classic films in LGBTQ+ cinema. “To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything! Julie Newmar” follows three drag queens who drive from New York to Los Angeles for a national drag beauty pageant. Chi Chi Rodriguez, played by Joh Leguizamo, convinces the two competing queens to let him ride with them. Along the way, Rodriguez learns what it means to be a drag queen and the queens all learn a lot from a small, rural community filled with unexpected love and understanding.

“Pose”

“Pose” brings the ballroom culture straight to your living room. Set at the beginning in 1987 New York City during the peak of the AIDs epidemic, “Pose” empowers the queer people of color of the time. Ballroom culture is an underground dancing culture that has jumped into the mainstream because of “Pose.” The show takes the narrative of HIV-positive people of color in the time and empowers them rather than tears them down.

“Tangerine”

“Tangerine” is the story of a prostitute on a mission. The main character gets out of jail and learns that their boyfriend and pimp has started a new relationship with another woman. So, she and her friend set out to find him and teach the two a lesson for straying from her while she was incarcerated.

“Gentefied”

“Genetfied” is the latest Netflix hit and it is all about gentrification and the fight to keep Boyle Heights Latino. In the overall story, there is a lesbian relationship that is leaving everyone with all kinds of envy.

“One Day At A Time”

Netflix really misstepped here when they pulled the plug on their production of “One Day At A Time” but Pop TV saved the show. The first three seasons are currently on Netflix so you can still watch all of those episodes and enjoy the growing openness of Elena as she comes out.

“La casa de las flores”

This telenovela is truly one of the most incredible projects with LGBTQ+ characters today. Even Valentina, the famed drag queen from “RuPaul’s Drag Race” is in the latest season solidifying the shows LGBTQ+ status.

READ: The Trailer For The Final Season Of ‘La Casa De Las Flores’ Is Here And We’re Not Ready To Say Goodbye