Things That Matter

Bogota, Colombia Just Made History By Electing Their First Woman And Openly Gay Mayor Claudia Lopez Hernandez

On Sunday, voters in Bogota, Colombia made history by electing not only their first female mayor in the history of the city but the first openly gay mayor as well. Claudia Lopez Hernandez won 35.2% of the vote (which equals around 1.1 million votes), beating out her competitor Carlos Fernando Galán who followed her with 32.5% of the vote. Lopez’s win is making international headlines because of the significance of the position–in Colombia, the mayor of Bogota is considered the second most powerful political position in the country–second only to the president.

Lopez celebrated her victory by kissing her partner Angélica Lozano–also a Green Alliance politician. Surrounded by her supporters, Lopez addressed the crowd: “This is the day of the woman. We knew that only by uniting could we win. We did that. We united, we won and we made history!”.

Lopez is no stranger to the political world–not only did she earn her Ph.D. in Political Science from Northwestern University in the U.S., but she has worked for years to fight corruption in Colombia’s government.

On the campaign trail, Lopez marketed herself as an “incorruptible” candidate, making her attractive to Bogotans who were tired of their city’s rampant corruption throughout the political sector. And it’s not only Lopez’s academic record that’s impressive. Lopez began her career as a student activist in the ’90s, lending her voice to a movement that spurred on Colombia’s adoption of a nationwide constitution. From there, she became a journalist, then a consultant to the United Nations, and finally, a researcher investigating corruption within Colombia’s congress. In 2014, she was elected to Colombia’s senate as a member of the Green Alliance Party. 

Lopez, who is a member of the Green Alliance Party, is considered to be “center-left” on Bogota’s political spectrum. During her candidacy, she supported advancing minority rights and proposed creating more educational opportunities for people over 45 and ramping up law enforcement in the capital, according to the BBC.

Lopez’s win is monumental not only for women and the LGBT community, but for those who a tired of seeing their city dominated by corrupt politicians.

In Colombia, political corruption has long been a scourge on the government. The country has an unfortunate history of those within power embezzling public funds, bribing officials, and attempting to rig elections. Voters have been vocal about their outrage over what they believe is a deeply broken political machine. In recent years, the civil unrest over corruption has reached new heights. In 2016, up to 16,000 Colombians took to Bogota’s streets to protest the widespread bribery of public officials. 

And while past political candidates have vowed to fight corruption through policy changes, the city has seen little outcome from these campaign-trail promises. Many are optimistic that Lopez’s unusual political pedigree will be the change Bogota needs to combat the city’s structural corruption. “For the first time in Colombian history a woman is mayor of the capital city Bogota,” said one Twitter user. “[She’s] the only politician I trust in this m***** country and yeah, she’s a lesbian”.

As for the people of Bogota, many are proud that their city elected someone who, years ago, would’ve been an unlikely winner. 

Many Colombians are taking to Twitter to express their joy over the election results. It’s not every day that history is made in such a monumental way. 

For many, Claudia Lopez Hernandez’s election is a sign of hope. 

 This is @ClaudiaLopez, the new mayor of #Bogota, kissing her partner @AngelicaLozanoC in celebration after today’s elections. This is a momentous symbol, a sign of change and of good things to come. That I have the privilege of calling them my friends only makes this sweeter.

Some people are saying that her election is renewing their faith in the democratic process:

It can be hard to remain positive about politics when we’re bombarded with bad news all day. Sometimes, all it takes is one positive event to keep us optimistic.  

Of course, some people believe that we should be celebrating Lopez’s stellar qualifications, not her gender or sexual orientation:

Although it’s true that Lopez won the election regardless of being a gay woman, for many, it’s exciting that she was able to accomplish such a feat without hiding who she is. 

And of course, many Colombians are feeling renewed patriotism for their country.

In the face of constant news about corruption, sexism, and homophobia, there’s nothing more refreshing than hearing a population came together, rejected prejudice, and voted their conscience. 

As A Queer Latina, I Can’t Praise Showtime Enough For Their Representation In ‘The L Word: Generation Q’

Culture

As A Queer Latina, I Can’t Praise Showtime Enough For Their Representation In ‘The L Word: Generation Q’

The L Word / Showtime

The highly anticipated sequel to Showtime’s iconic lesbian drama series, “The L Word,” is moving far and beyond the Latina tropes and giving us two very different Latinas of different classes, wealth, and family support systems. And they’re in love. The original series was set in West Hollywood, California, a place as sexuality-diverse as it is accessible only to the wealthy, thereby excluding racial diversity. The sequel, however, is set in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles, a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood in East LA that has become the de facto capital of queer for a new generation of LGBTQ+ people. Bette Porter (Jennifer Beals) is running for mayor of Los Angeles, but is facing setbacks because of the queerness of her love life. Shane McCutcheon (Kat Moennig) has become a successful androgynous model, which hasn’t prevented relationship problems with her wife. Alice Pieszecki (Leisha Hailey) has become the new Ellen Degeneres, with a foundation set before her by the talk show host, Alice is able to offer a provocative talk show defined by feminism and queerness instead of just making people laugh. That very show becomes the grounds where we meet Generation Q. We meet two women who work together and are roommates and follow them back into their home to meet their roommates, girlfriends, and very hot property manager.

Instead of a Persian woman playing a Latina, “The L Word: Generation Q” has two main cast members who are Latina and are surrounded by their Latino family members who become the source of support or conflict in their relationship. Relatable already, no?

Dani Nuñez and Sophie Suarez are the central couple to
“Generation Q.”

CREDIT: @ARIENNE_MANDI / INSTAGRAM

Sure, Alice is starting up throuple’s with her girlfriend and her girlfriend’s ex-wife, but that drama feels far too out there to hit home. Dani and Sophie, however, offer a story we’re all familiar with, especially if you, too, are a queer Latina. Dani Nuñez (left) comes from a wealthy background. She is essentially the heiress to her father’s company, Nuñez, Inc, which deals in promoting opioids. In this alternate reality, the Nuñez’s are reflective of the Sackler family, which has faced harsh criticism as the face of the opioid crisis. America has turned to question crisis by questioning the insular morals of a singular family which has built an empire. “Generation Q’ re-envisions that moral conundrum by giving us Dani Nuñez, the Director of Communications of Nuñez, Inc., who begins to question her morals after Bette Porter asks her point-blank: “How do you sleep at night?”

Meanwhile, Sophie’s morals are perfectly aligned in her career as a producer for Alice’s feminist, queer talk show of the same name.

CREDIT: @80SBIANS / TWITTER

Sophie comes from a different class of Latinidad, which includes the perks of a tight-knit family unit. She exudes confidence while wearing a Wildfang coverall suit instead of an expensive business suit. Sophie enjoys the support of her family and knowing exactly who she is and what she wants out of life.

Meanwhile, Dani’s father’s homophobia becomes intolerable for Dani as the two take their relationship to the next level.

CREDIT: @LOGOTV / TWITTER

As a queer Latina literally named Dani with a homophobic father herself, I couldn’t feel more seen by how “Generation Q” portrays the psychological hardships that family homophobia can place on a relationship. Dani grew up with an implicit understanding that if her feelings didn’t fit into her family values, that the only way she could feel and process them was in isolation. That learned behavior trickles into her relationship with Sophie, and Sophie has a problem with it. Sophie’s family is constantly around, supporting them, and openly processing their feelings. There are no secrets.

“Generation Q” illustrates the nuances in how the child of a homophobic parent learns to navigate life and how it has much larger effects on their personal relationships. 

CREDIT: @SHO_THELWORD / TWITTER

So far, the show hasn’t just given us an Afro-Latina and a brown Latina. It’s given us a range of family dynamics that feel so familiar to so many of us. Whether you have Sophie’s family, who’s constantly bringing over tin-foil wrapped homemade food, even on a tour of a ritzy wedding venue, or Dani’s family, who, in order to please them, you have to compromise too much of your self. 

You can stream Showtime’s “The L Word: Generation Q” on Sundays.

READ: ‘The L Word: Generation Q’ Trailer Is Here And There Are Latinas Playing Latinas

The New ‘Saved by the Bell’ Reboot Announced That It Has Cast Trans Actress Josie Totah

Entertainment

The New ‘Saved by the Bell’ Reboot Announced That It Has Cast Trans Actress Josie Totah

Netflix

School at Bayside High is back in session! This time, the role of the most popular kid in school won’t be the infamous blonde-headed boy heartthrob Zack Morris. Instead, the role of the kid to rule the school is being taken on by Josie Totah.

The 18-year-old American actress is set to play Lexi on NBC’s reboot of “Saved By the Bell.”

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According to Deadline, Totah is signed to join the original series cast members, including Elizabeth Berkley and Mario Lopez, in the NBC Universal’s streaming platform Peacock. A statement by Deadline says that “Totah will play Lexi, a beautiful, sharp-tongued cheerleader and the most popular girl at Bayside High who is both admired and feared by her fellow students.”

According to reports, th new series, which acts as more of a sequel than a reboot, is set to follow Zack Morris as a California Gov. who comes under fire after closing too many low-income schools. To remedy the situation he sends displaced students to higher-performing schools including Bayside High.

Totah’s casting role is big news and history in the making because of it what it means for the trans community. 

Totah first gained attention as an actor when she started in the short-lived Mindy Kaling series “Champions.” AT the time, Totah had not come out as trans. She ultimately did so in an essay for Time Magazine writing “When I was really young, growing up in a small town in Northern California, people would just assume I was gay. On the playground, I was the type of kid who wanted to sing with the girls, not play soccer with the boys. Then I found myself playing that role once I got into the entertainment industry, and people kept assuming my identity. Numerous reporters have asked me in interviews how it feels to be a young gay man. I was even introduced that way before receiving an award from an LGBTQ+ rights organization. I understand that they didn’t really know better. I almost felt like I owed it to everybody to be that gay boy. But that has never been the way I think of myself.”

Totah went onto say that she planed on going off to college and continuing her acting career saying “I plan to play roles I haven’t had the opportunity to play. And I can only imagine how much more fun it’s going to be to play someone who shares my identity, rather than having to contort myself to play a boy. I’m going to gun for those roles, be it a transgender female or a cisgender female. Because it’s a clean slate — and a new world.”

Strangely, Totah is set to star along Mario Lopez, who was criticized late last year for anti-transgender comments in June.

Speaking in an interview on the “The Candace Owens Show” Lopez said that it was “dangerous” for parents of children as young as three years old to permanently label their kids as transgender.“I’m kind of blown away, too,” Lopez said in the interview with Owens. “I’m never one to tell anyone how to parent their kids, obviously, and I think if you come from a place of love, you really can’t go wrong, but at the same time, my God, if you’re 3 years old and you’re saying you’re feeling a certain way or you think you’re a boy or a girl or whatever the case may be, I just think it’s dangerous as a parent to make that determination.”

Following the backlash, the actorapologized in a statement sent to The Advocate. “The comments I made were ignorant and insensitive, and I now have a deeper understanding of how hurtful they were,” he told the outlet at the time. 

Lopez took a day off of work from “Extra” following the backlashed he received even after his public apology and returned to work later that week. At the time, producers over at “Extra,” where Lopez acts currently as a host, did release a statement that same week saying: “While we have enjoyed a long relationship with Mario Lopez, who we know to be a caring person, the opinions he expressed in this interview do not reflect those of Extra. We wholeheartedly embrace our friends from the LGBTQ community and believe they need support and love.”

GLAAD, a non-profit media monitoring organization founded by LGBT people, also weighed in on Lopez’s comments and the repercussions they have. The organization says that experts have long previously discredited Lopez’s claims. 

“Medical and psychological experts and parents of children who are transgender have long discredited the ideas that @MarioLopezExtra shared. The real dangerous action is when someone with a public platform uses bad science to speak against a vulnerable group of children.”

Here’s hoping Lopez behaves appropriately on set while working with his new co-star.