Things That Matter

Laith Ashley De La Cruz Talks About His Journey From Health Care Worker To Health Care Advocate

Laith Ashley De La Cruz worked for an LGBTQ health organization in New York City before becoming a full-time model and social media star. As a child of immigrants living in New York City, De La Cruz saw firsthand the fear and misinformation that runs through many immigrant communities that prevents people from accessing necessary healthcare. De La Cruz recently spoke on mitú‘s panel, “A Conversation With America: Know Your Health Rights,” hosted by actor and advocate Jaime Camil. He sat down with mitú before the panel to talk about the state of health care for immigrants.

Trans model and activist Laith Ashley De La Cruz is personally familiar with the healthcare issues facing immigrants.

Another one of my favorite shots for @cheapundies. ? @vadellaphoto

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For one, De La Cruz is the child of immigrants and grew up in a predominately immigrant community. That upbringing made him notice one common obstacle preventing immigrants from getting healthcare.

“Immigrants have this fear, especially if they are undocumented, that ‘la migra’ will find them,” De La Cruz says. “I worked at an LGBT health center in New York and one of the biggest issues when trying to get folks to sign up for healthcare was that they were afraid to give their personal information. They thought that if they were undocumented and the government found out that they had healthcare that someone was out to get them.”

As for trans immigrants seeking healthcare, De La Cruz says that respect plays a bigger role.

“For trans people, [healthcare] is even more difficult because you are hoping that this person understands you,” De La Cruz says. “[You hope] they’re not going to judge you for being ‘different’ and that they’re going to be respectful of your pronouns and your journey. A lot of the time, that’s just not the case.”

De La Cruz believes that respect from medical professionals is crucial to further proper healthcare information for trans people who fear being humiliated when seeking medical advice. Without respect for the patient, it is hard to build the trust necessary to ease those fears and encourage trans people to seek healthcare.

The recent statements made by President Donald Trump, banning trans people from serving in the military because of a “financial burden” they create, haven’t helped to better understanding and respect for the trans community.

De La Cruz says Donald Trump has “no idea how the military works,” and is creating a false narrative on why trans people join the military.

“The misconception that trans people are joining the military solely for medical reasons is ridiculous,” says De La Cruz. “They’re risking their lives. They’re fighting on the front lines for our liberty here in the States so for him to have said that is completely ridiculous.”

De La Cruz only needs to look to one of his best friends, military veteran and trans activist Shane Ortega.

“He was one of the folks who was right there in the movement trying to get rights for trans people in the military,” he says. “He told me that it was very difficult for him to navigate the system, but he was able to.”

“You need to get educated,” De La Cruz tells people about healthcare access.

#flashbackfriday with @sutanamrull! #raja #onset #makelovenotwalls #rupaulsdragrace #dragrace #dragqueen #lgbt

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De La Cruz says people need to do more than just understand the basics of the healthcare system in the U.S. People also need to learn which organizations have the best interest of the community in the heart of their mission. For Latinos, that means finding healthcare or social advocacy organizations that can break down information so they can benefit to the fullest.

He admits that he hasn’t spent a lot of time advocating for immigrant healthcare access, but that’s about to change.

Now that he has a decent social media following, De La Cruz plans on using his influence to start spreading the word about the importance of healthcare access for immigrants. He wants immigrants to understand that there is help for them to get the healthcare they deserve.

De La Cruz considers a lack of empathy in society as a major reason immigrants struggle to receive healthcare.

When you smile so hard, your eyes disappear ? Outtake by @_williambaker. #flashback #ftm #lgbT #latino #dominicanrepublic

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“People need to understand that even though they are not personally affected by something that other people face, in the grand scheme of things, it is possible that they can be affected,” De La Cruz says. “You should care for other people, not just yourself. There are other people who are facing all sorts of crises and you should be able to acknowledge that these things are an issue. Just because it doesn’t directly affect you now doesn’t mean that it won’t in the long run.”

Now, De La Cruz plans on showing how intersectionality plays a major role in the healthcare debate.

“Part of my job now is to speak at universities and I’m oftentimes asked to speak on different panels,” De La Cruz explains. “I do talk about healthcare issues with the trans community, but now I am looking to tie it in with the immigrant community as well.”

You can watch De La Cruz talk more about the importance of healthcare access for immigrants below.

A Conversation With America: Know Your Health Rights

Join us for A Conversation With America: Know Your Health Rights, streaming LIVE with host Jaime Camil and special guests Laith Ashley, Joanna Cifredo & more.

Millions of undocumented immigrants make this country great. Their health matters too.

#Health4All #LCHCthrive

Posted by We are mitú on Thursday, August 17, 2017

READ: 9 Latinx LGBTQ People Who Deserve An ‘Out Magazine’ Cover More Than This White Supremacist

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Gloria Estefan Shares Her ‘Shocking’ Reaction To Her Daughter Coming Out


Gloria Estefan Shares Her ‘Shocking’ Reaction To Her Daughter Coming Out

David M. Benett / Getty

The Estefans’ Red Table Talk is officially here and queer!

So get used to it!

The beloved Cuban singer and her family hosted their second episode of the Facebook Watch series Red Table Talk: The Estefans. Things got real real as she, her daughter Emily Estefan and niece Lili Estefan sat down for a raw and honest conversation about their lives and relationships.

In the second episode of ‘Red Table Talk: The Estefans‘ titled, “Emily’s Coming Out Story,” the family revealed that Gloria was shocked to learn that her “miracle baby” was queer.

Speaking frankly, Gloria explained that her initial reaction to her daughter’s coming out was to dissuade her from telling her grandmother the truth. According to Gloria, she feared that her own mother would die from the news about Emily.

“I came out to my parents like in 2017. But as you’ll see on the show, I think they knew way before that,” Emily, who is 25-years-old Entertainment Weekly in an interview. “What I’m most excited about in this episode is the complexity of it all. I wouldn’t be doing anybody justice if I went up there and lied and said that it was easy or that there weren’t complex emotions involved, even though my mom has been such a fierce supporter of the LGBTQ community. Everybody has a perspective. And as human beings, we’re always trying to be understood instead of understanding. As you’ll see in the clip, it was difficult for me to hear that. No matter under any perspective, those words were difficult to hear.”

Sadly, Emily never had the chance to share this part of her identity with her grandmother, Gloria Fajardo.

Fajardo passed away in 2017 before Emily had the chance to come out to her. It is unknown whether she knew of her sexual orientation before she passed away.

“That is one of my biggest unanswered questions that I will live the rest of my life with,” Emily explained “Many of the people around me that love me have told me they knew. But in my heart, my grandmother and I were so close but I’m really not sure. But that’s part of life too — you don’t get every answer that you want. I’m also learning that regrets are a waste of time. But I’m still on that journey. A few years ago, I would’ve never imagined that we’d be talking about this as I’m about to release an episode where I say things I’ve not even told family members of mine. I’m still growing and learning.”

In the latest episode of the Red Table Talk, Gloria explains that Emily became known as her “miracle baby” after she was conceived following a devastating tour bus accident in 1990.

At the time, Estefan’s doctors told her she would not be able to concieve more children. At the time, Gloria and her husband, Emilio Estefan, already had their son, Nayib Estefan. Nayib is 15 years older than his sister Emily.

In the latest interview, Emily talks about the pressures of having to live up to the concept of a “perfect daughter” that had been projected onto her by media outlets. She also addresses how she became the target of tabloid fodder in Spanish-language media after her relationship with Gemeny Hernandez was revealed.

“My parents would tell me all the time that we all have to earn respect, which I totally understand and fully agree with,” Emily explained of her experiences growing up in the spotlight. “Life is difficult and you don’t know what people’s intentions are all the time. When my dad started dating my mom, my grandma would slam the door in his face! My parents never exhibited anything extreme like that when it came to my relationships, but they would remind me what their courtship was like. I would let them know that we’re going through similar things, but in different colors. Life is about repetition and trying to pick up new things along the way. My grandma came from a time where she didn’t go on a date with my grandpa until they had their marriage certificate, and even then her mom was chaperoning them. They didn’t kiss until they were married.”

Emily revealed that she and her girlfriend Gemeny have been together for almost four years now and that she has been welcomed as part of the Estefan family.

“Family dynamics are hard, no matter what,” Emily went onto share. “Gem is one of those people who is like a mirror: She came into my life and showed me my truth. Sometimes that’s not beautiful, but that’s what love is. It’s not beauty or dates or romance all the time, but all of the things that come with love. I’m really young, but I feel that having her by my side has made me truly understand what a loving, adult relationship is like. That’s why it’s been so easy for me to fight this fight and speak my truth, because it’s all worth it. She helped me be brave. Now she has a relationship with my family which is the incredible part and can maybe be explored in season 2? Having her come to sit at the table and talk about those dynamics. Everybody loves each other, but as I said, love isn’t easy. And you know what it’s like being a part of a Latino family. The baby starts dating somebody, even if it’s Mickey Mouse, they still wouldn’t think he’s good enough!”

The second episode of the Estefan’s Red Table Talk, “Emily’s Coming Out Story,” debuted this past Wednesday, Oct. 14, at noon ET on Facebook Watch.

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Gay Men Took Over #ProudBoys On Twitter And The Results Are Exactly What We Needed Right Now

Things That Matter

Gay Men Took Over #ProudBoys On Twitter And The Results Are Exactly What We Needed Right Now

@CarlosGSmith / Twitter

Although social media is so often ridiculed for being filled with self-obsessed, attention-seeking content, for the past few days its been filled with messages of love and compassion.

Over the weekend, the words Proud Boys took on a whole new meaning as gay men flooded Twitter with messages of love and acceptance using the hashtag #ProudBoys.

This has caused two very different groups of men to face off on the same hashtag: the far-right cadre known as the Proud Boys—and the thousands of gay Twitter users who flooded that platform with pro-LGBT images, marking those posts with #proudboys. 

Tens of thousands of gay men have taken over the #ProudBoys on Twitter and the actual Proud Boys are pissed.

#ProudBoys, which members of the hateful, far-right group have been using, was trending over the weekend after tens of thousands of gay men on Twitter hijacked it and flooded the feed with photos of their loved ones and families and with memes.

The celebration of LGBTQ pride was a clear attempt to drown out voices of the far-right group with the same name, which made headlines after getting mentioned by President Trump during last week’s first presidential debate.  

“Let’s replace the hashtag with images of love, positivity and true PRIDE,” tweeted Carlos G. Smith, an openly gay member of Florida’s House of Representatives. 

Many tweets attached to the trending hashtag showed photos of couples who had been together years or decades — at their weddings, posing with their children, marching in pride parades or just looking happily in love.

At least one of the many tweets from gay men using the #ProudBoys hashtag referenced Trump’s debate words. “We will never stand back and stand by! Together for 25 years with two amazing children,” Dan Ort-Patrick wrote

It seems that we can thank actor George Takei for the brilliant takeover idea!

The hashtag takeover appears to have originated with Star Trek star George Takei, who wondered aloud Thursday what would happen if gay men tagged themselves as #ProudBoys on social media. 

“What if gay guys took pictures of themselves making out with each other or doing very gay things, then tagged themselves with #ProudBoys? I bet it would mess them up real bad,” Takei tweeted.

The Proud Boys – a racist, hate group – began trending last week after Trump refused to denounce their actions and beliefs.

The Proud Boys group entered the mainstream conversation last week after Donald Trump seemed to call them to action at the first presidential debate. During an exchange between Trump and moderator Chris Wallace about white supremacists, Trump told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by.”

Following the debate, members of the group celebrated Trump’s reaction, using “stand back” and “stand by” in their logo and posting videos from the debate with the caption “God. Family. Brotherhood.”

The Proud Boys referenced in the debate are “self-described ‘western chauvinists’ who adamantly deny any connection to the racist ‘alt-right,’ insisting they are simply a fraternal group spreading an ‘anti-political correctness’ and ‘anti-white guilt’ agenda,” according to civil rights organization Southern Poverty Law Center. The SLPC maintains, however, that the group, founded in 2016, affiliates with extremists and is known for anti-Muslim and misogynistic rhetoric.  

All sorts of people showed their support – even the Canadian Armed Forces.

The official Twitter account of the Canadian Armed Forces in the United States took part, too, tweeting a picture of two men kissing—one a corporal named Brent Kenny—with #proudboys.

“Love is love,” the group wrote in a reply tweet. (It was perhaps not a surprising piece of activism from an institution that describes itself in its Twitter bio as: “Nice people. Maple syrup.”)

The Canadian Navy’s Twitter account later retweeted the image, as did the account for the ship that Kenny sailed on, the Winnipeg.

Couples from around the world got in on the viral hashtag to help spread love, not hate.

So many couples shared their wedding photos, images of their families, pictures from their first date, and so much more – to help deliver a takeover of a hashtag so often used to spread hate.

Gay men shared their pride in themselves, their community, and in their love.

But back on Twitter, it was all love and rainbows, with Takei expressing gratitude for the enthusiastic response to his idea.  

“Brad and I are #ProudBoys, legally married for 12 years now,” he tweeted Sunday along with a photo of him and his partner. “And we’re proud of all of the gay folks who have stepped up to reclaim our pride in this campaign. Our community and allies answered hate with love, and what could be better than that.”

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