Members of the LGBTQ community have made significant advancements in recent years in the name of equality. LGBTQ people are in elected positions and are fighting for the rights of people in and out of the LGBTQ community. One community often overlooked is the bisexual community. Here are a few queer Latinos who are turning the tides in politics and acceptance.
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When tragedy struck at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida earlier this year, Emma Gonzalez started her gun reform campaign. The high school senior took a tragic moment and is championing the fight to pass gun reform legislation. She is openly bi and told Yahoo being proud of who she is has helped her be stronger in taking up the mantle for gun reform. “They’re definitely linked for me personally. If I wasn’t so open about who I was I never would’ve been able to do this.”
— JoCasta Zamarripa (@repjocasta) June 28, 2018
Wisconsin state representative JoCasta Zamarripa has been serving in the 8th Wisconsin State Assembly district since 2010. Two years later announced she is bisexual in an interview with The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Zamarripa is the first Latina elected to the Wisconsin legislature. Zamarripa is making history with a one-two punch as an out Latina in politics.
Evelyn Mantilla was the OG bisexual politician who helped crash the glass ceiling to welcome in other LGBTQ politicians. Mantilla, who is originally from Puerto Rico, was elected in 1997 as a state representative for the heavily Latino 4th district of Connecticut. That same year, she came out as America’s first openly bisexual state official.
4. Lupe Valdez
Lupe Valdez, the first Latina and first woman to be sheriff in Texas state history, has thrown her sheriff’s hat in the race for governor. “I’ve dedicated my life to defending Texas, and I’m not done yet,” Valdez said in a news conference to announce her candidacy. She is openly gay and was even surprised by her girlfriend in 2016 when she received a shiny new red Tesla for her birthday.
This group of queer Chicano activists and artists want to reclaim the Spanish slur ‘maricón’ (translation: faggot) through art. Carlos Morales, Rudy Bleu, Michael Rodriguez, and Manuel Paul host events throughout Los Angeles to empower and entertain the local LGBTQ community—and to encourage them to reclaim the power of the word.
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When Robert Garcia was elected to serve on the Long Beach City Council in 2009, he made history in the third-largest city in Southern California in three ways: he was the youngest person, first Latino, and first gay Latino to be serving on the city’s council. Then in 2014 he made history again as Long Beach’s first openly gay mayor. Under his mayorship, he has helped Long Beach gain a $3 million innovation grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies and revived the city’s Economic Development Commission.
7. Carlos Padilla
Undocumented immigrants might feel as if their voice isn’t always represented in politics, and perhaps even more so for queen undocumented immigrants. But queer undocumented immigrant and activist Carlos Padilla is trying to change that. Padilla wrote a powerful op-ed in 2015 that reiterated how LGBTQ immigrants are some of the most vulnerable in an already marginalized group of society. Padilla has helped lead marches, gather activist groups and received awards for his youth leadership.