Things That Matter

Three Bisexual Women And Other Queer Activists And Politicians Changing Their World

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.

Emma Gonzalez

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

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

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.

Maricón Collective

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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.

Robert Garcia

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.


READ: After Posting Photos With His Boyfriend, Jenni Rivera’s Youngest Son Comes Out As Bisexual

Do you know any inspiring bi or LGTQ activists? Share this with them!

Mexico Admits That Hundreds Of HIV-Positive Mexicans Were Being Treated With Obsolete And Ineffective Medications

Things That Matter

Mexico Admits That Hundreds Of HIV-Positive Mexicans Were Being Treated With Obsolete And Ineffective Medications

Gobierno de Mexico

For a long time, it was considered that Mexico had averted the worst of the HIV/AIDS crisis that has plagued much of the Americas. For a country of its size and population, Mexico historically has had a very low incidence rate of HIV infection – even among populations considered at a high-risk.

Mexico is also a nation that has a robust public healthcare system that provides medical care to its citizens free-of-charge or at very low prices, including HIV medications.

Many looked to Mexico as a role model for developing countries confronting the worldwide HIV epidemic. However, after recent reports about obsolete medications being given to HIV and AIDS patients many are beginning to question that way of thinking.

Mexico’s Health ministry revealed that Mexico had been buying outdated medications from suppliers that no longer worked.

Credit: Gobierno de Mexico

Hugo López-Gatell, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health, revealed this morning that some drug providers were selling outdated and obsolete HIV drugs to the federal government. Many of the drug being used by the government to treat HIV-positive patients were from the 1980s and have been proven ineffective around the world.

At a press conference, he explained that in late 2019, authorities realized that drug companies were intentionally manipulating the public bidding process in a scheme to sell outdated drugs to the public health ministry.

“The combination of medicines tells us about the enormous lack of proper HIV treatment because they [the HIV medications] are not adequate. In many cases we found the use of old medicines, we found the use of the first HIV drug that was invented or discovered at the beginning of the 80s. It is a drug that is already obsolete worldwide and in Mexico was still being used,” he said.

According to the government, however, it was the fault of the drug companies that were gaming a public health system.

Credit: Gobierno de Mexico

“What did we find?” That here were pressures from representatives of the pharmaceutical industry. We discovered that it was one group who made the medicines and that there were very few who distributed them. But they tie up the government with exclusive agreements to the different companies that manufacture the medicines,” he explained.

So basically, the distributors put pressure on doctors who specifically prescribed retroviral medications. He also clarified that purchases have always been made at the national level, however, they made no sense with the amounts of what they asked for in each state.

Despite this troubling revelation, the Ministry of Health has restated its commitment to securing the best care for those in need of HIV treatment.

Credit: Gilead Sciences

The undersecretary added: “In May, we completely modified the HIV treatment scheme. First, we made it clear that we wanted the best medications, the most effective, the safest; second, we identified how many people could have this ideal medication scheme and it turns out that there were many more than those who were taking advantage of it.”

This latest news comes just months after the country reformed its HIV treatment regime, leaving many fearful of shortages.

Public health officials warned of the possibility that thousands of Mexicans who rely on HIV treatment could be left without life-saving services after the government changed the way it funds treatment.

Reforms announced last month to centralize drug procurement risk sparking shortages, they say, while the government counters that it has ample supplies and hopes its changes will save money and cut corruption in the drug buying process. It’s these reforms they say that will help combat problems such as being sold outdated and obsolete drugs.

However, many HIV activists warn of a public health crisis.

In February, the government also said that it would no longer fund civil society organizations, leaving more than 200 groups fighting the disease without resources for core activities, such as HIV testing.

Hallmark Pulled Four Ads That They ‘Deemed Controversial’ After ‘One Million Moms’ Had A Fit Over A Lesbian Kiss

Entertainment

Hallmark Pulled Four Ads That They ‘Deemed Controversial’ After ‘One Million Moms’ Had A Fit Over A Lesbian Kiss

Zola / Youtube

Although the Hallmark Channel is technically an apolitical brand, it has a reputation for representing “traditional” (read: stereotypical, nuclear, cookie-cutter) family values. For this reason, it’s become wildly popular over the years with politically conservative viewers in suburban and rural parts of the US and Canada—in fact, most Hallmark movies are actually filmed in Canada and feature Canadian talent.  So, it may not come as a surprise that the network pulled four ads that they had “deemed controversial” from circulation last week. What was so controversial, you may ask?

The commercials were for Zola, a wedding planning site that helps couples organize their big day. Originally, Hallmark was set to run six Zola ads, all of which featured different couples celebrating their wedding day. The primary focus of the ads landed on one lesbian couple, while a few heterosexual pairs occupied the periphery. In some of the ads, the couples share a meaningful kiss . . . you know, like they would at an actual wedding.

But One Million Moms, a branch of the conservative American Family Association, started a petition that urged Hallmark to “please reconsider airing commercials with same-sex couples.” And they did.

The mission of the American Family Association is to “fight against indecency,” and according to their website, nearly 25,000 people had signed their petition within just a few days of its publication.

When Zola was notified that four of their six ads would be pulled, an ad buyer representing the company asked for an explanation.

“We are not allowed to accept creatives that are deemed controversial,” a Hallmark account representative responded. He added, “The decision not to air overt public displays of affection in our sponsored advertisement, regardless of the participants, is in line with our current policy, which includes not featuring political advertisements, offensive language, R-rated movie content and many other categories.”

But Zola had previously advertised on Hallmark without any problems, and Mike Chi, the chief marketing officer of Zola, didn’t buy this explanation. He expressed frustration with the network, asserting that Zola would cancel its partnership with Hallmark.

“The only difference between the commercials that were flagged and the ones that were approved was that the commercials that did not meet Hallmark’s standards included a lesbian couple kissing,” he said. “Hallmark approved a commercial where a heterosexual couple kissed. All kisses, couples and marriages are equal celebrations of love and we will no longer be advertising on Hallmark.”

The internet was also not pleased with Hallmark’s behavior. On Sunday, the hashtags #boycotthallmark and #BoycottHallmarkChannel were trending on Twitter, with more than 8,000 adamant tweets from LGBT families and allies—many of whom also identified as Hallmark viewers.

But after facing days of backlash for their decision not to air Zola’s ads, Hallmark has apologized—and the responses to their apology are also pretty polarized.

In an early statement, Molly Biwer, senior vice president for public affairs and communications at Hallmark, said that “the debate surrounding these commercials on all sides was distracting from the purpose of [the] network, which is to provide entertainment value.” However, Mike Perry, the president and chief executive of Hallmark Cards, offered a more direct and compassionate follow-up.

“Our mission is rooted in helping all people connect, celebrate traditions and be inspired to capture meaningful moments in their lives,” he said. “Anything that detracts from this purpose is not who we are. We are truly sorry for the hurt and disappointment this has caused.”

Hallmark even insisted that it would work with GLAAD, a national LGBTQ media advocacy organization, “to better represent the LGBTQ community across [their] portfolio of brands.”

But as the controversy initially unfolded, GLAAD president Sarah Kate Ellis issued a statement that read, “The Hallmark Channel’s decision to remove LGBTQ families in such a blatant way is discriminatory and especially hypocritical coming from a network that claims to present family programming and also recently stated they are ‘open’ to LGBTQ holiday movies.” In spite of this assessment, Hallmark has reiterated its focus on learning how to better advocate for diversity in collaboration with GLAAD.

Hallmark also claimed that it plans on contacting Zola to “re-establish [their] partnership and reinstate the commercials.”

But before that happens, Chi said that he first needs to “understand concrete actions they are going to take.” A Zola representative confirmed that Hallmark has reached out to Zola to begin a conversation.

While many folks are praising Hallmark’s apology and attempts to mend the situation, Monica Cole, the director of One Million Moms, critiqued the network’s change of heart. “One Million Moms is extremely disappointed that the Hallmark Channel caved under pressure,” she said in a statement Monday. “This is an enormous mistake that will cause a majority of its viewership to turn the channel.”

Well, Monica, if progress means losing a few viewers, those viewers should probably get ready to just turn their TVs off.