credit: Jose Salvador Sanchez / mitú

things that matter

LGBTQ+ Latinos Showed Up And Represented At One Of The Largest Equality Marches Of Our Lifetime

It’s been one year since Omar Mateen opened fire and killed 49 people at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Fla. Many of the victims were young, LGBTQ+ Latinos enjoying a night of dancing with family and friends. One year later, at The Equality March for Unity and Pride, LGBTQ+ Latinxs were out, loud, and proud for all those who couldn’t be there. Some of them spoke to mitú about why they took part in one of the largest LGBTQ+ demonstrations in recent memory and why they wanted to be visible. Here’s what they told us…

Sara Ramirez

CREDIT: José Salvador Sanchez / mitú

“I think it’s important [to be visible] but I also think that it’s a really individual and personal decision for people to come out either publicly or to their family or to themselves. That’s a very personal process so I’m not one to dictate what people should do,” Ramirez told mitú. “What I do understand from coming out publicly, certainly, why it’s important is that I’m normalizing something for people so they’re not so afraid of it themselves, maybe. The modeling of that could help somebody else have the courage to do that in the mirror for themselves and to represent black and brown bodies doing that are owning all of the intersectionalities that their lives touch on that can be equally oppressing.”

Ashley Summers

CREDIT: José Salvador Sanchez / mitú

“I am a Pulse survivor and it’s very important to me to make sure that we keep things visible and we keep people in the loop of what’s going on because right now there can be some trickiness into getting things to be properly viewed,” Summers told mitú. “I definitely want to be here for the people who can’t be here. There are a lot of people who don’t have the availability in the world.”

Paulina Montañez-Montes

CREDIT: José Salvador Sanchez / mitú

“I think that the Latinx community is sort of not as visible as a lot of other communities and identities. I try to be as open about being a Latina in all aspects of my life. I want to make sure that people recognize and see that we have a lot of narratives in our lives and we’re not all just one note kind of folks,” Montañez Montes told mitú. “Being everywhere where we’re not seen is important. So, just showing up and building communities with other folks like the Black Lives Matter community and make sure that we are with the Asian-Pacific Islander folks and those who are resisting together. Just showing up and seeing each other’s faces is really important.”

Jose Fevallos

CREDIT: José Salvador Sanchez / mitú

“I’m here to march for all of our rights as a gay man, as a Latino and as an immigrant. [I’m here] just to show to everybody that we are all the same under the same God,” Fevallos, an immigrant from Peru, told mitú. “We have different colors; we have different thoughts, but we all have the same rights: the right to fight for our love and the person that we decide to love and be with. It doesn’t matter if it’s a woman or a man. We just love and love is love.”

Victor Capellan

CREDIT: José Salvador Sanchez / mitú

“I’m visible here today as a queer Latino man because I think it’s important to be out and be visible and be something or someone that someone can look up to and be like, ‘That person is being authentically themselves,'” Capellan told mitú. “I know when I was going through my own personal journey, seeing people who were out made a difference to me, even though I wasn’t. It made me feel more comfortable so if I can be that beacon of hope for anyone else then that’s more than I can ask for.”

Sister PureHeart DarkSoul

CREDIT: José Salvador Sanchez / mitú

“Be who you are no matter what they say. No matter if anybody says that you are too big or too small, too this color or that color. It doesn’t matter. We’re all the same,” PureHeart DarkSoul told mitú.  We all bleed the same color red and it’s just stupid hate and we have to express ourselves and put it out there and ourselves out there as well as the world and the speech. Community. It’s not LGBTQ, it’s all of us. We’re humans. We come out the same way and we go out the same way. In between doesn’t matter. It’s what’s inside that counts.”

Estrella Sanchez

CREDIT: José Salvador Sanchez / mitú

“It’s important to clarify that pride has lost its values and the true meaning of pride. I am a very proud indigenous, trans Latina. I’m Mexican. Right now, pride is more about the money and not about doing the job that began at Stonewall. We have forgotten that we want and need justice,” Sanchez told mitú. “My sisters in the center of the fight are being criminalized simply for being undocumented immigrants and for being Latina and for being transgender and many of them, many of us, came to this country searching for safety and protection that our corrupt governments did not offer. But here, we have people talking openly about the diversity and inclusion needed for LGBTQ people.”

Cristela Solorio Ruiz

CREDIT: José Salvador Sanchez / mitú

“It’s kind of cliché but my existence is resistance There’s a sign out there that says, ‘I march for all those who can’t.’ Forty-nine people were killed last year, murdered in a club for celebrating who they are, who they love,” Solorio Ruiz told mitú. “I stand here with the ability to come and talk and to have the platform. For me, it’s really personal and it’s a lot of burden that I carry because of people in the past and who have paved the way for me to be vocal about certain things.”

Daniel Garzon

CREDIT: José Salvador Sanchez / mitú

“It’s important to recognize that not only do we speak different languages, that we need to be visible as Latinos. Sometimes we get discriminated against just because of the language that we speak or the color of our skin and that shows in every aspect of society,” Garzon told mitú. “So, it’s important that there be a presence of us here and no matter who we are, what skin color, I think it is important to be out and proud as an LGBTQ Latino.”

READ: Here’s Why An Undocumented Trans Latina Helped Create The LGBTQ Pride March Of Our Lifetime


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