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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Someone Asked For Anya Taylor-Joy And Zendaya To Portray A Lesbian Couple And Twitter Said Yes

Entertainment

Someone Asked For Anya Taylor-Joy And Zendaya To Portray A Lesbian Couple And Twitter Said Yes

anyataylorjoy / zendaya / Instagram

Anya Taylor-Joy is definitely having a moment after the incredible success of “The Queen’s Gambit.” The Argentinian actress is on everyone’s mind after seeing her as a chess playing genius. Now, people want to see her and Zendaya as a lesbian couple in a period piece.

One tweet has sparked a fantastical conversation.

Author Tiffany Summer tweeted a fantasy project she would love to see: Zendaya and Anya Taylor Joy as lovers in a period piece. The photos that she uses are of the two at the 2018 Met Gala. That year’s theme “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” created some of the most iconic looks. The two women happened to come in outfits that could be from the same time period.

Some people are already trying to write this story to get it made.

The world seems to be ready for this story to become a thing. Queer representation is so needed right now. While there have been more queer stories told, people clearly want and need more lesbian stories out there. It is also something we have all seen from these two ladies.

Zendaya plays Rue in “Euphoria” and has even won an Emmy for her role in the HBO show. Rue is a queer teen and we have seen her relationship with Jules in the popular show.

Anya Taylor-Joy is fresh off of the success of Netflix’s “The Queen’s Gambit.” While her character, Beth Harmon, isn’t explicitly queer, there was a moment in the show. Beth spent a night with a French woman that she found attractive while in Paris for a tournament.

Basically, we have already seen these women play queer women and we want more.

There is a lot of interest in Taylor-Joy and Zendaya on their own. The two actresses are big names and their fan bases continue to grow. A mash-up of these two women would likely be a success.

Some people tweeted their discontent for the pairing of two more thin, femme lesbians in another period piece. The complaints include criticism that the tweet highlights non queer women to play queer roles.

Meanwhile, some people pointed out that this pairing could be the perfect way to do a live-action version of “Utena.”

“Revolutionary Girl Utena” is an anime show that aired in 1997. Utena is a tomboyish girl who demonstrates many masculine qualities, including impressive sword-wielding abilities. The entire time she is participating in a series of duels to win the hand of Anthy Himemiya, a.k.a. Rose Bride. Seems like a real fit, tbh.

READ: People Are Just Learning That Anya Taylor-Joy Is Latina And They Are Living For It

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This Digital Posada Is All About Helping The LGBTQ Migrant Community, Who Face A Uniquely Challenging Reality

Things That Matter

This Digital Posada Is All About Helping The LGBTQ Migrant Community, Who Face A Uniquely Challenging Reality

Spencer Platt / Getty Images

With homosexuality still illegal in more than 60 countries around the world and attitudes towards transgendered people often even less welcoming, it’s obvious why so many people risk their lives to migrate to the United States.

However, that journey to a better life is often one of many dangerous hurdles and often times, once swept up in immigration proceedings, things don’t get much better.

LGBTQ detainees across the country have shared harrowing experiences of being mocked or tortured for their gender identity or sexual orientation. Many others have been sexually assaulted while in ICE custody or while waiting for their asylum claims at the U.S.-Mexico border. And transgendered and HIV-positive detainees have both been denied medically necessary healthcare that has posed a risk to their lives.

LGBTQ migrants have the same issues and problems to worry about that all other migrants face, however, the LGBTQ experience comes with several extra hurdles.

LGBTQ migrants coming to the U.S. face unique challenges that often put them at increased risk of violence.

Credit: Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images / Getty Images

Like so many others, LGBTQ migrants are often fleeing violence and persecution in their native countries. But despite often fleeing sexual violence and trans- and homophobia, so many migrants are sexually assaulted while in U.S. custody.

While just 0.14 percent of ICE detainees self-identified as LGBTQ in 2017, they reportedly accounted for 12 percent of sexual abuse and assault victims.

Based on a new report from the Center for American Progress, a public policy research and advocacy organization, LGBTQ migrants in federal detention centers are 97 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than other detainees.

Studies show LGBTQ migrants are among the most vulnerable, more likely to be assaulted and killed, especially trans migrants. Of Central American LGBTQ migrants interviewed by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees in 2017, 88 percent were victims of sexual and gender-based violence in their countries of origin; two-thirds suffered similar attacks in Mexico.

Human rights group allege that ICE fails to provide proper medical care to LGBTQ migrants – particularly trans and HIV-positive detainees.

Migrant advocacy groups and several lawmakers have demanded that ICE release all LGBTQ detainees and anyone with HIV in the agency’s custody, because the government has repeatedly failed to provide adequate medical and mental health care to them.

“We know that lack of medical and mental-health care, including lack of HIV care, is the norm,” Roger Coggan, director of legal services at the Los Angeles LGBT Center, told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “By the Department of Homeland Security’s own count, 300 individuals identifying as transgender have been in custody and at the mercy of ICE since October of 2018.

For detainees with HIV, antiretroviral treatment is necessary to help kill and suppress the virus which ensures a healthy life but also reduces the risk of transmission to basically zero. Yet ICE is failing to provide this life-saving care.

Johana Medina Leon, a transgender woman who was detained at Otero and had tested positive for HIV, fell seriously ill and died at a hospital in nearby El Paso. Leon, 25, was the second trans woman to die in ICE custody in New Mexico in the past year. Roxsana Hernandez, 33, died in November 2018 after falling ill at the Cibola County Correctional Facility.

Meanwhile, Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy is presenting additional challenges to the LGBTQ community.

Credit: Spencer Platt / Getty Images

While the Trump administration has severely limited asylum qualifications for Central Americans fleeing gang violence and domestic abuse, migrants can still request asylum based on persecution because of their gender identity and/or their sexual orientation. But their path is far from easy.

The administration continues to return LGBTQ migrants to Mexican border cities where they face assaults, kidnappings and death while they await U.S. court hearings.

“Here, the same as at home, the police discriminate against us,” Alejandro Perez told NBC News in early October. “We’re very vulnerable. I don’t feel safe here in Mexico.”

Border Patrol officials initially said “vulnerable” asylum seekers would be exempted from the Remain in Mexico program, including those who are LGBTQ, pregnant or disabled. But that hasn’t been the case.

Thankfully, the LGBTQ Center Orange County is working hard to protect and help the most vulnerable.

Southern California is home to the nation’s largest undocumented community, which means organizations like the LGBTQ Center Orange County have their work cut out for them. However, the center has proudly stood up to help in powerful and life-changing ways.

The LGBTQ Center OC is one of the leading migrant outreach centers in the region, attending numerous events throughout the year and providing outreach at the Mexican consulate in Santa Ana – each year reaching more than 5,000 people. The center also played a pivotal role in ending the partnership of Santa Ana Police and the Orange County Sheriff with ICE, bringing an end to ICE detention within the county.

As those migrants were detained at facilities outside the county – sometimes more than two hours away – the center mobilized volunteers to help stay in touch with detainees. This team helps provide much needed companionship through letters and notes, as well as providing legal representation and even cash payments that help detainees get everything from a filling meal to in-person visits.

And the work the center does is so important because it shouldn’t just be on detainees to speak out. All of us as part of the LGBTQ and migrant communities should support those in detention and speak out about the injustices they’re suffering in detention.

The Center is hosting a digital posada and you’re invited!

We all know the tradition of a posada. So many of us grew up with a holiday season full of them and although this year will look very different (thanks to Covid-19), the LGBTQ Center OC wants to keep the tradition and celebration alive.

Posadas commemorate the journey of Mary and Joseph in search of a safe refuge, a sentiment that so many migrants and refugees in our communities can relate to. It’s with this spirit that the center is hosting it’s annual posada – but virtually.

The important event is free for all to attend but is a critical fundraising event that enables the center to do all that it does for the LGBTQ migrant community across Southern California. You can learn more and RSVP here but just know that it’s an event you do not want to miss.

Not only will you be able to virtually hang out with members of the community and leaders from the LGBTQ Center OC but there will also be a screening of the short documentary, Before & After Detention, a spirited round of lotería, raffle, and a live performance by the LGBTQ Mariachi Arcoíris de Los Angeles.

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