Things That Matter

The Story Told In This Poem About A Latin Boy Being Broken Down By Machismo Will Pull At Your Heart

This poet breaks down how machismo is toxic for very queer Latino out there.

Xavier “CoolKid” Grullon is not having it with the machismo culture that wants to prevent queer and emotionally open Latino men from existing as they are. The poet systematically breaks down why that kind of thinking and action can be so damaging. The use of that language can have long-lasting impacts on those that are being assaulted. Grullon doesn’t hold back as he screams and shakes and beats his chest while telling the story of a young boy growing up and being questioned about his sexuality all of his life.

“Crying is for the weak. Salty streams of wishes do not flow through these canals. They have dried up long ago by the temper that possess me,” Grullon says evoking strong emotions. “Too hot headed for his own good is a trait that every Latin boy inherits when he is born. From he moment of his birth it is whispered in his ears that Latin boys don’t cry. And the first time that he does, God will open up the sky and say, ‘How dare you. Vulnerability is not an ability that I blessed you with. There is no room for those tears. Suck it up, boy!’”

Grullon goes on to share what it looks like when everyone looks at the crying Latin boy and makes them feel unacceptable for being who they are. The poet masterfully challenges the idea that Latin men have to be tough, stoic, and emotionless. Grullon increases his tempo and his volume as the poem progresses almost as if conveying the confusion and chaos that exists within those Latin boys.


READ: This Latina Poet Just Owned What It Means to Love Your Accent

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As A Queer Latina, I Can’t Praise Showtime Enough For Their Representation In ‘The L Word: Generation Q’

Culture

As A Queer Latina, I Can’t Praise Showtime Enough For Their Representation In ‘The L Word: Generation Q’

The L Word / Showtime

The highly anticipated sequel to Showtime’s iconic lesbian drama series, “The L Word,” is moving far and beyond the Latina tropes and giving us two very different Latinas of different classes, wealth, and family support systems. And they’re in love. The original series was set in West Hollywood, California, a place as sexuality-diverse as it is accessible only to the wealthy, thereby excluding racial diversity. The sequel, however, is set in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles, a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood in East LA that has become the de facto capital of queer for a new generation of LGBTQ+ people. Bette Porter (Jennifer Beals) is running for mayor of Los Angeles, but is facing setbacks because of the queerness of her love life. Shane McCutcheon (Kat Moennig) has become a successful androgynous model, which hasn’t prevented relationship problems with her wife. Alice Pieszecki (Leisha Hailey) has become the new Ellen Degeneres, with a foundation set before her by the talk show host, Alice is able to offer a provocative talk show defined by feminism and queerness instead of just making people laugh. That very show becomes the grounds where we meet Generation Q. We meet two women who work together and are roommates and follow them back into their home to meet their roommates, girlfriends, and very hot property manager.

Instead of a Persian woman playing a Latina, “The L Word: Generation Q” has two main cast members who are Latina and are surrounded by their Latino family members who become the source of support or conflict in their relationship. Relatable already, no?

Dani Nuñez and Sophie Suarez are the central couple to
“Generation Q.”

CREDIT: @ARIENNE_MANDI / INSTAGRAM

Sure, Alice is starting up throuple’s with her girlfriend and her girlfriend’s ex-wife, but that drama feels far too out there to hit home. Dani and Sophie, however, offer a story we’re all familiar with, especially if you, too, are a queer Latina. Dani Nuñez (left) comes from a wealthy background. She is essentially the heiress to her father’s company, Nuñez, Inc, which deals in promoting opioids. In this alternate reality, the Nuñez’s are reflective of the Sackler family, which has faced harsh criticism as the face of the opioid crisis. America has turned to question crisis by questioning the insular morals of a singular family which has built an empire. “Generation Q’ re-envisions that moral conundrum by giving us Dani Nuñez, the Director of Communications of Nuñez, Inc., who begins to question her morals after Bette Porter asks her point-blank: “How do you sleep at night?”

Meanwhile, Sophie’s morals are perfectly aligned in her career as a producer for Alice’s feminist, queer talk show of the same name.

CREDIT: @80SBIANS / TWITTER

Sophie comes from a different class of Latinidad, which includes the perks of a tight-knit family unit. She exudes confidence while wearing a Wildfang coverall suit instead of an expensive business suit. Sophie enjoys the support of her family and knowing exactly who she is and what she wants out of life.

Meanwhile, Dani’s father’s homophobia becomes intolerable for Dani as the two take their relationship to the next level.

CREDIT: @LOGOTV / TWITTER

As a queer Latina literally named Dani with a homophobic father herself, I couldn’t feel more seen by how “Generation Q” portrays the psychological hardships that family homophobia can place on a relationship. Dani grew up with an implicit understanding that if her feelings didn’t fit into her family values, that the only way she could feel and process them was in isolation. That learned behavior trickles into her relationship with Sophie, and Sophie has a problem with it. Sophie’s family is constantly around, supporting them, and openly processing their feelings. There are no secrets.

“Generation Q” illustrates the nuances in how the child of a homophobic parent learns to navigate life and how it has much larger effects on their personal relationships. 

CREDIT: @SHO_THELWORD / TWITTER

So far, the show hasn’t just given us an Afro-Latina and a brown Latina. It’s given us a range of family dynamics that feel so familiar to so many of us. Whether you have Sophie’s family, who’s constantly bringing over tin-foil wrapped homemade food, even on a tour of a ritzy wedding venue, or Dani’s family, who, in order to please them, you have to compromise too much of your self. 

You can stream Showtime’s “The L Word: Generation Q” on Sundays.

READ: ‘The L Word: Generation Q’ Trailer Is Here And There Are Latinas Playing Latinas

The New ‘Saved by the Bell’ Reboot Announced That It Has Cast Trans Actress Josie Totah

Entertainment

The New ‘Saved by the Bell’ Reboot Announced That It Has Cast Trans Actress Josie Totah

Netflix

School at Bayside High is back in session! This time, the role of the most popular kid in school won’t be the infamous blonde-headed boy heartthrob Zack Morris. Instead, the role of the kid to rule the school is being taken on by Josie Totah.

The 18-year-old American actress is set to play Lexi on NBC’s reboot of “Saved By the Bell.”

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According to Deadline, Totah is signed to join the original series cast members, including Elizabeth Berkley and Mario Lopez, in the NBC Universal’s streaming platform Peacock. A statement by Deadline says that “Totah will play Lexi, a beautiful, sharp-tongued cheerleader and the most popular girl at Bayside High who is both admired and feared by her fellow students.”

According to reports, th new series, which acts as more of a sequel than a reboot, is set to follow Zack Morris as a California Gov. who comes under fire after closing too many low-income schools. To remedy the situation he sends displaced students to higher-performing schools including Bayside High.

Totah’s casting role is big news and history in the making because of it what it means for the trans community. 

Totah first gained attention as an actor when she started in the short-lived Mindy Kaling series “Champions.” AT the time, Totah had not come out as trans. She ultimately did so in an essay for Time Magazine writing “When I was really young, growing up in a small town in Northern California, people would just assume I was gay. On the playground, I was the type of kid who wanted to sing with the girls, not play soccer with the boys. Then I found myself playing that role once I got into the entertainment industry, and people kept assuming my identity. Numerous reporters have asked me in interviews how it feels to be a young gay man. I was even introduced that way before receiving an award from an LGBTQ+ rights organization. I understand that they didn’t really know better. I almost felt like I owed it to everybody to be that gay boy. But that has never been the way I think of myself.”

Totah went onto say that she planed on going off to college and continuing her acting career saying “I plan to play roles I haven’t had the opportunity to play. And I can only imagine how much more fun it’s going to be to play someone who shares my identity, rather than having to contort myself to play a boy. I’m going to gun for those roles, be it a transgender female or a cisgender female. Because it’s a clean slate — and a new world.”

Strangely, Totah is set to star along Mario Lopez, who was criticized late last year for anti-transgender comments in June.

Speaking in an interview on the “The Candace Owens Show” Lopez said that it was “dangerous” for parents of children as young as three years old to permanently label their kids as transgender.“I’m kind of blown away, too,” Lopez said in the interview with Owens. “I’m never one to tell anyone how to parent their kids, obviously, and I think if you come from a place of love, you really can’t go wrong, but at the same time, my God, if you’re 3 years old and you’re saying you’re feeling a certain way or you think you’re a boy or a girl or whatever the case may be, I just think it’s dangerous as a parent to make that determination.”

Following the backlash, the actorapologized in a statement sent to The Advocate. “The comments I made were ignorant and insensitive, and I now have a deeper understanding of how hurtful they were,” he told the outlet at the time. 

Lopez took a day off of work from “Extra” following the backlashed he received even after his public apology and returned to work later that week. At the time, producers over at “Extra,” where Lopez acts currently as a host, did release a statement that same week saying: “While we have enjoyed a long relationship with Mario Lopez, who we know to be a caring person, the opinions he expressed in this interview do not reflect those of Extra. We wholeheartedly embrace our friends from the LGBTQ community and believe they need support and love.”

GLAAD, a non-profit media monitoring organization founded by LGBT people, also weighed in on Lopez’s comments and the repercussions they have. The organization says that experts have long previously discredited Lopez’s claims. 

“Medical and psychological experts and parents of children who are transgender have long discredited the ideas that @MarioLopezExtra shared. The real dangerous action is when someone with a public platform uses bad science to speak against a vulnerable group of children.”

Here’s hoping Lopez behaves appropriately on set while working with his new co-star.