Entertainment

The San Antonio Four Were A Set Of Wrongly Convicted Lesbians Who’d Been Accused Of Devil Worship In the 90s

In the ’90s, members of the LBGTQ community were finally starting to find some tolerance in mainstream culture. Most major cities around the world had a gay night scene and many small communities were being formed by lesbians and gay men. Unfortunately, LGBTQ people still encountered bigotry and homophobia regularly. From everyday altercations to murderous attacks, being gay in the ’90s was still dangerous.

That didn’t stop Elizabeth Ramirez from coming out and living her life as a gay woman. Although her hometown of San Antonio Texas was very conservative at the time, Ramirez was happily involved with her girlfriend, Kristie Mayhugh. The two were building a happy life together along with their close friends, Cassandra Rivera, and Anna Vasquez.

Unfortunately, devastating accusations would rock San Antonio and cost each women years of their freedom.

This is the story of the San Antonio Four and the horrible accusations and homophobia that led to their incarceration.

Twitter / @maurinanoe

The events that led to their imprisonment started innocently enough. The four women were staying together at the time. It was 1994 when they welcomed Ramirez’s young nieces into their home for a weeklong stay. After the visit, the girls’ father went to the police and reported a truly horrific story.

According to the father, Javier Limon, the girls had been sexually abused and tortured by the women. More than that, his accusations claimed they had been gang-raped in a Satanic ritual and “indoctrinated into a lesbian lifestyle.” The nieces were only 7 and 9 years old at the time.

The girls were interviewed several times and gave inconsistent statements with varying details. Physical examination found no major signs of sexual assault. However, prosecutors used child abuse specialist, Dr. Nancy Kellogg, to argue the opposite. In now-defunct testimony, Dr. Kellogg blamed common vaginal wear on abuse by the San Antonio women.

The San Antonio police department claimed that the women’s sexuality was not relevant to the investigation. Yet, their actions argue the opposite.

Twitter / @PopularLonerr

This case was during the Satanic Panic of the 1990s. The public was obsessed with news of Satanic rituals and cults during this time. Homosexuality was often linked to these reports of rituals and sex magic. It was also a common thought at the time that homosexuals were more likely to sexually harm children. Had the four women not been recently-outed lesbians, the police more than likely wouldn’t have pursued the complaints.

Likewise, had the women not been lesbians, the complaints probably never would’ve been made to begin with. Limon, the girls’ father, was romantically interested in Ramirez. The San Antonio man was her brother-in-law but he had expressed desire for her before. Notably, when she was just a teenager. Ramirez had rejected him before coming out. However, her happy relationship with Mayhugh probably encouraged Limon to retaliate against the women.

Sadly, the San Antonio Four were tried and found guilty. They each received between 15 to 37 years in prison for a crime that had no proof.

Twitter / @mercurymiya

It wasn’t until 2012 when any relief seemed likely for the jailed women. That year, one of Ramirez’s nieces recanted the allegations. Furthermore, she explained that her father, Limon, was to blame for the accusations. Her father, she said, threatened her and her sister as girls and continued the emotional abuse all their lives. This is what kept the San Antonio Four’s innocence a secret for so long.

In 2012, Vasquez was the first of the San Antonio Four to be released from prison. However, it was parole that released her, not her own innocence. It wouldn’t be until 2013 that the other three were released on bail while their guilt was reassessed. Later that same year, their sentences would be cut short and they would be declared innocent of all charges. The San Antonio Four were finally free.

Their struggle encouraged the documentary “Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four.” Now, you can stream the truth for yourself.

Twitter / @DaRealChrisCo

“Southwest of Salem” follows the redemption of the San Antonio Four. The documentary was released in 2016 but is now available to stream on both Hulu and Amazon Prime. It has a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 100% Fresh and is scored 7.1/10 on IMDd.com. The documentary also won a Peabody Award and won “Outstanding Documentary” at the 2017 GLAAD Media Awards.

“Southwest of Salem” clearly deals with difficult themes. However, it’s an important documentary to see — especially as more cases of police and prosecutor misconduct become uncovered. If we know of the atrocities that have happened in the past, we can stop them from ever happening again.

FIERCE LGBTQ Couples Are Sharing How They Met And It’s The Sweetest Thing

Fierce

FIERCE LGBTQ Couples Are Sharing How They Met And It’s The Sweetest Thing

Charles McQuillan / Getty

As we highlight Pride month, we wanted to share beautiful stories of LGBTQ+ love. To do so, we recently asked our FIERCE readers on Instagram to tell us how they met their partners and the results were not only hilarious but deeply inspiring.

Love is love and we love this kind of love.

Check it out!

The old slide in trick.

“I slid into the DMs.” – joanacanna

On their start to being ~educated latinas~

“My girlfriend and I met at the end of our first year of law school. She would say that I curved her for a few months before we became close. Almost three years later, we are both attorneys and looking forward to where life takes us.” – legalricanmujer

These two lovers who met while pushing for a joint interest

“We met in boot camp! 10 years ago (we’ve been together 2 /1/2 years, married 1 yr.” –hey_itsaj18

Chicas who started out on the same path and stuck together.

“We met in Nursing school we graduated together. That was 4 years ago, she’s a psychiatric nurse and I’m a geriatric nurse.” – m_a_r_i_a__j_o_h_a_n_n_a

They found love in a pandemic place.

Love in the time of Corona, thanks to Hinge!” – bienvenidarealidad__

Turns out the internet is the ultimate matchmaker.

“On the HER app. The same day she liked my profile she ended up coming into my job. I saw her but she didn’t see me. I ended up messaging her that night when I got off of work & we have been inseparable ever since. 3 years later and everyday I fall in love with her over & over again.” – _yourfavoritepoet_

And this is the most hilarious one of all.

“My wife @chulaworldand I were both seeing the same guy (total 🐶) …… so when we found out about each other we met up! And we have LITERALLY been inseparable ever since. Married on 4/20/19.” –bunuelitas

All Of The Documentaries Feminists Should Watch While In Quarantine

Entertainment

All Of The Documentaries Feminists Should Watch While In Quarantine

Netflix

Just because it might seem as if the world is on pause, it doesn’t mean that our efforts to learn more about it and better ourselves should be.

Documentaries alongside biographies can teach us so much about the world we live in and open our eyes to its complexities, even teaching us about the obstacles we did not know were right in front of us. As women of color, there are so many, and often times we use documentaries to learn about them, so we can better understand how to propel ourselves forward and continue to succeed. To make sure that you do too, we’re rounding up documentaries for you to learn, grow, and build hope from while in quarantine.

Check the documentaries we’re binging now that we’ve got the time below!

Becoming (2020)

Former First Lady Michelle Obama takes an intimate look at her life, relationships, and dreams in this documentary which sees her touring the country while promoting her book Becoming. The New York Times describes the film as showing “a familiar, albeit more carefree, former first lady.”

AKA Jane Roe (2020)

This documentary by Nick McSweeney highlights Norma McCorvey, the woman who made history as “Jane Roe” in the landmark 1973 Supreme Court case Roe vs. Wade. Beyond the shock value of the movie’s twist, which unearths the reasons why McCorvey ultimately turned her back on the movement that advocated for her right to choose, it tells a story about the ruthlessness of political agendas.

Abuelas: Grandmothers On A Mission (2013)

Three decades after Argentinean mothers created a movement demanding Argentinean officials to discover what happened with the sons and daughters who “disappeared” during Argentina’s Dirty War, the grandmothers continue their efforts in this documentary.

Chisholm ’72: Unbought & Unbossed (2004)

The historical documentary follows Brooklyn Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm during her campaign for the Democratic Party presidential nomination in 1972. It will serve as an impressive reminder of this Black woman’s might and the fight she managed to get us all passionate about.

Honeyland (2019)

This Oscar-nominated film is about a beekeeper in North Macedonia. Directed by Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov this documentary shows how the beekeeper’s life is affected when the ancient techniques she uses to farm bees are impacted by a new family who moves into the neighborhood and brings modern technology with them.

Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise (2016)

African- American poet Maya Angelou has her life depicted in the documentary that dives into her traumatic childhood and her life as a singer and dancer. The first feature documentary includes interviews with Oprah Winfrey, Hillary Clinton, and Common.

Knock Down The House (2019)

This documentary featuring Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the league of women who ran for Congress in 2018 including Cori Bush, Paula Jean Swearengin, and Amy Vilela made waves when it first debuted on Netflix. Just as it did for us, we imagine it will give you a whole heck of a lot of hope and pride in the woman who fight for our rights and country.