Things That Matter

Victoria Cruz Sees Hope For The Future Of LGBTQ+ Rights 50 Years After She Witnessed The Stonewall Riots

The history of Gay Rights in the country date back to the late ’60s and the epicenter was Manhattan. The core fighters of the LGBTQ community include Marsha P. Johnson, Scott G. Brown, Sylvia Rivera, and a slew of other pioneers. The sad thing is this generation has passed or will very soon, which is why we have to honor their legacy while they’re still alive. One of those people is an inspiring person in our Latinx community.

Victoria Cruz, who is in her 70s, is a survivor of the Stonewall Riots and is still very much a part of the fight for LGBTQ rights.

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Cruz, who was born in Puerto Rico, is one of 11 children that grew up in New York. While Cruz was born a male, she knew since she was in high school that she was a woman. Back in the ’60s, that was no easy thing to admit, yet her Puerto Rican family supported her transition.

While her family and close community were supportive, Cruz faced immense hardships including harassment from the police, and later in the ’90s, she was assaulted.

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Four of her coworkers physically assaulted her, which left her in ruins.

“I was very angry. Very angry,” Cruz said in an interview with Vanity Fair in 2017. “The worst part of it is that I couldn’t feel the ground beneath me, and added that she was “was contemplating suicide,” at the time.

But she overcame that tough time and is recognized as a leader in the movement for Gay Rights.

Yet, despite the hate and violence she faced, Cruz pushed on standing up for her LGBTQ+ family.

“I used to go to St. Vincent’s on my lunch hour…and I would see her,” Cruz told The Advocate. “She called to me, ‘Victoria, come here.’ And she always called me Dickie, you know, so when she said, ‘Victoria come here,’ I knew that she meant business. I sat down, and she looked at me. She said, ‘Try to keep the community together because we are our own worst enemy. And there’s power in numbers.’ And then she said, ‘The world will come up to try to divide us, and when you divide a community, you conquer it. So try to keep the community together.’”

As a trans woman and pioneer of the LGBTQ movement, Cruz said positive change is happening right now.

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“I’m optimistic, and I’m hopeful that it will change for the better,” she told The Advocate. “There’s power in numbers. If we unite and keep united, we can make the future different, and what we want it to be. By galvanizing one another, we galvanize each other. And with the same frame of mind, the same frame of thought, we can change what’s happening.”

Trans rights are the new frontier in the LGBTQ+ movement. Despite the contributions made to the movement by trans women of color, cis members of the LGBTQ+ community ignore their plight or add to the harassment.

“There is so much hatred directed toward queer people, particularly transgender women of color. For what? Why? I think it may be about people’s own insecurities about their own identities and sexualities. And further, people don’t know their history,” Cruz told BC/Stories. “The transgender experience isn’t new. It’s as old as the human experience, and anyone who does their research would know this. I think society needs to be educated, and maybe after being educated, empathy will follow.”

READ: Zuri Moreno Made Sure The Trans Community In Montana Remained Safe

Here’s What My White Husband Has Learned About The Latino Culture One Day At A Time

relationships

Here’s What My White Husband Has Learned About The Latino Culture One Day At A Time

My husband and I have been married for a little over three years now and he is still learning so much about myself and what it means to be Latino. I’m not talking about me having a big Cuban family all stationed in Miami (3-0-5 🙌🏽) or the fact that the best jokes in Netflix’s “One Day At A Time” are in Spanish. I’m talking about the little things that to me have always been a normal part of life. This is what has continuously caught him off guard…

If you ask him, I’m already turning into my abuela because of the things he is finding out, which to me is a compliment. Here are just a few of the things that he is starting to understand about our future together.

1. Seasoning your beans is hard AF but abuela makes it look easy.

CREDIT: gifnik.com

No matter how many times I try or how many techniques I use, my bean always turn out bland AF. This wouldn’t have been a problem if he didn’t have my abuela’s frijoles negro because now he has a reference point as to what beans are supposed to taste like. Though, he doesn’t cook so my bland beans will have to do.

2. That whole personal space thing is a white construct.

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I missed my hot mess buddy!

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One of the first things he realized about being married to a Latino is that all that personal space he once had is gone. I even go into the bathroom to talk to him when he’s in the shower because that’s 👏🏾 how 👏🏾 I 👏🏾 was 👏🏾 raised. 👏🏾

3. Family obligations cannot and will not be avoided.

Even if it means that you have to spend $800 to travel 3,000 miles back home for a weekend for your nephew’s first birthday, there is no getting out of family events. #BasedOnTrueEvents

4. My family raised me to be super eco-friendly (and very frugal).

The first time my husband saw me washing a Ziploc bag he asked if we had run out and that he could get some from the store. My response: “But, like, why do you want to waste money like that?”

5. Selena was and will always be La Reina.

CREDIT: anything-for-selenaaas / Tumblr

I know. I know. How did he not know this before is what you’re thinking, right? But you can’t hold it against him. I don’t think Selena had a very big following in West Virginia. There was no way he could have known that she is more relevant now than ever. Not to mention that she still wins Latin Billboard awards and I play her music nonstop.

6. My abuela’s obsession with reusing containers has been passed down.

After he came down from the initial shock of thinking that I left the sour cream in the Tupperware cabinet overnight, he made a joke about me becoming my abuela. I’ve never been so proud.

7. Calling a loved one “gordo” is not offensive.

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@f_uanteik #migordo #iloveyou #happiness #happynights

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Because, you know, someone calling you “my little fatty” is not okay. Imagine his shock when he heard a family member call me “gordito” in front of him. He was shook.

8. Every chore I do is just an excuse to put on Celia Cruz and dance.

CREDIT: mitú

Sure, I can cook in silence but nothing makes my time in the kitchen more enjoyable than some “La Negra Tiene Tumbao” or “La Vida Es Un Carnaval” blaring in the background. Plus, he is starting to learn some of her greatest hits.

9. Seventy-five percent of Latino cooking is just making that sabor.

To quote my husband: “Oh. So ropa vieja is like making pot roast then you make the flavor (sofrito). Yeah. White people are too lazy to make all that flavor.”

10. Being extra and loud is just in our blood.

I still have that trophy on our desk in the living room and he has mentioned moving it a couple times. Then I stubbed my toe, fall to the floor in tears, and he remembers why it is so prominently displayed.

11. Hot Cheetos are life.

He didn’t know they were so versatile but he’s not upset that we get to eat them all the time.

READ: 14 Things That Happen When A Gringo Marries Into A Latino Family

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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.