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

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JK Rowling Comes Out Of The Wood Work Again To Dig In Her Heels About Her Irrelevant Take On Trans Identity

Entertainment

JK Rowling Comes Out Of The Wood Work Again To Dig In Her Heels About Her Irrelevant Take On Trans Identity

Chip Somodevilla / Getty

JK Rowling might have written pages upon pages about education and lessons learned but she’s clearly not a quick study. Or at least taking her own advice.

The multi-millionaire author behind the beloved Harry Potter series earned the ire of fans earlier this year after speaking out against the trans community and underlining her own transphobia. Still, despite an onslaught of criticism and backlash, she’s decided to speak out once again. In a recent interview with Good Housekeeping magazine, Rowling underlined her opinions once again about the trans community.

Speaking to the magazine for its January issue, Rowling conflated cancel culture and a lack of tolerance for hate.

In the interview with Good Housekeeping, Rowling spoke of a “climate of fear” around conversations about transgender identity. Particularly when it comes to what Rowling described as “a more nuanced conversation” concerning the “huge increase” in the number of people seeking to transition.

“I’ve had a huge postbag since speaking up on this issue and more than 90 per cent of the letters and emails have been supportive,” Rowling claimed. “My correspondence have included medical staff, social workers, prison workers, workers in women’s refuges, and members of the LGBT community, including trans people.”

If Rowling’s claim causes your brow to raise it should. Particularly because detransition, or a reversal of a transgender identification or gender transition, has been shown to be more common in the earlier stages of a person’s transition, particularly before surgeries. Moreover, research analysis conducted from 2016 and 2017 found that of 3,398 trans patients who had appointments at an NHS Gender Identity Service less than one percent said that they had experienced “transitioned-related regret, or had detransitioned.”

In June, J.K. Rowling, the author who taught us as young readers the importance of love, light, and acceptance with her Harry Potter series stomped out all of the magic like a troll bursting into a dungeon. That’s right, in the midst of a pandemic and worldwide protests for racial justice, J.K. Rowling decided to use her global platform to tout her transphobic views to the 14.5 million Twitter users who follow her.

The writer has made various problematic comments about trans people in the past and her latest sound-off is confirmation that this whole time the author has been Dolores Umbridge in sheep’s clothing.

Just when you thought she couldn’t get worse, Rowling apparently decided to create a Horcrux and put a part of her soul in her newest novel: “Troubled Blood.”

In recent years, Rowling has soiled her reputation as one of the most beloved authors of all time by hawking negative views of trans people. In her latest book, she keeps it up.

Troubled Blood is Rowling’s fifth and latest book in her Cormoran Strike mystery series which she writes under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. Non surprisingly it debuted on selves on September 15 to incensed reviews. According to a review published in the Telegraph, the book follows the disappearance of a woman who is believed to be a victim of “a transvestite serial killer.” The review underlines that the moral of the book is “never trust a man in a dress.”

Soon after the Telegraph’s review was published a Twitter storm attached to the hashtag #RIPJKRowling began. One user tweeted that Rowling had employed “deeply harmful tropes about our community. But she doesn’t care — this is deliberate. It’s gross.”

Daniel Radcliffe, the face behind the titular characters in the Harry Potter films, has stepped up in the past as the Chosen One in a fight against the currently canceled author who built his career.

Fortunately, Radcliffe joined his fellow Dumbledore’s Army alums Katie Leung (Cho Chang) and Noma Dumezweni (Hermione Granger in The Cursed Child) in speaking out against Rowling’s recent transphobic comments and showing solidarity with the trans community.

In June Rowling’s name became trending on Twitter after she mocked a headline about “people who menstruate.”

The author posted an article about creating equality for “people who menstruate” amidst the coronavirus pandemic. The article, which was posted by Devex, had a headline that read “Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate.”

Addressing the article, Rowling tweeted “‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”

Users on Twitter were quick to slam Rowling for her ignorant tweet highlighting how her words were harmful to trans men and women but also to cisgender women who do not menstruate. As a reminder, not all cisgender women have periods: some have hysterectomies, in old age, we also go through menopause.

In response to her comments, Radcliff underlined in a letter for The Trevor Project that he wanted to speak out because of his work for the trans community.

Speaking about trans women Radcliff wrote, “Transgender women are women. Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional health care associations who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo or I. According to The Trevor Project, 78% of transgender and nonbinary youth reported being the subject of discrimination due to their gender identity. It’s clear that we need to do more to support transgender and nonbinary people, not invalidate their identities, and not cause further harm.”

Radcliffe isn’t the only one who has spoken out against Rowling’s harmful words. Eddie Redmayne, the lead actor in the “Fantastic Beasts” franchise, also spoke out against J.K. Rowling’s anti-trans tweets.

“Respect for transgender people remains a cultural imperative, and over the years I have been trying to constantly educate myself,” Redmayne said in a statement to Variety. “This is an ongoing process… As someone who has worked with both J.K. Rowling and members of the trans community, I wanted to make it absolutely clear where I stand. I disagree with Jo’s comments. Trans women are women, trans men are men and non-binary identities are valid. I would never want to speak on behalf of the community but I do know that my dear transgender friends and colleagues are tired of this constant questioning of their identities, which all too often results in violence and abuse. They simply want to live their lives peacefully, and it’s time to let them do so.”

In a tweet posted to her account, Dumezweni shared a tweet listing a series of prominent transgender women.

No doubt, Rowling’s words proved to be extremely upsetting for fans of Rowling who found her stories to be a light in their darkness.

“I decided not to kill myself because I wanted to know how Harry’s story ended,” one user wrote. “For a long time, that was all that kept me alive. Until I met my husband who helped me learn to love myself and to want to live. You just insulted him to my face. I hate you.”

Many were quick to slam Rowling, letting her know that her message of exclusionary language makes the lives of trans people more difficult.

“You have power and influence. Why would you do this? What does it achieve?” Singer-songwriter Mary Lambert tweeted. “Do you feel like more of a woman when you punch down? Are you threatened? Some trans men menstruate. Why does that affect you? Why do you want to police that?”

GLAAD also condemned Rowling’s comments and “for targeting trans people”

“JK Rowling continues to align herself with an ideology which willfully distorts facts about gender identity and people who are trans,” the organization wrote. In 2020, there is no excuse for targeting trans people.”

No surprise, Rowling’s response to critics was just about as pathetic as any apology from her would be at this point. In a subsequent Twitter thread, she wrote that “erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives.”

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This Virtual Posada Aims To Help The LGBTQ Migrant Community And They Need Your Help

Things That Matter

This Virtual Posada Aims To Help The LGBTQ Migrant Community And They Need Your Help

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For many Latinos, the word posada, evokes holiday celebrations surrounded by family and friends, singing, enjoying a warm meal (of tamales and ponche, of course), and spreading holiday cheer all around. Obviously, this year’s posadas will look very different but it’s more important than ever that we continue with traditions.

Posadas are steeped in the history of Mary and Joseph’s quest for safe refuge where the Virgin Mary could safely give birth to Jesus in Bethlehem. Given our current government’s cruel and anti-immigrant policies and rhetoric, the story of Mary & Joseph rings true with many people hoping to find a safer, better home in the United States. This is especially true for LGBTQ migrants who face unique challenges in both their journeys to the U.S. and their asylum experience.

Enter the LGBTQ Center Orange County. The center has proudly stood up to help the community in powerful and life-changing ways and their annual Queer Posada is one of the most important.

The LGBTQ community faces unique challenges in their quest for asylum and settlement in the U.S.

Credit: Lino de Jesús Herrera / Getty Images

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.

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.

And 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.

Meet JB, who was detained at Adelanto Detention Center and relied on the help of the LGBTQ Center Orange County.

JB, who identifies as a transgender man, was a detainee at Adelanto Detention Center. While in custody he was denied access to his hormone therapies which had negative effects on both his physical and mental health.

JB credits the LGBTQ Center Orange County with saving his life. The Center was a consistent advocate for JB and helped provide much-needed cash and weekly visits.

You can hear more stories from LGBTQ migrants who have been helped by the LGBTQ Center Orange County’s countless programs by following our Snapchat account, which will feature more important voices.

The LGBTQ Center Orange County offers so many important programs that help migrants out in extraordinary ways.

So often, LGBTQ migrants make the journey to the U.S. alone and, therefore, don’t have the family support (neither financial or emotional) that’s so important. But that’s where the LGBTQ Center Orange County comes in to help fill that void.

Volunteers and employees of The Center do so much for the community: from attending numerous events throughout the year to educate and provide much-needed resources or sending $20 to a detainee so they can have a filling meal, to helping advocate for the end of the partnership between Santa Ana Police and the Orange County Sheriff with ICE, to providing weekly citizenship classes to those who need them.

The LGBTQ Center Orange County has also been a leader in assisting eligible residents with their DACA applications, which is a cause close to the hearts of Luis Gomez and Jonatan Gutierrez – both DACA recipients who work with the LGBTQ Center Orange County.

And now it’s our turn to give back at the LGBTQ Center Orange County’s posada.

Obviously, this year’s posada tradition looks very different but the LGBTQ Center Orange County is working to keep the tradition alive by taking it online and making it free for all to attend. However, it is a critical fundraising event that enables the center to do all that it does for the LGBTQ migrant community across Southern California. 

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.

Donations from the Queer Posada will go toward the center’s LGBTQ Immigrant Fund. The unrestricted funds meet multiple needs from bonds, commissary funds, airline tickets to immigration filing fees. The center has also distributed checks to LGBTQ community members who have been severely impacted by COVID-19. You can get more information and RSVP for this free, virtual event here.

Plus it’s going to be a fun and free event that you won’t 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 spirited round of lotería, a raffle, and a live performance by the LGBTQ Mariachi Arcoíris de Los Angeles.

During the Queer Posada, their will also be an exclusive screening of the nearly 15-minute Before and After Detention documentary, followed by a Q&A with the director Armando Ibañez. The film follows three trans women who were released from detention centers. Angela, Fernanda and Gladys live in Los Angeles, while their asylum status is pending. In the documentary, they talk about their lives in their home countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico and being detained in the U.S.

The LGBTQ Center Orange County’s Queer Posada is taking place this Saturday, December 12 at 6 p.m. on Zoom, and is an important event for both the LGBTQ and migrant communities, one that you do not want to miss!

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