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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Gloria Estefan Shares Her ‘Shocking’ Reaction To Her Daughter Coming Out

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Gloria Estefan Shares Her ‘Shocking’ Reaction To Her Daughter Coming Out

David M. Benett / Getty

The Estefans’ Red Table Talk is officially here and queer!

So get used to it!

The beloved Cuban singer and her family hosted their second episode of the Facebook Watch series Red Table Talk: The Estefans. Things got real real as she, her daughter Emily Estefan and niece Lili Estefan sat down for a raw and honest conversation about their lives and relationships.

In the second episode of ‘Red Table Talk: The Estefans‘ titled, “Emily’s Coming Out Story,” the family revealed that Gloria was shocked to learn that her “miracle baby” was queer.

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Speaking frankly, Gloria explained that her initial reaction to her daughter’s coming out was to dissuade her from telling her grandmother the truth. According to Gloria, she feared that her own mother would die from the news about Emily.

“I came out to my parents like in 2017. But as you’ll see on the show, I think they knew way before that,” Emily, who is 25-years-old Entertainment Weekly in an interview. “What I’m most excited about in this episode is the complexity of it all. I wouldn’t be doing anybody justice if I went up there and lied and said that it was easy or that there weren’t complex emotions involved, even though my mom has been such a fierce supporter of the LGBTQ community. Everybody has a perspective. And as human beings, we’re always trying to be understood instead of understanding. As you’ll see in the clip, it was difficult for me to hear that. No matter under any perspective, those words were difficult to hear.”

Sadly, Emily never had the chance to share this part of her identity with her grandmother, Gloria Fajardo.

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Fajardo passed away in 2017 before Emily had the chance to come out to her. It is unknown whether she knew of her sexual orientation before she passed away.

“That is one of my biggest unanswered questions that I will live the rest of my life with,” Emily explained “Many of the people around me that love me have told me they knew. But in my heart, my grandmother and I were so close but I’m really not sure. But that’s part of life too — you don’t get every answer that you want. I’m also learning that regrets are a waste of time. But I’m still on that journey. A few years ago, I would’ve never imagined that we’d be talking about this as I’m about to release an episode where I say things I’ve not even told family members of mine. I’m still growing and learning.”

In the latest episode of the Red Table Talk, Gloria explains that Emily became known as her “miracle baby” after she was conceived following a devastating tour bus accident in 1990.

At the time, Estefan’s doctors told her she would not be able to concieve more children. At the time, Gloria and her husband, Emilio Estefan, already had their son, Nayib Estefan. Nayib is 15 years older than his sister Emily.

In the latest interview, Emily talks about the pressures of having to live up to the concept of a “perfect daughter” that had been projected onto her by media outlets. She also addresses how she became the target of tabloid fodder in Spanish-language media after her relationship with Gemeny Hernandez was revealed.

“My parents would tell me all the time that we all have to earn respect, which I totally understand and fully agree with,” Emily explained of her experiences growing up in the spotlight. “Life is difficult and you don’t know what people’s intentions are all the time. When my dad started dating my mom, my grandma would slam the door in his face! My parents never exhibited anything extreme like that when it came to my relationships, but they would remind me what their courtship was like. I would let them know that we’re going through similar things, but in different colors. Life is about repetition and trying to pick up new things along the way. My grandma came from a time where she didn’t go on a date with my grandpa until they had their marriage certificate, and even then her mom was chaperoning them. They didn’t kiss until they were married.”

Emily revealed that she and her girlfriend Gemeny have been together for almost four years now and that she has been welcomed as part of the Estefan family.

“Family dynamics are hard, no matter what,” Emily went onto share. “Gem is one of those people who is like a mirror: She came into my life and showed me my truth. Sometimes that’s not beautiful, but that’s what love is. It’s not beauty or dates or romance all the time, but all of the things that come with love. I’m really young, but I feel that having her by my side has made me truly understand what a loving, adult relationship is like. That’s why it’s been so easy for me to fight this fight and speak my truth, because it’s all worth it. She helped me be brave. Now she has a relationship with my family which is the incredible part and can maybe be explored in season 2? Having her come to sit at the table and talk about those dynamics. Everybody loves each other, but as I said, love isn’t easy. And you know what it’s like being a part of a Latino family. The baby starts dating somebody, even if it’s Mickey Mouse, they still wouldn’t think he’s good enough!”

The second episode of the Estefan’s Red Table Talk, “Emily’s Coming Out Story,” debuted this past Wednesday, Oct. 14, at noon ET on Facebook Watch.

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Amy Coney Barrett Confirmation: A Road Map To What’s At Stake For Women’s Health And Gay Rights

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Amy Coney Barrett Confirmation: A Road Map To What’s At Stake For Women’s Health And Gay Rights

Photo by HILARY SWIFT/AFP via Getty Images

We are heading into day two of the confirmation hearings that will decide whether of not Amy Coney Barret will fill the vacant spot on the U.S. Supreme Court. The vacancy was left when Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away on September 18th.

The lead up to the hearings has been wrought with controversy, as it was Ginsburg’s dying wish that she wasn’t replaced until after the upcoming election. But President Trump and the rest of GOP hastily pushed through a nomination anyway.

Although Amy Coney Barret is a woman, the similarities between her and the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg mostly end there. After her nomination, media outlets quickly discovered that Amy Coney Barret holds extremely conservative personal views–ones that may affect her future rulings. Here is what is at stake is Amy Coney Barret is confirmed:

What is at stake: A woman’s access to a legal, safe abortion.

Barret holds notoriously conservative views on abortion, which she has previously stated was “always immoral“. In 2006, she signed an advertisement that called Roe v. Wade a “barbaric legacy”. When she was a federal judge, and ruled in favor of further restricting access to abortion rules. Namely, she advocated for a parent to be informed if their minor child wanted to have an abortion.

Some critics of her nomination argue that her extreme devotion to the Catholic faith make her biased against more progressive issues. What Democrats and Pro-Choice groups both fear is that Barret might side with overturning Roe v. Wade, thus stifling abortion rights on a national level.

What is at stake: Access to affordable healthcare for everyone–including those with pre-existing conditions.

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Considering the Affordable Care Act is on the dockets for Supreme Court review a week after election day, Americans who support the Affordable Care Act are worried that Barret will give conservatives the vote they need to cut the program.

Barret has dropped clues of her thoughts about healthcare in the past. In 2012, Barret signed a statement arguing that the Obamacare was “a grave violation of religious freedom and cannot stand.” She has also previously argued that Chief Justice John Roberts loosely interpreted the law in order to keep the ACA intact.

What is at stake: Laws protecting the LGBTQ+ community from discrimination.

During the ongoing confirmation hearing, Barret has already said that she “would never discriminate on the basis of sexual preference”. Critics quickly took issue with her word-choice, arguing that sexuality is not a “preference” but something one is born with.

Her record on LGBTQ+ issues isn’t exactly promising. In 2015, she signed a letter entitled “Letter to Synod Fathers from Catholic Women”. Part of the letter read: “We give witness that the Church’s teachings…on the meaning of human sexuality, the significance of sexual difference and the complementarity of men and women…and on marriage and family founded on the indissoluble commitment of a man and a woman provide a sure guide to the Christian life.”

She was also was a legal fellow at Alliance Defending Freedom–a group that notoriously opposes LGBTQ+ rights. She has since denied she knew of their homophobic stances.

Considering that a high profile case is on the docket that will decide whether churches can discriminate against gay, it is no wonder that gay rights activists are worried.

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