Transgender Day of Visibility: 28 Trans Latinos You Probably Didn’t Know About
The transgender community is made up of millions of people who have bravely decided to live their truths and inspire others to live in freedom.
This Transgender Day of Visibility, we have decided to make the most comprehensive list possible of transgender Latinos who have changed the world.
This is a celebration of the bravery, courage, and authenticity of 28 people whose stories have moved the world to the right side of history.
Adela Hernandez has been one of the bravest transgender Latinas in history. In the 1980s, she spent two years in prison because her identity violated the island’s “public decency” laws.
In a country known for its violence against the LGBTQ+ community, Hernández is a hero. She is a Cuban politician elected to the Caibarién city council in November 2012.
Hernandez is the first transgender person elected to political office in Cuba.
Alejandra Bogue is a Mexican actress, television host, and vedette. After a career as an entertainer in the 1980s and 1990s, Bogue opened a David Bowie concert in Mexico City in 1997.
As a model, Bogue went on to pose for magazines such as Vogue and Elle, and in the 2000s, became the first transgender woman in Latin America to star in an entire television show.
Alejandra Ghersi Rodríguez, known professionally as Arca, is a Venezuelan musician and record producer. In 2012, Arca released her first EP and has since experimented with hip-hop, IDM, reggaeton, Avant-pop, and techno.
Arca has received production credits on releases such as Kanye West’s “Yeezus” (2013), “EP2” (2013), FKA Twigs’ “LP1” (2014), and Björk’s “Vulnicura” (2015), “Utopia” (2017). She has also collaborated on music by artists such as Kelela, The Weeknd, Frank Ocean, Planningtorock, Rosalia, and Sia.
Bamby Salcedo is a Mexican-American transgender activist and founder of the Los Angeles-based TransLatin@ Coalition. Since 2009, Salcedo has worked side-by-side with transgender Latinx immigrant leaders to organize and advocate for the needs of the community in the United States.
Carmen Carrera is one of the most well-known transgender Latinx in recent years. Carrera became a reality television personality after appearing on the third season of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Carrera is a model, burlesque performer, actress, and activist. In 2014, Carrera was included in The Advocate’s annual “40 under 40” list.
Daniela Vega conquered the United States after becoming the first transgender person in history to be a presenter at The Oscars ceremony in 2018.
Vega is a Chilean actress, and mezzo-soprano singer recognized for her acclaimed performance in the Oscar-winning film, “A Fantastic Woman” (2017).
In 2018, TIME magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
Diego Sanchez made history in 2013 by becoming the first openly transgender person to work as a senior legislative staffer on Capitol Hill.
Sanchez was a senior policy advisor to Congressman Barney Frank until the representative’s retirement in 2013. He also testified before Congress at the historic 2008 Transgender Discrimination Hearing and, that same year, was appointed as the first openly trans person to serve on the DNC Platform Committee.
Another transgender Latinx who has made history is Erica Andrews, a Mexican international beauty title winner, actress, entrepreneur, and activist.
Born in 1969 in Allende, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, Andrews immigrated to Laredo, Texas, and became a personality in the LGBTQ+ community. In addition to being a drag performer and beauty queen, Andrews was the first model for the “Faces of Life” photography project out of Dallas, Texas. It was a project by Jorge Rivas to raise awareness for HIV-positive people.
Felicia Garza has shown the world that it is never too late to transition. Garza succeeded for decades as Felipe Gil, a well-known figure in Mexican music. At 74, Garza decided to make her dream come true: to be a woman.
The daughter of great artists Eva Garza and Felipe “El Charro” Gil, a member of Los Panchos, Garza never felt secure with her identity.
In her youth, Garza practiced soccer and boxing and was even a black belt in karate. She became famous as Fabricio in the rock ‘n’ roll days. Her deep voice became a symbol in film, television, and theater throughout Latin America.
However, her most outstanding achievement was to become a symbol of freedom in old age.
Harmony Santana became known for her appearance in the film “Gun Hill Road” (2011), for which she earned an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Santana became the first openly transgender actress to be nominated for a major acting award in the United States.
Another transgender Latinx icon is Indya Moore, an American actress, and model.
Moore is best known for playing the role of Angel Evangelista on the FX television series, “Pose.” TIME magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2019.
Jacqueline Arizmendi, also known as “Libertad,” was the first famous Mexican transgender actress in mainstream television.
Arizmendi began her career in the 1980s before transitioning. She played the role of a villain in telenovelas such as “Rosa Salvaje,” “Juana Iris,” and “La Pícara Soñadora.”
He played the role of Bugambilia, a transvestite who helps a pimp prostitute naïve women, in the 2003 musical “Aventurera,” and had a breakthrough. Since then, she began her public transition to assuming the persona of “Libertad.”
Arizmendi is considered one of the most persecuted celebrities by the media. However, her transition took off a second chapter of her professional life, playing female roles.
Jennicet Gutierrez is another transgender Latinx who has dedicated herself to activism and the fight for equal rights. She is a transgender Latina organizer from Mexico who works to end the deportation, incarceration, and criminalization of immigrants.
La Bruja de Texcoco
La Bruja de Texcoco is one of Mexico’s most important musical exponents. La Bruja combines classical musical training with protest songs and traditional Mexican music.
Known as the “Wonder Woman of Vogue,” Leiomy Maldonado is an Afro-Portuguese dancer, instructor, model, activist, and transgender ballroom dancer.
Maldonado introduced a new, more athletic, and dramatic style of voguing when she entered the scene in the early 2000s in New York.
She was a member of the dance crew “Vogue Evolution,” which appeared on the fourth season of America’s Best Dance Crew. She has worked with artists such as Willow Smith, Icona Pop, and CocoRosie.
Liniker and the Caramelows
Liniker is a Brazilian singer-songwriter and former leader of the Brazilian soul and black music band Liniker e os Caramelows.
Liniker is an openly trans woman, and her music influences young Brazilians facing gender discrimination, an audience that “rarely finds itself represented in Brazilian music.”
Linn Da Quebrada
Linna Pereira is a Brazilian funk and pop actress, singer, and songwriter. She is also an activist for LGBT and black civil rights.
Another icon of the Trans Latinx community is Lorena Borjas.
Borjas was a Mexican-American transgender and immigrant rights activist known as the mother of the transgender Latinx community in Queens, New York.
Her work on behalf of the immigrant and transgender communities gained recognition throughout New York City and the United States. She lived in the Jackson Heights neighborhood of Queens for many years, where she was a community figure and leader.
Also known as Eme, Merian has changed the Peruvian music scene.
The interpreter of traditional music is a new voice in the genres of huaynos, waltzes, boleros, and the sound of the Andes.
Micha Cárdenas is an American visual and performance artist who is an assistant professor of art and design, specializing in game studies and playable media, at the University of California Santa Cruz.
Cárdenas is an artist and theorist who works with the algorithms and poetics of trans people of color in digital media.
Michaela Jaé ‘MJ’ Rodriguez
Formerly known as MJ Rodriguez, Michaela Jaé is one of the most important Latinx artists of the moment.
After making a name for herself in her role as Angel Dumott Schunard in the theatrical production of “Rent,” Rodriguez transitioned and returned to the stage in 2012.
In 2017, Rodriguez was cast in one of the lead roles on FX’s television series “Pose,” making her part of the largest cast of transgender actresses to star in series regulars on a scripted series.
Her portrayal of Blanca Evangelista made her the first transgender woman to earn an Emmy Award nomination in a major acting category.
Rodriguez was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her performance in the third and final season of “Pose,” and won the Golden Globe for Best Actress – Television Drama Series.
Pat Cordova-Goff was the first transgender student to play on a women’s varsity softball team.
Another transgender Latinx bringing representation to the discussion tables is Raffi Freedman-Gurspan.
Freedman-Gurspan is a Honduran American transgender rights activist and the first openly transgender person to work as a White House staffer.
She was also the first openly transgender legislative staffer to work in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.
Ruby Corado is a Salvadoran activist and founder of Casa Ruby, a bilingual, multicultural LGBTQ+ organization in Washington.
Sylvia Rivera was an American activist for gay liberation and transgender rights. Rivera was a prominent community activist in New York. In fact, some say she was the first to throw a rock at the Stonewall Inn protests.
With her friend Marsha P. Johnson, Rivera co-founded the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR), dedicated to helping drag Queen’s youth, gay youth, and homeless trans women.
Tamara Adrian is a Venezuelan politician elected deputy to the Venezuelan National Assembly in the 2015 parliamentary elections.
She is considered the first transgender person elected to office in Venezuela and only the second transgender member of a national legislature in the Western hemisphere.
Victoria Cruz is an American LGBTQ+ rights activist and retired domestic violence counselor. A contemporary of activists Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, she is featured in the 2017 documentary “The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson.”
Villano Antillano is a Puerto Rican rapper. She gained recognition in 2022 with the release of “Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 51” alongside producer Bizarrap.