With all of its glitter, rainbow glory, dazzling processions, and eye candy, gay pride month has made yet another June that much better. Last year, we saw the addition of black and brown stripes to the iconic rainbow flag, which stemmed from a call for more intersectionality in the LGBTQ community. That doesn’t mean that the flag’s makeover came without controversy. If you’re skeptical of changes like this, you might want to think about these Latinx luminaries who have paved the way for you to party at the parade.
While you might know her for her catchy songwriting that got the party started with Pink back in 2001, you may not realize that this Massachusetts native of Brazilian descent is also an activist at the forefront of LGBTQ rights. Going back to her rock & roll roots, she has held many benefit concerts in support of gay rights. One of her favorite organizations is the LA Gay & Lesbian Center, which provides support, resources, and shelter for homeless LGBTQ teens.
Director of Programs at the Transgender Law Center, Noyola is fighting for a voice for Trans Latinas within the LGBTQ community, and the U.S. as a whole. She provides legal assistance for transgender women in ICE custody and is working to stop violence experienced by trans women of color. By giving Trans Latinas a voice (think, a stripe on the flag), she believes that the LGBTQ community can better unite in fighting for equal rights for all.
Best known for her queer Latinx coming of age tale, Juliet Takes a Breath, Rivera was hired by Marvel Comics to write the story of their first queer Latina superhero, America Chavez. A self-described Latinx geek and goofy brown girl, Rivera is helping others like her to come out of their shell and the closet.
Herrera created the Translatinx Network in 2007, as a place for Trans Latinxs to come together, find support resources, and become empowered to play a bigger role in the LGBTQ community. Also at the Lesbian, Gay Bisexual & Transgender Community Center in New York, Herrera has worked tirelessly on community outreach programs to reduce the spread of HIV.
A champion for civil rights, Rivera has been referred to as the Rosa Parks of the transgender movement. She participated in the original Stonewall Riots in 1969, and founded both the Gay Liberation Front, and Gay Activists Alliance. While she was a staunch defender of Latinx drag culture, gay youth, and civil rights for the Latinx population at large, the intersection of Rivera’s Latinx and trans identities went largely ignored until after her death in 2002. Since then, the Sylvia Rivera Law Project was founded to guarantee everyone the right to self-determine gender identity and expression.
Born in Chicago of Puerto Rican descent, Troche has worked to give the Latinx lesbians a voice on both the big and small screens. Her all-female romance flick, Go Fish, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 1994. She made her TV debut in 2004, writing and producing for Showtime’s hit series The L Word.
Mexicana Bamby Salcedo is a transgender activist, speaker, and the founder of the TransLatin@ Coalition, an organization by Trans Latin@ immigrant leaders, for Trans Latin@ immigrants living in the U.S. Salcedo was also the subject and narrator of the 2013 documentary film, TransVisible: Bamby Salcedo’s Story. The film won Best Documentary at the 2014 Long Beach Film Festival.
Chilean actress and mezzo-soprano singer Daniela Vega made history when, this year, she became the first openly transgender person to present an award at the Oscars. The film Vega starred in, A Fantastic Woman, was nominated for, and won, Best Foreign Language Film at the same Academy Awards ceremony.
Duran was the first Latina lesbian to serve on the board of the Human Rights Campaign and also worked on the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) during the Clinton administration. Along with her partner, Catherine Pino, Ingrid co-created D&P Creative Strategies, the Familia es Familia campaign, and executive produced shows including The Latino List (1 and 2) and The Out List.