5 Latinas on Being Queer in Trump’s America and Their Concern for LGBTQ Rights

These days, it’s hard not to have politics on your mind

LGBTQ peace flag

Photo: Unsplash

These days, it’s hard not to have politics on your mind. Politico writer, Kevin Baker said it best. “Today, in the Age of Trump, all is politics.” That is especially the case for minority groups, who don’t exactly feel safe under this new administration.

For the LGBTQ community, the current political climate has in many ways removed protection and left them feeling vulnerable. We reached out to five Latinas who identify as queer and  expressed their concerns about living in Trump’s America and what they’re doing to fight it.

Full Name: Cynthia Jeanette Ruiz

5 Latinas on What It’s Like Being Queer in Trump’s America HipLatina

Photo: Courtesy of Cynthia Jeanette Ruiz

Resides: Denver, Colorado

Occupation: Staffing Coordinator

On her thoughts regarding the Trump administration’s approach to LGBTQ rights: “Being a queer Latina in Trump’s America means I alternate between feeling terrified, offended, alarmed, and disgusted. Trump chose the biggest threat to the LGBTQ community with his vice president [Mike Pence]. I really fear all progress is going to diminish. It’s only a matter of time.”

On the importance of not letting the administration affect gay pride: “Pride is rooted in oppression, least we forget. The only reason some of us queers have rights is because we have viciously and tirelessly fought for them. While I’m thankful I can now marry the woman I’m in love with, I won’t stop fighting for equality until my trans brothers and sisters are protected under the law too. We still have a long way to go. Celebrating pride is an affirmation of how far we have come as a community, and how far we still have to go until we are all protected.”

On standing as a united community to stir change. “History has shown that oppressors gain power by dividing us. Martin Niemoller’s famous quote explains it perfectly. ‘First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.’ That quote still catches me off guard, no matter how familiar I am with it. Its simplicity and its truth are what I find most jarring, as it’s a perfect representation of what Trump’s administration is doing on a large scale. First, they attacked Mexicans, then Muslims, then refugees, then women, and now LGBTQ folks. If we don’t stick together, they will defeat us, but together – we are unstoppable.”

Full name: Aria Acevedo

5 Latinas on What It’s Like Being Queer in Trump’s America HipLatina

Photo: Courtesy of Aria Acevedo

Resides: Massachusetts.

Occupation: College student and teaching assistant

On why it’s important to speak up for LGBTQ rights now more than ever: “I feel right now it’s easy to say LGBTQ are a thing of the past in the U.S., mostly because same-sex marriage was nationally legalized, but there is still a lot left to do, and so many lives, Trans WOC especially, [are] at risk every moment of each day and that needs to change. The face of the community has become so whitewashed and because of that, its easy to think the LGBTQ community is done fighting, but that won’t ever be true until we acknowledge queer POC are in more danger than their white counterparts, and we keep fighting for their safety in a time like this when its far too easy to sugarcoat the movement.”

On the importance of not letting the administration affect gay pride: “Pride is a celebration despite the hate. It’s meant to be a safe space and we have to continue allowing it to grow as a safe space for everyone in the community, no matter what.

On what we need to do as a community to stir change. “[We need to] loudly express and own our identities with pride and confidence. It sounds so subtle, but I think it could go a long way, by showing others we’re not afraid to be who we are. We’re not ashamed of who we are, and we love ourselves and each other, even when far too many folks in the country are against us.”

Full name: Nikki Paz

5 Latinas on What It’s Like Being Queer in Trump’s America HipLatina

Photo: Courtesy of Nikki Paz

Resides: NYC

Occupation: Artist

Her concerns regarding the Trump administration: “The Trump administration to me feels like some kind of dystopian cartoon. It frankly feels like a big joke, but unfortunately, it’s real. There’s been a real lack of acknowledgement of Pride month compared to other administrations, not to mention the blatant disregard of LGBTQ rights and lack of support for the fact that LGBTQ people in this country are humans, people, citizens, with rights. As a queer person and a Latina, I am openly “othered” in two big ways, which are based on who I am as a person and on two things that I couldn’t, and wouldn’t ever want to change. I’m afraid of my rights being taken away, my friends and family being deported, and hate crimes against me and my community. I’m afraid of not being able to legally and openly love who I love.”

On the importance of speaking out. “It’s more important now than ever before because we are more visible than ever. There’s no excuse to put your head down and not add your voice to those speaking up for our rights. I’m being as open and vocal as I possibly can about who I am, speaking up for my community, marching, calling my representatives, and starting conversations with friends, family, and strangers.”

On what we need to do as a community. “ We need to collectively stand up for ALL rights. Our diversity is what makes us so amazing. LGBTQ change needs to involve and include queer people of color, trans folks, non-binary people, etc. We are strong in our differences. We share the need to be ourselves, the right to love, and we need to stand as a united community for positive change for all. We can’t be afraid.”

Full name: Angie Martinez

5 Latinas on What It’s Like Being Queer in Trump’s America HipLatina

Photo: Courtesy of Angie Martinez

Resides: Indianpolis, Indiana

Occupation: Legal Assistant

On her thoughts regarding the Trump administration’s approach to LGBTQ rights: “I feel as if the federal government does not care about the LGBTQ community and it is terrifying. The administration’s consistent harmful rhetoric and discrimination against my communities is a constant reminder that this administration does not care about us queers or any minority really.”

On her fears and concerns: “I live in Indiana, where we dealt with the Mike Pence administration and the discrimination brought on by his administration. His religious freedom restoration act brought on a new wave of discrimination and economic panic to the [whole] state. After living through his administration and seeing the effects that still linger after he left and then seeing how the few protections that the LGBTQ communities have on a federal level are being slowly stripped away, it brings me to a state of panic. I work with the LGBTQ, immigrant, and Latin communities, and seeing how my clients, friends, family, and myself are under constant attack is more than hurtful. As an immigrant, as a woman, as a queer individual, my multiple identities feel as if they are under constant attack, whether by the administration or by the supporters of such.”

On what needs to be done. “I volunteer with organizations that are a part of the community at a local, state, national, and even international level, to voice concerns that we have. Most of the time, I mean about 95 percent of the time, I am the only POC in the room and about 85 percent of the time, the only woman/femme in the room and not only do I point that out, but I make them aware that we need to be more inclusive to others. If we are going to be supporting our LGBTQ communities and working for them, we need to be more open and welcoming of others. I think we need to understand that even though we are a community and that yes, we are all in this together, that we are also different. That in order to be a united community, we need to support other individual communities. We need to support the Black Lives Matter Movement as our queer Black family matters. We need to protect our Trans community, our immigrant queers, etc.

Full name: Ymijan Baftijari

5 Latinas on What It’s Like Being Queer in Trump’s America HipLatina

Photo: Courtesy of Ymijan Baftijari

Resides: Chicago

Occupation: Associate Editor at Vivala

On her thoughts regarding the Trump administration’s approach to LGBTQ rights: “The second Donald Trump selected Mike Pence as his VP pick, I knew that whatever safety and rights the LGBTQ [community] had would decrease – or completely be obliterated. In Pence’s 2000 congressional campaign speech he said, ‘Resources should be directed towards those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.’ No matter how much his spokespeople say that his words weren’t about conversion therapy … they were. Plus, he’s had a history of opposing same-sex marriage and opposes anti-discrimination laws that protect LGBTQ people. As for Trump, he didn’t even acknowledge June as Pride month and to me that’s erasure of a community. There is no approach to LGBTQ rights because according to Trump, we don’t exist in his world.”

On her concerns living in a Trump America. “Trump rescinded the rules on bathrooms for transgender students and that speaks volumes to how little he cares about the safety of transgender people. The violence surrounding the transgender community – especially trans POC – has increased and his action on this bill emboldens people to continuing attacking them. Because Trump’s supporters view him in a god-like manner, I fear that one day he will give a speech {or Tweet} about the LGBTQ community in such a vile, nasty manner that will drive people to push the government to get rid of the minimal rights we do have, as well as beginning a war against our people.”

On not letting the administration affect pride: “That is exactly what they want. They want us to feel tired, unmotivated, and helpless. We are such beautiful, strong, and inspiring people and to allow them to strip that away from us would be a shame. It’s okay to feel exhausted by the current political climate. It’s okay to get angry and frustrated. But it’s also okay to go out and celebrate life in our safe spaces. It’s okay to wave our pride flags. We can do it all and feel it all. We don’t have to eliminate one to experience the other. We’re here, we’re queer, and the Trump administration can’t tear that from our core being.”

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