We have been celebrating LGBTQ communities all month long but within this community we like to put a focus on the amazing people who celebrate their Latinx culture and fight for LGBTQ rights all year long. Within this community there are people who have spoken out on behalf of their peers and fought for equality and justice such as Jennecit Gutierrez, who stood up to President Obama when she interrupted his speech by demanding he put an end to deportation of LGBT immigrants. While this list is hardly exhaustive, we’ve rounded up eight Latinx LGBTQ activists who represent their communities and open doors for LGBTQIA people of color.
Louie A. Ortiz-Fonseca
Louie A. Ortiz-Fonseca is the director of LGBTQ Health and Rights at Advocates for Youth. He works to strengthen the capacity of community-based organizations throughout the country by working with LGBTQ youth. He focuses on the education of HIV prevention and fights for queer and racial justice through his YouTube series, Kikis with Louie. The series features conversations with activists, LGBTQ youth and celebrities and was created in collaboration with Advocates For Youth. He is also the creator of Gran Varones – a digital project that shines light on queer pop-culture history and community storytelling.
Jennicet Gutiérrez is a transgender Latinx from Tuxpan, Jalisco, Mexico who works as a community organizer and advocate for Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement, an organization committed to liberating trans, queer, and gender conforming Latinos. Gutiérrez organizes communities in order to end deportation, incarceration, and criminalization of immigrants and all people of color. In 2015, she interrupted President Obama during one of his speeches demanding to end deportation of LGBT immigrants. “I spoke up because our issues and struggles can no longer be ignored,” she said on her Instagram.
Bamby Salcedo is a transgender Latinx woman and CEO of [email protected] Coalition, a national organization that addresses Latinx transgender issues within the United States. She also created the Center for Violence Prevention and Transgender Wellness which is a multi-service space for trans people in Los Angeles. Salcedo has an extensive resume and in 2016 she was invited to participate in several panels at the White House where she shared a stage with Vice President Biden at The United States of Woman event. On her Instagram she says, “I will always use my Trans Latin Power to ensure that all peoples get dignity and equity in our society.”
Annie Segarra is a Youtuber and activist for the LGBT community and people with disabilities. She is a Latinx queer who was born with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), a genetic tissue disorder that affects joints, skin, and symptoms include overly flexible joints. Segarra told In The Know, “creating visibility, and essentially normalizing [things like mobility aids] gets to speak to two very different groups of people – people who are just totally absent from these experiences, and people who have these experiences, but might feel really isolated in them.” Because of this, she created her own hashtag and advocacy campaign called “The Future Is Accessible.”
Julio Salgado is the co-founder of DreamersAdrift a Youtube channel telling undocumented stories and the manager for The Center for Cultural Power. He is an undocumented, queer activist and artist who is inspired by the DREAM ACT and the migrant rights movement. His artwork speaks to individuals all across the United States and is displayed at the Oakland Museum and the Smithsonian.
Trans activist Isa Noyola is the deputy director at Mijente, a political hub created to organize and build movement among Latinos. She was formerly the deputy director of the Transgender Law Center and in 2015 she organized the first national trans anti-violence protest with more than 100 activists, mainly trans women of color. Noyola works closely with transgender women who are released from ICE detention and her mission is to end all deportations and mass incarcerations. When asked about her feelings towards Pride month, Noyola told NBC News said, “it is to understand that we are not free until all of us are free, and trans communities in the LGBT movement have been ignored. We have so much work to do. The fight continues.”
Mexican-American Tanya Saracho is queer storyteller and creator of the drama series LGBTQ-centric series VIDA, which aired for three seasons on STARZ. She has a new production company called Ojala Productions and also sealed a deal with Universal Content Productions (UCP) to create a lab and incubator program aimed centered on intersectional Latinx voices. In a time when the representation of Latinxs in Hollywood is already limited, Saracho’s work aims to amplify the stories of Latinxs and LGBTQ Latinxs.
Victoria Cruz is a Puerto Rican queer trans woman and activist who was featured in the Netflix film The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson, where she researched the. mysterious circumstances of the trans pioneer’s death. She marched Johnson and other trans and queer activist trailblazer in the first Gay Pride March in 1970. In 1996, Cruz was sexually assaulted by four female co-workers and told Vanity Fair that that experience caused her to “contemplate suicide.” Because of that incident, a friend introduced Cruz to the Anti-Violence Project where she eventually became a senior domestic-counselor and advocate and was honored by then U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder for her service.