We celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month by sharing the stories of our Latinx siblings who have bravely paved the way for our community. In recognition of our celebration of the LGBTQ community, Let's Talk About Gay Stuff is highlighting 30 LGBTQ pioneers. Learn about these trailblazers below.
Let's Talk About Gay Stuff Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month and lifts the voice of our LGBTQ+ Latinx trailblazers.
Laura Aguilar was a self-taught photographer, whose works encapsulated the lesbian Latina experience and represented other less-celebrated communities. She overcame a number of challenges in her life, notably living with auditory dyslexia, which made it difficult at times for her to interact with her peers. She credited her brother with leading her to the world of photography where she found an ar
In celebration of Women's History Month, we are honoring Gloria Evangelina Anzaldúa
We recognize Gloria for the pioneering role she played in literature.
One of the first openly gay Chicana writers, she was an unashamed lesbian and Latinx person. This helped influence her works that forged thinking about the feminist, queer, and Latinx experience.
Anzaldúa is celebrated for her literary and scholar
Rane Arroyo was an award winning playwright and poet born in Chicago of parents from Puerto Rico. He started his career as a performance artist and go on to write 10 poetry books and a number of plays. His works received a number of awards and are celebrated for their storytelling of immigration, Latinx culture, and the LGBTQ+ experience.
In addition to his works, Arroyo earned a PhD and taught cre
Christian Chavez is a singer, songwriter, and actor who originally made a name with appearances on telenovelas. It was on the telenovela, Rebelde, from which Chavez propelled to superstardom, as he and other cast members spun-off and formed the musical group, RBD. The group toured the world, made nine studio albums, and became one of Mexico's most popular pop musical groups.
Chavez came out publicl
Jeanne Córdova. was a feminist lesbian activist and writer. She noted that while she always knew her sexuality, she did not discover she was of Latinx heritage until she was an adult. Born in Germany to an Irish American mother and Mexican father, her dad did not discuss his heritage. Nonetheless, upon this discovery, she embraced her identity and sought to learn more about her heritage.
Orlando Cruz is celebrated boxer from Puerto Rico. Having started boxing at the age of 7, he made a name for himself in Puerto Rico and in international competition, notably in the 2000 Olympics. Later that year, he began his career in the professional ranks and continued to rack up wins, knockouts, and titles as a professional boxer in the years ahead.
In 2012, he came out publicly making him the
Gil Cuadros was a popular gay Chicano writer who sadly passed away in 1996 at the age of 34 of complications related to AIDS. Cuadros's works are remembered for providing a unique voice to the HIV/AIDS experience, particularly as someone of Latinx heritage.
After having lost his partner to AIDS and discovering his own diagnosis of the disease, Cuadros turned to writing to express his feelings and a
Dennis deLeon was a a pioneering Human Rights activist and was known for giving voice the the Latino and LGBTQ community during the AIDS crisis in the 1980s and 1990s. His service to the community included ensuring AIDS eduction material was available for the Latino community and was a founding member of Latino AIDS.
He is noted for helping craft the national agenda to fight AIDS in the Latino comm
Kany Garcia is a singer-songwriter from Puerto Rico, who gained fame early on with a run on Puerto Rico's popular signing competition. Her vocals, lyrics, and ability to emote passion and vulnerability through her music have made her one of Latin Americas top musical stars.
Over the course of her career, she has received numerous awards and praise for her works, in part due to her honesty in her mu
Amaranta Gomez Regalado, who is from the Juchitán, Mexico, identifies as a muxhe, a person who is biologically born male and that adopts another gender different from their birth over time. She has used her unique experience to advocate for the rights of those who are different or identify or present as something other than they were born.
She has written and spoken to audiences across the world. S
Roy Haylock, better known by his drag persona, Bianca Del Rio, and for helping the phrase "Not today, Satan" go mainstream, Haylock is a comedic force that has been working hard in the entertainment world for over two decades. Starting out in New Orleans, Haylock moved to New York City to build on his success as the sharp-tongued MC and comedian, Bianca Del Rio. After a number of hosting gigs and
Joy Huerta is famously known as one half of the Grammy award winning musical duo, Jesse & Joy. Along with her brother, Jesse Huerta, the Latin pop duo writes and performs their own music - Joy, who is the vocalist and a guitar player, Jesse, who plays piano and guitar. The group was signed to a record deal in 2005 and has since released four studio albums, earning them high praise and numerous awa
Frida Kahlo was a painter almost by accident. We are thankful for the works of art that Kahlo brought to the world. Inspired by her own realities of love, heartbreak, and loneliness, her works explore questions of culture, religion, feminism, sexuality, and herself.
She was married to a man, with whom she had a passionate yet tumultuous marriage. Both were known to have had extramarital affairs, K
William Brandon Lacy Campos was a writer and LGBTQ+ and HIV/AIDS activist who spoke proudly about his queerness and mixed-race heritage. Having been out since his late teens, he spent his adult life exploring and speaking about his world though engagement in LGBTQ organizations and writing about his life in blog posts and articles for LGBTQ+ publications.
Campos also revealed to the world some of h
James Andrew Leyva is amously known by his drag name, Valentina, and he has turned high-fashion drag queen looks into a proud celebration of Latinx culture. With early success in local competitions, Leyva's Valentina soon found herself on drag's biggest stage - a contestant on Season 9 of RuPaul's Drag Race.
With her style described as theatrical, dramatic, and very Latina, Valentina has stood out
Ricky Martin famously started with the boy band Menudo at a young age and went on to take over the Latin Pop world. He had a huge crossover performance at the 1999 Grammy Award show and then later with a hit single Livin' La Vida Loca which made him a darling to mainstream music fans and endeared him even more to his loyal Latin fan base. His dance moves and sexual appeal had women falling for him
Javiera Mena is one of the world's most famous electro-pop music artists. In a profession that is male dominated, she stands out for her musical talents, and for being a woman, and part of the LGBTQ+ community.
Born in Chile, today she travels the world celebrating love with her music with audiences across the globe. Her music is fearless and proud of the relationships she has had, lost, and seeks,
Ray Navarro is a celebrated Latinx artist. Having grown up in Southern California, he was exposed to Latinx artists and activists, which would help cultivate his interest in the arts and inspire his activism. He was able to understand how education, politics, sexuality could be expressed in art form and be used to advocate for the rights of those suffering from AIDS, particularly those in the Lati
Solomon Ray is a producer, DJ, rapper, and singer-songwriter, who has seen his career thrive across genres ranging from rap and hip-hop to remixes and now reggaeton. All the while, since he came out, he has proudly celebrated his LGBTQ+ identity.
In a genre of music where declaring your personal identity is core to your musical identity, Solomon Ray has been deemed somewhat of a misfit as a mixed-r
Sylvia Rivera is one of the notable pioneering activists for the gay rights movement and the transgender community that emerged from the Stonewall Inn Riots. While her part at Stonewall is debated, she along with her friend, Marsha P Johnson are recognized for what they sought to do to right the wrongs against the LGBTQ+ community.
Rivera had a storied life with ups and downs; yet her optimistic sp
Dr. Horacio Roque Ramirez was a recognized scholar for studying immigration and the LGBTQ+ and Latinx communities. He earned a Ph.D. from University of California, Berkeley, and would focus his professional works on topics such as domestic and gang-related persecution, gender identity, HIV, and sexuality.
A Salvadorian immigrant, he was a rare scholarly voice for the Latinx community, particularly
Bamby Salcedo is a community leader, collaborator, activist and is the founder of the organization, TransLatin@ Coalition. After experiencing trauma as a child, Bamby has overcome the odds to be the success story she is today.
Growing up in poor in Mexico to a single mother, Bamby would witness and experience struggle first-hand. Having suffered and observed sexual and physical abuse, she would fac
Julio Salgado is an artist, Mexican immigrant, and community organizer. He uses his art to tell the story of his Latinx heritage, LGBTQ community, and struggles as an undocumented immigrant.
As an artist, his works are celebrated for calling attention to the migrant rights movement with depictions of individuals and moments of the Dream Act.
As a community organizer, he has co-founded DreamersAdrift
José Julio Sarria, an LGBT+ civil rights activist, was born in 1922. Sarria, often referred to as Mama Jose, is known for his drag persona who declared herself as Her Royal Majesty, Empress de San Francisco I, Jose, The Widow Norton. With his majestic and charismatic persona, Sarria formed use platform as a force to fight for equality. He founded the first gay non-profit in California, aimed at he
Gonzalo “Tony” Segura was Cuban immigrant who came to the U.S. at age 15 and persevered to attend Emory University and become a research chemist. Living in New York City, he would have a political and personal awakening about his own sexuality. Inspired by some of his readings, personal experience, and movements occurring on the West Coast, he was a founder of the New York City Chapter of the Matt
Patricia Velasquez is an actress, supermodel, human rights advocate, who overcame poverty to become one of the world's first supermodels of Latinx heritage. Velasquez was featured in of some of the world's top magazines showcasing her beauty and notably offering the world a face, skin tone, and beauty features which displayed her Latinx and indigenous heritage.
The supermodel was touted as one of t
Pabllo Vittar is a popular drag queen from Brazil. Having made a name for himself in full make-up and covering Whitney Houston's "I Have Nothing," on a Brazilian TV show, Vittar became an instant star.
In recent years, Vittar has extended his reach across the globe. With covers of popular songs, his own original content, and a personal brand displayed across social media, Vittar is one of the most
Holly Woodlawn was a transgender actress who left her home in Puerto Rico at aged 15 after not being accepted by her family, and she hitchhiked her way to New York City. Unfortunately, she found herself in situations where she was struggling to pay for food and shelter and was compelled to be a sex worker to pay for her survival. Nonetheless, she was determined to beat the odds and find greatness.
The mother of the House of Xtravaganza, Angie Xtravaganza, was an icon in New York City's ballroom scene. When Angie founded the House of Xtravaganza, she was one of the youngest mothers to lead a House. Her dedication and talent led to her group being one of the city's most celebrated houses, particularly one which featured Latinx members.
Of course, today, Angie is forever part of our history. Sh
Pedro Zamora knew he was gay at an early age, and in high school at age 17, he was diagnosed with HIV. He was an honor student, active in athletics, but sadly he lost his mother at the age of 14. Because he felt alone, he sought love, comfort, and affection through sex. When he found out that he had HIV, he was determined to finish high school before the illness consumed him.
He also sought to bec