LGBT en Español:A look at depictions of LGBT people and issues in Spanish-Language media

Mariana and Julia of "Las Aparicio"

Every day, GLAAD’s Spanish-Language Media team monitors news and entertainment content in film, television, print and online media. We often find interesting stories that we want to share with you and are excited to announce the creation of LGBT en Español, a look at depictions of LGBT people and issues in Spanish-Language media.

In recent years, we’ve seen a growing number of positive representations of LGBT people and issues in Spanish-language media. This means millions of Latinos are getting to know LGBT people as their neighbors, friends, co-workers and family members. Although many bilingual Latinos prefer consuming English-language media, many, like Spanish-dominant Latinos, still do consume Spanish-language news and entertainment media.

The panorama of Spanish-language media is also changing quickly. Mun2, part of Telemundo (both owned by NBC Universal Comcast) now airs two shows that include English-language subtitles—Las Aparicio and RPM Miami. Each of those also happens to include a female lead who is bisexual.

The export/import relationships within Spanish-language media are also changing. Whereas once most programming was created by comparatively conservative Televisa in Mexico, now some productions are being done in Colombia or in co-productions between U.S. and Latin American companies, meaning writers and producers who are more open to covering LGBT issues and people are being employed.

As with English-language media, of course, there’s plenty of room for improvement, and anti-LGBT defamation, invisibility and the use of stereotypes are persistent challenges. We’ll do our best to keep you apprised of the most interesting media representations, but we also need your help to monitor the large amount of content on the air and radio waves. We urge you to please help us by writing to incident@glaad.org if you see, read or hear anything problematic, offensive or defamatory in English or in Spanish. Or if you see or read a great story, please also let us know about that.

Wedding Bells Were Ringing!

Numerous Spanish-language newspapers and magazines  including El Diario La Prensa, La Opinión, El Nuevo Herald, and El Nuevo Día in Puerto Rico, among others, covered New York marriage in late July. Many of the stories were personal and featured compelling stories of people thrilled to make a lifetime commitment. Several highlighted now-married GLAAD media-trained couples Reverend Carmen Hernández and Doris De Armas, and Marcos Chaljub and Freddy Zambrano.

Carmen and Doris who recently wed in New York

In addition, Univision’s nightly newsmagazine show Primer Impacto ran a segment on New York marriage that featured Hernández and de Armas’ moving story of overcoming struggles to arriving at happiness upon finally securing the protections of marriage. Chaljub and Zambrano were the first gay male couple to be officially married in Manhattan as well as the first Latino male couple in the state.

Television

On July 8, Primer Impacto featured a story on a gay Salvadoran student, Julio Hernández Moreno, who faced deportation.  Fearing for his life, Moreno left his native El Salvador almost five years ago after he endured verbal and physical violence from local gangs due to his sexual orientation. Since the report ran, Moreno’s deportation was stopped as his detention was considered a form of racial profiling.

Julio Hernández Moreno

A July 19 segment Noticiero Telemundo told the story of Cathedral City, California, binational couple, Alex Benshimol and Doug Gentry, who were temporarily safeguarded from separation after a federal judge suspended Benshimol’s deportation. The segment described in detail the harms that binational couples face because of a lack of marriage equality at the federal level.  Benshimol, of Venezuelan origin, and Gentry, a U.S. citizen, married in Connecticut last year and are both GLAAD media-trained.      

Doug and Alex whose story was featured on Noticiero Telemundo

Telemundo’s morning show Levántate aired the trailer to “Without Men,” a new film that features a lesbian storyline and stars Eva Longoria, Kate del Castillo, Oscar Nuñez, and María Conchita Alonso, among others. The film tells the story of a Latin American mountain village whose entire male population, excluding the town priest, is recruited to fight in the country’s civil war, leaving all of the women alone. As a result, as Puerto Rican newspaper El Nuevo Día explains, many of the women start taking on roles traditionally played by men. More notably, the story also follows the development of a romance between the characters played by Eva Longoria and Mexican actress Kate del Castillo, who heated up television screens last year playing a drug lord in La Reina del Sur which also included a lead character who was gay and with whom del Castillo shared a steamy kiss.

Incidentally, on Tuesday, July 26, Univision’s El Gordo y La Flaca broke the news that the actress Kate del Castillo is separating from her husband Aarón Díaz. The host Lili Estefan brought up rumors that Díaz was not comfortable with many of the roles that his wife was taking, including the role in “Without Men” in which she and Eva Longoria share a kiss as well as her upcoming film “K-11” in which she plays the role of a transgender prison inmate. K-11 began production July 18 and is set to hit theatres in 2012.

Kate del Castillo and Eva Longoria in "Without Men"

On July 21, Telemundo’s nightly newsmagazine Al Rojo Vivo aired the story of Naaminn Cardenas, the first transgender woman to be legally recognized as a woman in Peru.  After fighting the conservative Peruvian courts for 8 years, during which Cardenas was subjected to numerous psychiatric and medical exams, Cárdenas was finally granted the right to have legal documents updated.

The telenovela Las Aparacio on Mun2  continues its depiction of a female couple whose ups and downs are given the same care attention and time as the storylines of the other Aparicio sisters on whom the show centers. Airing 4 nights per week, it’s one of the most inclusive stories on television—English or Spanish. Unfortunately, the conflict faced by Julia Aparicio, who is bisexual, sometimes falls (as it has recently) into stereotypes about bisexual people. As Julia is conflicted, her family seems on the side of Julia making a life with Mariana and not soccer player Armando.

Newspapers and Magazines

International Spanish-language syndicate EFE reported on Latino participation in the first month of civil unions in Illinois. According to Cook County Clerk David Orr, Latinos composed 13% of the unions between females and 15% in the unions of males. African Americans consisted of 22% of the female unions and 10% of the male unions. In total, there were 1,600 civil union licenses registered by Equality Illinois in the entire state during June.

Newspaper Hoy Chicago ran a story earlier this month on the double discrimination that Latinos who are gay and undocumented face. A group of 7 young people came out as undocumented and gay at an event sponsored by Orgullo Latino Unido (ULP, Latino Pride United) and la Asociación de Hombres Latinos de Acción (Association of Latino Men for Action). Among the advocates interviewed was Tania Unzueta of Immigrant Youth Justice League, who is GLAAD media-trained.

Radio

On Monday, July 19, well-known on-air radio personality Raquel “Raq-C” Cordova asked her listeners on the popular Los Angeles radio station Latino 96.3 about the nature of sexual orientation by asking “Are people ‘born homosexual’ or ‘become homosexual?” Our Director of Spanish-Language Media heard the show and quickly reached out to Raq-C, who was the host for Southern California’s 1st annual Festival Gay Latino in Pico Rivera last year, to explain that the word “gay” is much preferred and is more appropriate than the term “homosexual,” which, because of its clinical and derogatory tone, is always used by anti-gay activists. We also explained that orientation is neither a choice nor mutable. Cordova was glad for the input and, when back on air, began using the term gay instead.

--Brian Pacheco and Brenda Hernandez contributed to this story