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LGBT en Español: Depictions of LGBT people & issues in Spanish-language media

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August 25, 2011

(Click here to read this post in Spanish)

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, which is why we created 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.

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. 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.

Remembering Slain Transgender New Yorker Camila Guzmán

Camila Guzmán Vigil

Following the murder of transgender woman Camila Guzmán in New York earlier this month, several organizations, including GLAAD, joined forces to call attention to violence against transgender people by organizing a vigil on Aug. 11.Camila’s vigil received coverage from several news sources, including The Associated Press, the Village Voice, and El Diario La Prensa. Guzman was beaten and stabbed to death in her home on Aug.1. On Aug. 18, Equan Southall, whom she had been in a relationship with for 4 months, was arrested for her murder.

Guzman was originally from Chile, and news of her death also reached Chilean press. An article in El Mostrador reported that a leading national LGBT organization, MOVILH (Movimiento de Integración y Liberación Homosexual), is petitioning Chile’s Department of Foreign Relations to take part in the investigation, citing the role that discrimination in the country had in propelling her to emigrate.

There have been many recent attacks against transgender women of color in New York and Washington, D.C., and other states and cities.  According to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Projects, LGBT people of color are disproportionately impacted by murder, comprising 70% of all LGBT murders. Transgender women are disproportionately impacted by murder— 44% of LGBT murder victims are transgender women.

Univision’s Primer Impacto included a strong segment on Aug. 4 that highlighted a spike in hate crimes in Long Beach, California. The segment included an interview with a friend of one of the victims and highlighted the LGBT community’s march to stand united against the hate crimes.

Marking Milestones: 1000th Wedding in Mexico

On August 14, the 1000th wedding between a gay couple in Mexico City took place, and Spanish-language media took notice. Marriage and adoption equality are only legal in Mexico City, but both must be recognized nationally. Numerous newspapers worldwide told the story of the wedding between José Carlos Gómez, a 37-year-old Mexican university researcher and professor, and Tijarda Olaf Hellias Wessels, a 29-year-old Dutch man. Noticiero con Paola Rojas showed beautiful images of the wedding and of the couple around their supportive family, helping viewers understand why marriage is important to so many couples in Mexico. In March 2010, Mexico became the first country in Latin America to have a law explicitly allowing gay couples to marry. Since then, 548 gay male couples and 452 lesbian couples have gotten married. According to Mexico City officials, 6% of the marriages have consisted of foreigners and 85% between partners who were 31 years or older. On July 21, 2010, Argentina became the first Latin American country to have marriage equality at the federal level. Since then 2,697 gay and lesbian couples have tied the knot, according to newspaper La Nación.

Uneven Coverage of Cuban Wedding

Ignacio Estrada and Wendy Iriepa

Many media outlets reported on the first wedding between a transgender woman and a gay man, which took place in Cuba on Aug 13. The coverage was not always stellar, in English or Spanish, with much confusion evident at times about the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity and oftentimes inaccurately describing it as a “gay wedding.” Estrella TV’s entertainment show Estrellas Hoy, Paparazzi Magazine, and Noticiero con Paola Rojas covered the wedding. The couple said they decided to marry on Fidel Castro’s 85th birthday as a “gift” to the former leader, due to the persecution of gay people and the often anti-LGBT policies put in place by Castro after the 1959 revolution.

Immigration Decisions That Stop Separations of Same-Sex Couples Receive Attention

Maak and Wells

Maak and Wells

Univision.com highlighted the hardships that a binational couple, John Makk, of Australian descent, and Bradford Wells, a U.S. Citizen, are enduring because their marriage is not recognized by the federal government. Wells and Maak have lived together for 19 years in San Francisco and married in Massachusetts 7 years ago. Maak received a deportation order mandating him to leave the country before Aug. 25, despite being the sole income provider and caretaker for his husband, who is suffering health complications due to AIDS.

La Prensa in Florida published an article titled “La inmigración y los matrimonios gay” that discusses a Department of Justice decision not to fully adhere to the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA). The article highlights how this could impact gay and lesbian couples and their loved ones in the near future.

The paper followed that story with another discussing the positive impact a potential measure to halt deportations would have on the LGBT community. La Opinion also ran an article about new immigration policies that discussed how halting deportations will help vulnerable members of the LGBT community.

Gun Hill Road Gets Great Press and Strong Box Office

Gun Hill Road

Gun Hill Road

The film Gun Hill Road, which is in English but features a Latino family, has done well in both the box office and critical recognition. The film (which also opened Outfest) premiered theatrically in New York on Aug. 5 as the number one indie film in the box office, according to Rentrak, an entertainment media company. While only playing in three theatres, the film managed to have an outstanding opening weekend, playing to sold out houses nightly. Much of the success of the film has been attributed to the powerful influence of social media, with Facebook and Twitter serving as the perfect platform for people to engage and share a message with their audience.

The film follows the story of Enrique (Esai Morales), an ex-convict returning to his home in the Bronx after three years in prison, who finds his wife (Judy Reyes) having an affair and his son coming out as a transgender woman named Vanessa (Harmony Santana). Morales has been featured in interviews in many media outlets, such as Primer Impacto, La Opinión, and Hola LA!

Morales has spoken out against machismo , calling for “acceptance for all,” which is the film’s main message. He said in an interview, “This is a work of love; it is something from Latinos for Latinos and the rest of the world.”  As reported by People en Español, both he and Gun Hill Road received awards at the 26th annual Imagen Foundation Awards on Aug. 12, winning the Best Actor and Best Film categories respectively. The film is now playing in five theatres in New York and five theatres in Los Angeles. You can request the film to screen at a theater near you and learn how you can spread the word about the film at www.gunhillroad.com

Ricky Martin’s Behind the Music Now Airing

Telemundo’s morning show Levántate and Estrella TV’s Estrellas Hoy aired a short preview of Ricky Martin’s VH1’s Behind the Music special, which premiered on Aug. 14. In the segment Martin talks about his boyfriend Carlos González saying, “My partner, my boyfriend is very sexy, very smart, very compassionate, but the most important thing [is] he loves my children. It’s very beautiful… I am very happy.”

Samy

Samy

Samy on "Aqui Y Ahora"!

This week, Univision’s Aqui y Ahora, the  highly-rated investigative news show, profiled Samy, a renowned Cuban-American hair stylist and face of the SAMY hair-care brand. The segment highlighted the struggles Samy faced after being rejected by his parents for being gay, and how it launched him to build his hair-care empire. They also showed images of Samy reconciled with his parents and living openly and happily with his long-term partner.

Honduran Billboard & Anger Over Lack of Marriage Equality in Costa Rica Get Media Attention

Honduras BillboardA billboard featuring gay couples embracing one another and sponsored in part by the Atonomous National Univeristy of Honduras (UNAH) drew protests from angry parents which was covered in a few small outlets. And in Costa Rica, advocates accused the legislative assembly of having a “sexual apartheid” because they won’t legalize same-sex unions.

Lesbian Chilean Judge Fights for Custody

Judge Karen Atala & her partner Emma de Ramón

Online LGBT publication, xQsí Magazine, covered a story about a discrimination case against a lesbian mother in Chile. The Supreme Court of Chile took custody of Karen Atala Riffo’s three daughters, and gave it to her ex-husband because she decided to move in with her partner, a woman. The case has been brought to the Inter-American Courts of Human Rights, and could set a precedent for discrimination based on sexual orientation in Latin America.