“I want to see my Queer and Trans rights!”

Eve Moreno at the GLAAD Rising Stars Red Carpet.

 

Gotita de Amor was played religiously every night in my South East Los Angeles home. I resonated with this novela so much because of the enthusiasm shown by the character Chabelita. Chabelita was a runaway orphan on a search for her father in Mexico City. Chabelita’s desire to seek love and a place of belonging was what attracted me to the novela. During my childhood, every night you would find me next to my mother; She would pass me folded clothes to stack higher than I could actually reach [as we sat in our living room.] Growing up in a low-income, Latino(Latinx) household meant many different things to my spirit. I searched unconditionally for the feminine energy on television screens, in the hearts of my friends in school, and in the arms of my mother. My reclaimed femininity was seen as a threat to several forces in my life, and no matter what mannerism I adapted to decenter masculinity it would always rear its institutional head. Being assigned male at birth didn’t just mean I was assigned male at birth, it means that I am assigned a man by the world everyday. I can still feel waves of sadness loom over me as my siblings tore down my excitement to watch novelas(spanish word for soap operas) with my mother, after a long day of physical and emotional labor spent dealing with the ferocity of a world tearing me down.

Growing up as a transgender and queer youth, I crafted imaginary realities, and even dreamed of queer and transgender friends. The closest I had to queer and transgender media growing up was the animated cartoon Sailor Moon. Usagi and her group of middle school friends were students by day, and would transform into Sailor Guardians by night. Two Sailor Scouts in particular, Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune are queer lovers who fought alongside the other Sailor Scouts. Sailor Moon is a Japanese cartoon that aired in the United States, however U.S. media filtered the series to conceal Uranus and Neptune’s queer identities. To this day, I often watch Sailor Moon and Gotita de Amor as a form of self care and inspiration for the media projects I currently dedicate myself to. My media work focuses on highlighting the experiences of transgender and queer people of color through photography, videography, illustration, and journalism. In terms of Spanish-Language television, there is little, to no representation of transgender women, and their stories in this arena of media. Nor, is there a representation of low-income transgender and queer youth who are visibly of color.

Image created by Eve Moreno in front of mural of the Virgen de Guadalupe appearing to Diego.The absence of  transgender women of color in Spanish-Language television adds to the extreme violence this community faces. In 2017, there were 28 transgender women of color reported murdered in the United States: compared to Mexico, where the reported murders were double that (over 55), and in Brazil it was triple (over 150).  Without their identities being reflected in Spanish-Language media, there is not an investment in the mental and spiritual wellness of these communities. Representation, and inclusion matters because it creates a culture of acceptance: Transgender women, and transgender people exist, and we aren’t going anywhere. I want to see transgender women and femmes included in Spanish-Language media, and the work I do as a multimedia artist is barely scratching the surface. To start, I envision a television series where a young transgender girl is finally going to take a big step in her life, she’s going to come out to her family, and friends at school as transgender. The character is a catholic raised child whose first experience with trans identity was the group of  transgender women who found her lost in the local city fair. Since that experience, the main character dreams of being as glamorous as the women who found her wandering the streets alone. The character is a senior in highschool, and she wants to go to the University to study Political Science; her dream is to be President of her country.

An image of two people, one with a rainbow flag and one with a trans flag in Los Angeles.The absence of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, and Positive (LGBTQIA+) representation in Spanish-Language media needs immediate cultural diffusion. By advocating for more transgender and queer representation in spanish speaking culture, stigmas will diminish and one day be completely gone. These stigmas include, but are not limited, to misogyny, homophobia, and transphobia. In 2016, The LGBTQIA+ community experienced a deadly attack on their community. The attacks on Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, FL created deep sadness within the this community, especially the Latinx community. Forty-nine people, a majority of them black and brown Latinx people, were killed during the attacks on the nightclub, Sunday June 12th. It is critical to usher a culture of acceptance through multimedia advocacy. By including us in the media, it is my hope that acceptance will reign the hearts of people all across the world, and not just the spanish speaking community.

Sources:

Violence against the trans community in 2017

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-36511778

https://www.hrc.org/resources/violence-against-the-transgender-community...