On the Tras Palabras podcast, Carolina González interviews transgender rights advocate Arianna Lint

Spanish-language audiences have fewer media options for accurate content that covers issues that impact LGBTQ people. Luckily, Spanish-language podcast creators have stepped up to create compelling audio stories. One such podcast is Tras Palabras a new culture podcast that seeks to go beyond words and labels (hence its title, “tras” meaning to go beyond or behind; “palabras” meaning words) giving listeners a chance to get to know the people behind the one or two words that are used to describe them.

Carolina González is a storyteller with a keen ear for testimonies that help advance social justice. When she arrived in Miami from Venezuela she had already had the privilege of studying at the same university where Tamara Adrián, noted lawyer, politician and advocate for transgender women like herself taught. Gonzalez, a cisgender straight woman, learned from Adrián that Venezuela, like many countries, did not allow transgender people to update their identity documents with the gender marker and name that aligned with their identity.

In Miami, González realized the United States too had a patchwork of practices and protections for transgender people. As she worked with reporters and producers in her role as Communications Officer for the ACLU, she realized that just like in her home country, many reporters had a lack of familiarity with the correct terminology related to covering LGBTQ issues. She also saw that media professionals often lacked the information to accurately disccus news items that impacted transgender people, often confusing gender identity with sexual orientation for example, or failing to use the right pronouns and name when referring to transgender interviewees or subjects.

Arianna Lint is an advocate for HIV+ people, transgender people and immigrants. A lawyer in Peru, she came to the United States to transition, leaving behind a career in order to be true to herself. Although she had an accepting family, Lint had a hard time working in Peru because she faced homophobia (before her transition.) When she came to Florida, Lint found that in addition to transphobia many of the women and men she advocated for also faced xenophobia and discrimination due to their immigrant status. She chose to tell her story both as an example to the people she met who were fighting against multiple injustices and to help media do a better job when they explored decisions that affected LGBTQ immigrants and in that way impact policy decisions.

González and Lint are good friends, so it was natural for them to turn to each other to accomplish their complimentary goals. Lint knew she could trust González to tell her story respectfully, something that she could not always count on when working with media in the past. The two found working on the podcast insightful. The resulting interview is one of the first (and most popular) episodes of this new independent effort.

For González, each episode is a powerful return on her initial sacrifice when she bought the equipment, researched the medium, and sought out a skeleton crew that could help her with editing and mixing the episodes. She hopes her approach will ensure that audiences will hear from people often not heard on other airwaves. Not all her podcasts will feature LGBTQ interviewees but as an ally, as an immigrant and because of her experiences in media, she is determined that her podcasts include experiences from people who are often misunderstood.

For Lint, each time she shares her story with others, she knows that it might help her continue her grassroots efforts to help women like her. She enjoyed listening to a 45 minute version of her life enhanced by the inspiring music and commentary that González added. Lint knows that not all her experiences with media are easy or enjoyable, but she is committed to continue speaking out in order to make the world better for the transgender people who come after her.