TransGriot Note: I was hoping that someone from the Latino/a trans community or an ally would step up to compile a Latin@ Trans Year In Review post. But after one didn't materialize, I received a few requests from my Latin@ readers to do so. I'm flattered that you have expressed confidence in me to write it, and I'm doing so with input from members of the Latin@ trans community.
The Latin@ Trans community, like their African American counterparts, also experienced a year.in which they received increasing attention, faced daunting challenges and expressed optimistic hope for the future
When the inaugural Trans 100 List was released, there were ten Latin@ trans persons, Alexis Martinez, Andre Perez, Bamby Salcedo, Diego Sanchez, Drago Renteria, Harmony Santana, Ignacio Rivera, Monika MHz, Ruby Corado and Yosenio V. Lewis recognized for their contributions to the community at large.
The Latin@ community oriented Honor 41 List created by Alberto Mendoza to bring visibility to and highlight the accomplishments of Latina and Latino LGBT people made its debut with 5 total trans persons on it. Salcedo made that inaugural list, along with Arianna Inurritegui Lint, Maria Roman, Danielle Castro and transman Isaac Gomez. The 2014 edition of the Honor 41 list will be accepting nominations soon
One of those persons emerging as a major community leader this year was Bamby Salcedo, the founding president of the Trans Latin@ Coalition. In addition to leading this growing organization, she helped focus attention on immigration issues and how they affect the Latina immigrant community.
Ruby Corado continued to build her Washington DC based Casa Ruby Multicultural Center into one that while founded to primarily serve the Latin@ trans community, serves the entire DC community and region. That expansive vision became even more important when the THE Center that had been open since 2004 closed its doors in October due to fiscal trouble. Casa Ruby was also recently awarded a $25,000 one year grant in November by the DC Council of Latino Affairs.
Casa Ruby also received a visit from Cuban trans activist Wendy Iriepa Diaz and her husband Ignacio Estrada Cepero on July 26 during the Washington part of their three month visit to the United States. While in DC the Cuban couple also took a trip to Capitol Hill to visit Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) before flying back to Miami and eventually returning home to Cuba.
Another trans Latina getting national attention besides Salcedo and Corado as a national leader was Arianna Inurritegui Lint. She is becoming a frequent presence on Spanish language media as the Eastern co-chair of the Trans Latin@ Coalition when they discuss trans issues.
Like Bamby, she was also presenting at major conferences and conventions discussing the immigration issue and other relevant ones to trans Latinas. Arianna just recently became a Managing Director at SunServe overseeing their Transgender Services Department.
Trans Latin@s were making their voices heard in media outlets besides print and television. Consuella Lopez, whose lovely face you see on the Washington DC anti-trans discrimination posters, was part of a team of trans people hosting InsighT, a trans talk radio show. Longtime advocate, musician and actor Mark Angelo Cummings' Transistion Radio show is getting increased attention as well.
Carmen Carrera signed a modeling contract with Elite models and in addition to sashaying down fashion runways made it clear she'd like to be a Victoria's Secret Angel. Her fans created a Change.org petition that amassed over 36,000 signatures in an attempt to make that happen.
El/La Para TransLatinas is San Francisco was the recipient of $200,000 in anti-violence funding to address that issue in the San Francisco Latina community.
That issue of violence directed at Latina trans women is not one limited to the San Francisco area. The crushing unemployment-unemployment and lack of opportunities that plague Latina trans women drives high percentages to resort to survival sex work. Because of the perception or actual belief they are undocumented leads to high levels of abuse at the hands of customers and the police.
Like their African-American sisters, trans Latinas are also suffering from unacceptable levels of anti-trans murders directed at them, with the worst spots for it being in Mexico, Brazil, the US, and various countries across Latin America.
This year marked the fifth anniversary of the death of Angie Zapata at the hands of Allen Andrade, who was convicted of her murder and is rotting in a Colorado jail cell. The waste of DNA who killed Lorena Escalera is unfortunately still at large. But when these people are captured and prosecuted, as did happen in the Zapata case, the perpetrators of these murders are finding that they are getting convicted and going to jail for them.
That was evidenced when Rasheen Everett was convicted and sentenced December 5 to 29 years to life for killing Amanda Gonzalez Andujar back in 2010. That was in spite of his defense attorney John Scarpa despicably arguing that her life wasn't as valuable as others. Fortunately the judge said otherwise.
One of the law enforcement issues affecting the Latina trans community was stop and frisk. 87% of the stops by NYPD targeted non-white people, and in that 87% stat of targeted people were trans Latinas. They were part of the multiethnic coalition of groups in New York who protested and spoke out against the unjust policy .
A Latin@ Trans Year In Review wouldn't be complete without discussion of the cruel and unjust treatment of Latina trans immigrants in ICE detention centers across the country. They are being held up to 6-9 months on average in solitary confinement, have hormone replacement therapy (HRT) withheld from them and in many cases if they haven't had genital surgery are being confined with cisgender men.with sometimes disastrous results.
Lack of access to appropriate healthcare or healthcare at all in most low cost federal accredited health Latino centers across this country drives thousands of Latino trans people to access dangerous black market treatments for transition related and primary healthcare
So yes, it has been a mixed bag year for the Latin@ trans community. While they face some serious challenges, there are transmasculine and transfeminine leaders either already there or emerging from their ranks who are gaining a national platform to address them.
As part of our nation's fastest growing minority community, I hope their cisgender brothers and sisters recognize that my trans Latino brothers and sisters are integral parts of their community.
While some issues are unique to the Latino trans community that need to be resolved as expeditiously as possible, there are others they share with the Latino community at large
We also hope that 2014 is also a much brighter year for the Latin@ trans community.