Why These 10 Latinx Icons Are Inspiring to LGBTQ Youth
During Latinx History Month we recognize and celebrate the cultures, histories, contributions, issues, and heritage of Latinx people. Originating in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson, it was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to become a 30-day period starting on September 15 — the independence date of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua — and ending on October 15. Mexico and Chile’s independence dates are celebrated during the month as well, on September 16 and September 18, respectively.
Nowadays, there's a growing trend, especially in the LGBTQ community, to use Latinx. So what does Latinx mean? Latinx is the gender-neutral term for Latino, Latina, and Latin@. In Spanish, much of the vocabulary has the ending “O” or “A,” with “O” being masculine and “A” being feminine. Using Latinx eliminates barriers and includes all Latin people!
Throughout Latinx Heritage Month, it’s been an honor to work alongside my Latinx peers in GLSEN’s National Student Council to share Latinx icons that have made an impact on us. Below is a compilation of these icons. Each of these icons belongs in classroom curriculum. It's a way for students, such as myself, to feel reflected, honored, and valued within both the school community and the community at large. For more ways to support LGBTQ Latinx students at school, see these GLSEN resources.
Con mucho amor.
-Cruz Contreras, GLSEN National Student Council
Are there any other Latinx icons that have made an impact on you as an LGBTQ student? Send them our way by sharing on Instagram and tagging @glsen!
Sylvia Rivera was a #Latinx transwoman veteran of the 1969 #Stonewall uprising. She worked tirelessly against the exclusion of transgender people from the sexual orientation non-discrimination act in New York. She and Marsha P. Johnson were founders of STAR (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries). She worked to be a voice for the rights of people of color and low-income #queer and #trans people. Learn more about Sylvia and other #Latinx heroes, plus view a historical timeline here ➡️ glsen.org/latinx #LGBT #LGBTQ
A post shared by GLSEN (@glsenofficial) on Sep 18, 2017 at 3:40pm PDT
Gloria Evangelina Anzaldua was born in Rio Grande Valley in south Texas on September 26, 1942. She is most famous for her work co-editing the anthology “This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color.” Her personal work focuses on the border created by language to expose the treatment of women in #Chicano and #Latinx culture, lesbians in the straight world, and #Chicanx in white American society. Her book Borderlands/La Frontera was written to focus on being proud of one’s self, heritage, and recognition of all cultures. Learn more about Gloria and other #Latinx heroes, plus view a historical timeline here ➡️ glsen.org/latinx #LGBT #LGBTQ #LatinxHeritageMonth
A post shared by GLSEN (@glsenofficial) on Sep 21, 2017 at 4:22pm PDT
Bisexual Mexican artist Frida Kahlo has become an international icon for the power and intensity of her art. Born in Mexico, she became a central figure in revolutionary Mexican politics and twentieth-century art. Her art embodied her mental and physical disabilities, gender expression, sexuality, relationships, and politics. Learn more about Frida and other #Latinx heroes, plus view a historical timeline here ➡️ glsen.org/latinx #LGBT #LGBTQ #LatinxHeritageMonth
A post shared by GLSEN (@glsenofficial) on Sep 24, 2017 at 12:10pm PDT
Dolores Huerta is a co-founder of the United Farm Workers Association. She continues to be one of the most influential labor activists of the 20th century and a leader of the Chicano civil rights and gender rights movement. Dolores helped lead the Grape Farm Workers Strike. She continues to be recognized as a feminist, farm worker advocate, gay rights activist, and labor leader. Learn more about Dolores and other #Latinx heroes, plus view a historical timeline here ➡️ glsen.org/latinx #LatinxHeritageMonth
A post shared by GLSEN (@glsenofficial) on Sep 27, 2017 at 12:12pm PDT
Shane Ortega is a #Latinx two-Spirit, disabled, retired American combat soldier who served three duty tours and became the first openly #trans man in the U.S. military. He fought for the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and is still fighting for transgender rights in the military today. He co-founded the nonprofit SPARt*A for members of the #LGBTQ military community. He continues to advocate for people of color, athletes, LGBTQ health competency, veterans, woman, and disabled people. Learn more about #Latinx heroes and view a timeline here ➡️ glen.org/latinx #LatinxHistoryMonth
A post shared by GLSEN (@glsenofficial) on Sep 30, 2017 at 12:19pm PDT
Cesar Chavez is and forever will be remembered in the Latinx community as not only an activist, but as a friend and inspiration to future activists including some of our National Student Council Members. As a labor leader, Cesar Chavez stood and acted on nonviolent means to bring attention to the hardships farm workers faced. In his lifetime, Cesar went on several hunger strikes, lead marches, and called for boycotts. Though these battles lasted for years and still continue today, Chavez and his union won several victories for the workers. Ceasar Chavez founded the National Farm Workers Association who’s work still impacts farm workers and their families. Learn more about #Latinx heroes and view a timeline here ➡️ glsen.org/latinx #LatinxHistoryMonth
A post shared by GLSEN (@glsenofficial) on Oct 3, 2017 at 2:26pm PDT
Amaranta Gómez Regalado is an Indigenous muxhe, or Two-Spirit, disabled activist and social anthropologist. A local, regional, and international social activist for over fifteen years, Amaranta has advocated and worked in health, sexuality, ancestral gender identities, human rights and cultural promotion. They are an HIV/AIDS activist who has won international grants to further their work with migrant women in the Muxhe community. Learn more about #Latinx heroes and view a timeline here ➡️ glsen.org/latinx #LatinxHistoryMonth
A post shared by GLSEN (@glsenofficial) on Oct 6, 2017 at 12:48pm PDT
Orlando Cruz is the only gay man in boxing to win a world title. On October 3, 2012, Cruz came out and said “I have and will always be a proud Puerto Rican. I have always been and always will be a proud gay man.” Cruz’s coming out was influential to the #Latinx community because it helped debunk the misconception that Latinx people are homophobic because of a common cultural belief in Christianity. Cruz has become an activist for #LGBTQ rights and has won seven of his nine fights in the past four years. Learn more about #Latinx heroes and view a timeline here ➡️ glsen.org/latinx #LatinxHistoryMonth
A post shared by GLSEN (@glsenofficial) on Oct 9, 2017 at 11:07am PDT
Bamby Salcedo is a #trans #Latinx woman activist whose work — focused on trans rights in the Latinx community — has been recognized and awarded locally and nationally. She helped start Trans Lives Matter National Day of Action along with other community partners. She is currently the CEO and president of the Translatin@ Coalition which helps trans woman who have immigrated to the United States. Bamby also works as the Health Education and HIV Prevention Services Coordinator at a Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles. Learn more about Latinx heroes and view a timeline here ➡️ glsen.org/latinx #LatinxHistoryMonth
A post shared by GLSEN (@glsenofficial) on Oct 12, 2017 at 10:02am PDT
Julio Salgado is an Mexican undocumented #queer individual who is fighting and creating awareness for DACA and DREAMers with his incredible illustrations. His work depicts key individuals and moments of the DREAM Act and migrant rights movements. He is the co-founder of DreamersAdrift.com and he continues to use his undocumented queer identity to promote important perspectives in art and in Journalism. You can find his art on instagram: @juliosalgado83 Learn more about #Latinx heroes and view a timeline here ➡️ glsen.org/latinx #LatinxHistoryMonth
A post shared by GLSEN (@glsenofficial) on Oct 12, 2017 at 11:34am PDT
Cruz Contreras, Soli Guzman, and Marisa Matias are members of GLSEN's National Student Council.