June is Pride Month to celebrate the LGBTQ community. In No Panic Spanish, we know the importance of culture in language learning, so we wanted to compile and share some information on a few LGBT Hispanic figures that you might not know about. Read on to learn more about some of these people, who paved the way for later generations.
#1. Pedro Almodóvar – Filmmaker
Almodóvar is the most acclaimed Spanish filmmaker from the 20th and 21st century. His production has enourmously contributed to giving visibility to the LGBTQ+ community. Within Almodóvar’s films, homosexual and transgender characters are embraced in a natural way. LGBT characters do not need to come out as they are already sexually liberated.
#2. Frida Kahlo – Artist
Apart from being one of the most recognised artists from the 20th century, Frida Kahlo was also recognised for having declared herself bisexual. Frida used her work and fashion to confront beauty standards and role genders, as well as to deal with taboo subjects, such as female sexuality or infertility. Her paintings give deeply personal insight into the female experience, especially that of a disabled, queer experience during a time it was anything but OK to be that. Nowadays, Kahlo stands as one of the most iconic LGBT Hispanic figures.
#3. Federico García Lorca – Poet & Playwright
Federico García Lorca is considered the most influential poet and playwright from the Spanish literature. From an early age, he met the brutality and disdain of the archaic and homophobic Spanish society of the beginning of the 20th century.
Federico was murdered in 1936, during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), due to his homosexuality and Republican ideology. After his death, there was an attempt to erase his sexual orientation in order to preserve the value of his work. Even though homosexuality is encrypted in Lorca’s plays and poems, its presence cannot be denied.
Lorca’s readers couldn’t help but wonder about the masterpieces he could’ve written if he hadn’t been mudered because of his sexual orientation and political ideas.
#4. Gloria Fuertes – Writer & Poet
Gloria Fuertes is one of the greatest figures of children’s literature. However, she was locked in her own fairytales. It was not until recently that his adult poetry was brought to life. Gloria couldn’t openly show her homosexuality since she feared the reaction of her main readers, who were parents and children. In one of her poems, she even defined herself as the Patron of Forbidden Love. We just hope that Gloria’s work, both her children’s stories and her most intimate poetry, survive.
#5. Sylvia Rivera – Activist
Latina, queer and drag queen, Sylvia Rivera is recognised as one of the pioneers in protecting the rights of the LGTB community. With her close friend Marsha P. Johnson, she co-founded the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR), dedicated to helping homeless transgender women.
Until her last day, Rivera remained a passionate advocate for queer youth, which is why she is considered a key LGBT Hispanic figure.
#6. Orlando Cruz – Professional Boxer
Known as “El Fenómeno”, Orlando Cruz is a Puerto Rican professional boxer. In 2012 he publicly declared his homosexuality, saying “I have and will always be a proud Puerto Rican. I have always been and always will be a proud gay man”. Every time he steps in a ring, Cruz fights for acceptance, both his own and that of the LGBTQ community he represents.
#7. La Xóchitl – Queer artist
La Xóchitl is probably one of the least known people of this list. Popularly known as La reina de reinas (Queen of queens), La Xóchitl was a transvestite during the 1970s in Mexico. She promoted the first Pride Parade in Mexico, and defended the community in an era full of prejudices. We know very little of what happend to La Xóchitl after the 1980s, but there is no doubt that she was a key LGBT Hispanic figure.
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