Carmen Carrera has blazed the trail as a successful trans model, actress and advocate. The Peruvian-Puerto Rican-American has partnered with Spotify‘s “Soundtrack De Mi Vida” campaign to bring attention to the LGBTQ+ community and their fight for equality. Through this collaboration, Carrera wants to inspire the Latino and LGBTQ+ communities to hold conversations that demystify myths about trans people and break down the importance of respect and inclusion. Carrera spoke to mitú about her Spotify playlist and the state of LGBTQ+ rights in the country.
Trans model and activist Carmen Carrera is using her Spotify playlist to uplift LTBGQ+ youth.
“This is a great opportunity to share the songs that uplifted me as a child. They influenced me for the better to stay positive and to understand that a lot of these circumstances are temporary,” Carrera says.
“I’m happy I was chosen because who I am comes from intersectionality. I’m so many different things,” she adds. “I actually listen to this myself. I listen to this playlist when I’m riding my bike; when I’m in warrior mode, so to speak.”
And she is most inspired to give Latinx LGBTQ+ youth representation and hope.
“To be included in doing Latino and LGBTQ activism means a lot to me because it makes my family proud,” Carrera says of her partnership with Spotify. “Aside from the other activism work I am doing, as Latinos, it means a lot for us to stick together. We have a lot of those same morals and traditions that many other Latin families have too. It’s my chance to be proud of who I am and to uplift others. That’s the most important part of any activism work: to spread the tools that have worked for you to lift people’s spirits.”
Her advocacy for LGBTQ+ youth doesn’t stop in the U.S.
Carrera has spread her message all the way to South America. During a press tour in Mexico and Colombia, she created dialogue with reporters to learn their views and perceptions of the LGBTQ+ community in the region. She believes finding common ground is a great place to start important dialogue.
“What I’ve learned while traveling is that people are so dedicated to their traditions and their culture,” Carrera says. “Maybe we should immerse ourselves into our traditions and our culture where we come from in order to have something to relate to with people in the cisgender community or the heterosexual community. So we can have this conversation and try to open up the lines of communication and unity.”
Part of that important dialogue has to be LGBTQ+ Latinx building themselves up.
Carrera acknowledges that there is fear in being visible and out as a LGBTQ+ person of color. She believes that being visible is important to taking away fears and changing the minds and perceptions of those who don’t understand the community. As for those who are more hesitant to accept LGBTQ+ people, Carrera says they are the ones who are the least educated about the LGBTQ+ community.
It’s because of the acceptance and love of people around her that Carrera was able to start the journey to becoming herself.
Since before her transition, Carrera has looked up to Jennifer Lopez, even though “every Latino these days probably says that,” she jokes.
“Throughout the years, she’d watch me. I saw her at the GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) Awards and she congratulated me. Then I saw her again in Vegas at her concert and she asked me how things were going,” Carrera says. “It was just so good to know that someone else that comes from a similar background like me and who I have similar struggles with, other than being Latinx, [supports me]. It was just good to know that she was supportive and that she still watches so that really inspires me to be better.”
“I feel like it is important [to be visible right now] because I have nothing to hide,” Carrera says.
Carrera made history in 2015 when she was the first trans person to get married on reality tv on the series finale of “Couples Therapy with Dr. Jenn.” She believes her visibility also allows her to define herself on her own terms instead of people defining her for themselves.
By being visible, Carrera is showing that she refuses to go back into the shadows and will continue to live as she is.
“This is the most important time to continue being visible and continue to be brave. There’s strength in numbers,” Carrera says. “We can all be united via social media and we have so much of a platform right now and it’s about time that we show up.”
Carrera wants young people in her community to know that their situation is not permanent. Things change.
“I’m having conversations with my closest family members now that I wouldn’t have thought I’d have five years ago about my transition,” Carrera says. “People are more open-minded and people are aware of what’s happening and what needs to happen.”
“Humans, for the most part, don’t look to discriminate,” Carrera says.
Carrera argues that people are not predisposed to discriminate against people. Instead, they are taught to think that way when they are younger and grow up with that mentality. That means that breaking down that kind of thinking and perception will also take time.
“Anyone that’s in school understands that when you’re learning something new, you don’t learn it overnight,” Carrera explains.
But, there has been some progress in starting a conversation around gender.
Katie Couric was on the receiving end of some education about how to discuss trans issues by Carrera in 2014. Couric asked a personal question that bothered Carrera and because of that Couric began to explore gender in the modern era.
“I feel like it’s really important to continue explaining, because it’s all the language. How are people going to understand who we are until the topic is discussed in different ways so people can understand it from all walks of life,” Carrera explains. “Some people don’t understand it when you are plain and simple and you’re like, ‘Hey, listen I was born in the wrong body.’ Some people don’t get that so you have to continue to break it down and I think that documentaries like [Gender Revolution] are so important.”
Despite the successes the LGBTQ+ community has seen over recent years, Carrera still thinks there’s more to do.
My mother and grandmother came from South America and I was first-generation here,” Carrera explains. “There was a lot of that idea of pushing forward and doing whatever you can to make the life that you deserve to have in this country. We just have to keep going.”
You can check out Carmen Carrera’s playlist below.