El Amor

Latinxs Imagine What Their Families Will Look Like When They Have Kids

When you’re a Latinx, it’s pretty easy to understand the ways in which media normalizes the not so normal. Today, 55 million Latinos live in the United States, but you wouldn’t know that by watching your television set. In fact, in 2016, only 5.8 percent of speaking roles in movies and television went to Latinos. For members of the queer community, the numbers don’t get much better. According to GLAAD, in 2016, only 43, 4.8%, of the 895 series regular characters to appear on broadcast primetime scripted programming were identified as queer, trans, gay, lesbian or bisexual.

But families and the dream for families in the LGBTQ community exist and they thrive. Especially amongst Latinxs. This past weekend, while celebrating LA Pride FIERCE interviewed 5 Latinxs, some who inspire to have families, others who already have them.

The Latinx who imagines being in love with her family.

“I see myself having a family in the future. It looks like being happy and having a little one running around. Just having a happy life, both of us. Just doing what we love: loving each other. Being together.” — Cylvia Rodriguez

On seeing a life with adopted children who get a fresh start.

“I definitely imagine myself with a family. I identify as queer, so that could be with a man or a woman but I do imagine myself adopting children. I really want to adopt a child to give them another chance at life. My most important thing would be to want to make them never feel like they have to come out to me, that they know I would love them no matter what.” — Ava Nicole

They want a family where anything is possible

“We don’t have a family yet. But having a family looks great. I’m excited. I’m in the navy so I’m waiting to get out so that we can start. When I came out about being gay I didn’t think it was possible [to have kids] because it was scary. I’m a little older than the generation now coming out [and] it seems a little easier [for them]. But, before, it was terrifying. I didn’t think [having a family] was possible just because I didn’t want them to go through scrutiny.” — Dominique

Wanting a family of pups.

“To be honest I can see myself having dogs in the future, I’m not a dog type, but that’s not for me.” — Naomi

She already has kids but still dreams of a day when homophobia won’t divide them.

“I always knew I was going to have a family. I just thought the situation would be different. My children, I love them with all of my heart. I do really hope that they can accept who I am. They don’t live with me right now, their father is not accepting of who I am but I hope that that as they grow and see me, that they understand that who I am is okay.” — Liz Gomez

Read: For Pride, Latinxs Share Their Most Meaningful Coming Out Experiences

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In Chile, This School For Transgender Students Allows Kids To Learn In A Safe And Affirming Environment

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In Chile, This School For Transgender Students Allows Kids To Learn In A Safe And Affirming Environment

Bullying and discrimination can make school feel impossible for transgender students. In Chile, many queer youth stop attending class to avoid intimidation, often falling behind or even dropping out. Amaranta Gomez School, an institution for transgender students in Santiago, Chile, is trying to change that.

Founded by the Selenna Foundation, an organization in the South American country protecting trans rights, in 2017, the school offers youth between the ages of six and 17 courses on math, science, history and English as well as workshops on art and photography. About 22 students attend the school, with an additional six expected to join soon. They are assigned to one of two classrooms based on their age.

“I’m happy here because there are many other kids just like me,” Alexis, a 6-year-old student who was bullied at his previous school, told the Associated Press.

A 2016 report by UNESCO said that in Latin America, school violence against students based on sexual orientation or gender identity harms “the development of the affected people, school coexistence, academic performance and, consequently, their permanence in school.”

Teachers at Amaranta Gomez, which was named after muxe activist and anthropologist Amanranta Gónez Regalado, work pro bono. In its first year, all school expenses were paid the Selenna Foundation’s president Evelyn Silva’s and the institution’s coordinator Ximena Maturana’s personal savings.

Starting in March, families will have to pay about $7 a month for their child to attend.

“We try to reduce the costs to the minimum (for families) so that they don’t say that (kids) are not attending because they don’t have pencils, and it becomes a reason to leave school,” Silva said.

Even with limited funds, the foundation has created a summer school program that offers dance and additional workshops to about 20 children, including some who do not attend Amaranta Gomez.

The school, the first of its kind in Latin America, is creating a safe space where children can learn, feel affirmed and have community.

“I feel free and happy here,” said Felipe, 15. “The environment is very good. Everyone who arrives is simply accepted.”

Read: Latinx Kindergarten Teacher Pens Bilingual Children’s Book To Teach Youth About Gender-Neutral Pronouns

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Autopsy Report Shows Roxsana Hernández Rodriguez Was Physically Abused During ICE Detention Before She Died

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Autopsy Report Shows Roxsana Hernández Rodriguez Was Physically Abused During ICE Detention Before She Died

The news is currently filled with images and stories of the current migrant refugee caravan that is Tijuana, but another migration took place earlier this year, which gives an important look at the consequences of not providing humanitarian aid to those seeking asylum.  Earlier this year we reported on the death of Roxsana Hernandez Rodriguez, a 33-year-old Honduran trans woman, who was seeking asylum with a caravan traveling to the U.S.

The caravan had been traveling since April, by foot, from Central America to the U.S. border. In May, Rodriguez — also known as Roxana Hernandez — was captured by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and died about two weeks after being detained. At the time ICE released a statement saying that Rodriguez died from symptoms of pneumonia, dehydration, and complications associated with HIV. But now we know Rodriguez experienced much more than just symptoms from an illness.

A newly released autopsy report revealed  Rodriguez had been beaten inside a detention unit for transgender women.

Rodriguez died on May 25 at the Lovelace Medical Center in Albuquerque but had been detained on May 13 and held at the the transgender unit at Cibola County Correctional Center in Milan, New Mexico. According to the Daily Beast, it’s unclear when the abuse took place because Rodriguez was transferred to a local hospital just one day after being detained at the Cibola County Correctional Center. She remained in intensive care until she died.

Forensic pathologist Kris Sperry released a report that said Rodriguez had visible marks on her body that showed she had been abused including “deep bruising on her rib cage and deep contusions on her back, which were ‘indicative of blows, and/or kicks, and possible strikes with a blunt object,'” the Washington Post reports. Sperry’s findings comes from the second autopsy conducted on Rodriguez.

“According to observations of other detainees who were with Ms. Hernández Rodriguez, the diarrhea and vomiting episodes persisted over multiple days with no medical evaluation or treatment, until she was gravely ill,” Sperry wrote. Sperry also concluded that Hernandez had “thin bruises” on her back and sides, and “extensive hemorrhaging” on both her wrists. He said these markings are “typical of handcuff injuries.”

The Transgender Law Center has filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of her family.

When Rodriguez first began walking with the caravan earlier this year, she said that she was fleeing because of violence she faced in her home country along with discrimination as a transgender woman.

Her reasoning is much like the LGBT group that is also seeking asylum but remain in Tijuana.

READ: LGBTQ Refugee Group Separates From Caravan And Are First To Arrive At the U.S./Mexico Border

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