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Latinx Queer Icons to Celebrate

Jennicet Gutiérrez is an activist for transgender rights and immigrant rights. A founding member of La Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement, much of her activist work supports trans women detained for their immigration status. She was named on Out magazine's Out100 list in 2015.

Denice Frohman is a queer spoken-word artist. She writes about her struggles as a queer minority and is a part of many LGBTQ Latinx organizations. She won Women of the World Slam Poetry in 2013, the same year she won Creative Artist of the Year at the Hispanic Choice Awards.

Frida Kahlo (1907-1954), a Mexican woman who had multiple disabilities including polio as a child and spinal and pelvis damage from a car accident, became a world-renowned self-portrait painter. She has since served as a role model for generations of artists, people with disabilities and bisexual women.

Julio Salgado is a gay Mexican-born artist who grew up in Long Beach, California. Through the use of art Salgado has become a well-known activist within the DREAM Act movement. Salgado uses his art to empower undocumented and queer people by telling their story and putting a human face to the issue.

Gloria Evangelina Anzaldúa (1942-2004) was an internationally recognized cultural scholar of Chicana theory, queer theory, and feminist theory. Anzaldúa’s semi-autobiographical book Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza consists of prose and poems detailing the invisible “borders” that exist between Latinx and non-Lantinx people, genders, sexualities, and other groups.

Dennis deLeon (1948-2009) was the president of the Latino Commission on AIDS and helped grow the organization to what it is today. He helped translate HIV information into Spanish, worked with Spanish-speaking churches to build a network of AIDS prevention programs, and brought the organization from a staff of 5 to 45.

Ray Navarro (1964-1990) was a Chicano artist and activist who co-founded the Latino Caucus of the direct action organization ACT UP in New York City. He was also a member of DIVA TV (Damned Interfering Video Activists) documenting community activism and the public testimonies around the fight against AIDS. In 1989, he filmed an ACT UP demonstration at St. Patrick’s Cathedral dressed as Jesus Christ.

Holly Woodlawn (1948-2009), like Christina Hayworth, was also a trans woman born in Puerto Rico and present at the Stonewall Riots. She was thrust into the national spotlight when she starred in the Andy Warhol films Trash and Women in Revolt (1971). She also wrote a memoir, A Low Life in High Heels (1991), and her estate helped create the Holly Woodlawn Memorial Fund for Transgender Youth in L.A.