Hispanic Heritage Month: A Story Collection

A Collection of Voices to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

About This Story Collection

As Hispanic Heritage Month draws to a close it’s important to lift up the voices of Hispanic and Latinx LGBTQ people, who may face discrimination on multiple levels, including their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Transgender Latina Makes a Difference for Her Texas Community

Ana Andrea Molina • Houston, TX

ana andrea molina at podium

Photo Courtesy Equality Texas

After a group of transgender Latina women in Texas faced discrimination when using a restroom, Ana Andrea Molina, who is transgender and Latina herself, created Organización Latina de Trans en Texas. The organization, founded in 2015, works to defend, support, and provide resources for the transgender Latina community. Additionally, she created a Casa Anandrea, a meeting place and temporary shelter for transgender Latinas. Molina, a Christian and a proud Texan, works tirelessly to help her sisters in the transgender Latina community get the resources they need to flourish. “Not only do we understand what it means to be discriminated against just by being who we are, but we are commanded to use that experience to offer our hand and protect the vulnerable among us.” Read her full story here.

Florida Conservative Fights to Protect LGBTQ People From Discrimination

Jessica Fernandez • Miami, FL

jessica fernandez photo

Photo Courtesy Jennifer Fernandez

As a Republican, Jessica Fernandez knows that the impression some people have of her political party is one that is hostile toward LGBTQ people. However, for herself and so many other conservative Americans, LGBTQ equality is a fundamental, bipartisan issue. It’s a reflection of core conservative values. Jessica is passionate about this fight, working every day to change this pervasive perception and bring LGBTQ protections into the conversation among conservatives. Jessica also continues work in her home state of Florida to pass a statewide nondiscrimination law there.

“As an American, as a conservative, I believe the ability to have success that comes through hard work shouldn’t be denied to anybody. This is not political.” Read her full story here.

An LGBTQ Undocumented Immigrant Creates a Welcoming Community

Ximena Ospina-Vargas • New York, NY

Ximena was born in Colombia but moved to Elizabeth, NJ in the United States with her family at the age of five. Much of her inspiration for a fight for queer justice is her own experiences with reparative therapy, bullying, and homelessness, which taught her the value of solidarity and belonging to a community.

ximena ospina vargas headshot

Photo Courtesy Point Foundation

As an undocumented person, Ximena was unable to access FAFSA, and so when she began attending university, she paid her tuition in cash, working in a variety of industries to pay the bills.Through her work, she seeks to amplify the visibility of the queer immigrant community. Her activism and writing have led her to be featured on MIC.com, NowThis, Refinery29, DemocracyNow, The Columbia Spectator, Telemundo, People en Español, and others.

“Undocumented queer folks…it’s so hard for us to have spaces to come together. I’m just glad my work basically has been to put me in touch with people like me.” Read her full story here. 

Married Restaurant Owners Believe Businesses Should Be Open to All

Carlos Jaime Renteria • Wichita, KS

Photo Courtesy Carlos & Jaime Renteria

Married couple Carlos and Jaime Renteria own an acclaimed Mexican restaurant in Wichita, Kansas. The men met in Dallas but later moved to be closer to Carlos’ family in Wichita, where they opened their restaurant and were welcomed by the community. Over time, they’ve expanded their business into a larger, fuller space.

Both Carlos and Jaime say that their desire to provide the best experience for their customers is their number one priority, and they would never turn someone away for their personal beliefs, race, national origin, faith, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other reason.

Carlos says, “I couldn’t begin to imagine saying to someone, ‘I won’t serve you because your beliefs don’t match mine.’ We just want people to enjoy themselves while they’re here, plain and simple. Being a business owner is an opportunity to serve our community.” Read their full story here.

Read more stories of Latinx and Hispanic LGBTQ people and allies at our Faces of Freedom story collection site!

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