September 15 – October 15 is recognized as Latinx Heritage Month, a time to honor and celebrate the diversity and vibrancy of Latinx history and culture. The Trevor Project works to support Latinx LGBTQ youth year-round by providing 24/7 crisis services, advocating for intersectional policy solutions, and amplifying their unique experiences and challenges through research and education.
To commemorate this month and show our support for Latinx LGBTQ youth, we asked several of our Latinx LGBTQ celebrity and influencer supporters to share what this month means to them and to offer advice on navigating the unique intersections of their identities.
Jason Rodriguez (he/him)
Actor, Dancer, Model and Entrepreneur
What do you think about the intersectional identities that you hold, such as being both queer and Latinx?
I love them both, the good and the bad.
Both trace from environments of culture that cultivated who I am today. My roots are from Dominican Republic where I was partially raised. My love of water, animals, sun, rice and beans comes from there. My love of dance and music comes from seeing folks dance in kioscos en Moca. As a kid wanting to stand up and bachata to the beat.
My queerness is rooted as a member from ballroom. Having availability and accessibility to whom to call mother and father, brothers and sisters. Being blessed with the art of vogue passed on by others within ballroom. The intersection begins and ends with me.
What would you say to LGBTQ youth who are navigating the intersections of their own identities?
The road is never ending and remember that the driver is you. Embrace every turn, highway and pit stop that your road to identify has to offer.
Laith Ashley (he/him)
Singer/Songwriter, Model, Actor, and Activist
I love being Latino, and I love being trans. My life experiences, my culture, having been raised in New York City, navigating my gender identity, has all been part of this life journey that has made me who I am, and I wouldn’t change any of it. It’s not always easy. Discrimination for simply existing within these marginalized identities in our society, will happen. But, I like to think of these moments as an opportunity to make change, even if it seems like an impossible task.
For all the young queer folks navigating the intersections in their identities, I would say, to be kind to yourselves. Know that it’s okay to explore your identity, and know that no one has all the answers.
*Mondo prefers no pronouns to be listed
Designer and HIV Advocate
At the age of 43, I am still figuring out how being queer and Latinx shapes who I am.
When there’s a box, I always check “x” for Hispanic or Latino. I grew up in the ’80s when my grandfather used the word Chicano. But at the same time, I learned about my Mexican roots in a predominately white suburb. It was all very confusing. I still am very insecure that I never learned to speak Spanish.
Eventually, I started to live my truth through my passions for music and fashion. As I became more confident, my work helped me understand and cherish my individual life and family experiences.
The way I think about myself never just clicked. It’s never easy. It still takes work.
I have to look at myself, stand up for myself, love myself, and make an effort to find happiness. It will always be an evolving journey, and now I know it’s a constant adventure that fuels creativity by sparking new ideas and inspiring me to try new things.