GBM News posts its top gay celebrities of color

CNN anchor tops GBM News' list.

Over the weekend, GBM News executive editor Nathan James posted his top 15 gay celebs of color. His list started as a response to  MSN’s Wonderwall listing of its top queer celebs wielding the most influence, but was also noticeably lacking in its diverse demographics (save for Perez Hilton, who is of Cuban descent).

James’ list introduces some gay celebs people might not immediately consider such as singer Tracy Chapman at No. 8 or CNN anchor Don Lemon at the top of the list. But I’m not really sure how he figures in Noah’s Arc alum Darryl Stephens’ guest stint on Private Practice at No. 11 as influential or RuPaul’s relatively low ranking at No. 7. While he does include George Takei in the mix, his list lacks any Latinos. That begs the question: Where is Ricky Martin?  From James on GBM News:

One of the “interesting” things about their list, was that there wasn’t a single gay celebrity of color on it. I bethought myself to rectify that oversight by creating and publishing my own list of the 15 most powerful gay celebrities of color. The response I got from that piece was, by far, the most overwhelming public reaction to any article I’d ever written up to that time. Some applauded my choices, others vehemently disagreed with them, and still others asked why their own personal choices missed the cut. Well, this year, I’m at it again, with a completely new list that’s sure to provoke more debate and stir more passionate discussion.  Submitted for your approval, here are my picks for the fifteen most powerful gay celebrities for 2012!

Of course, these lists are all subjective, but James thankfully adds to the conversation of who gays and lesbians may see as influential within the community.

 

—  Rich Lopez

‘¡Gaytino!’ tonight at Latino Cultural Center

Latin flair

Growing up gay and Latino can be a tough hand to play. In a culture that revels in religion and machismo — hell, the word “machismo” is Latino — coming out poses pitfalls.

But Dan Guerrero lucked out. With some artsy upbringing by a musician dad and a not-so-practicing Catholic background, Guerrero’s closet was easy to open. In fact, it was harder for him just to be Hispanic.

“Los Angeles never made me feel like I was good enough,” he says. “I fell in love with musicals in junior high. I wanted to hear Julie Andrews in Camelot! Who gives a rat’s ass about mariachi?”

His dad might have given one. He was famed musician Lala Guerrero, the father of Chicano music who popularized the Pachuco sound in the 1940s (the beats most associated with Zoot suits and swing dancing).

“The main reason I did the show is, I wanted to know more about my dad and my best friend. I was already fabulous,” he laughs. “So I don’t think of this as my story. I wanted to embrace his legacy and celebrate him and our lives, but also tell of being a born-again Hispanic.”

—  Rich Lopez

Latin flair

comedy
MUY FUNNY | Dan Guerrero works for laughs while being gay and Latino in his one-man show.

Before he could write ‘¡Gaytino!,’ Dan Guerrero first had to find his roots

rich lopez  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

Growing up gay and Latino can be a tough hand to play. In a culture that revels in religion and machismo — hell, the word “machismo” is Latino — coming out poses pitfalls.

But Dan Guerrero lucked out. With some artsy upbringing by a musician dad and a not-so-practicing Catholic background, Guerrero’s closet was easy to open. In fact, it was harder for him just to be Hispanic.

“Los Angeles never made me feel like I was good enough,” he says. “I fell in love with musicals in junior high. I wanted to hear Julie Andrews in Camelot! Who gives a rat’s ass about mariachi?”

His dad might have given one. He was famed musician Lala Guerrero, the father of Chicano music who popularized the Pachuco sound in the 1940s (the beats most associated with Zoot suits and swing dancing). While Guerrero appreciated his father’s legacy, he established his own identity by moving to New York to become an actor. That didn’t work out so much, but becoming an agent did.

“It was kind of by accident, but I ended up being an agent for 15 years,” he says. “I got into producing and I loved it.”

Although he stepped away from performing, Guerrero finds himself back onstage Friday and Saturday at the Latino Cultural Center with ¡Gaytino! The autobiographical one-man show is part comedy, part cabaret, with Guerrero recounting in lyrics and punch lines his experiences growing up gay and Latino, life with father … and having to rediscover his roots after moving back to L.A.

“The main reason I did the show is, I wanted to know more about my dad and my best friend. I was already fabulous,” he laughs. “So I don’t think of this as my story. I wanted to embrace his legacy and celebrate him and our lives, but also tell of being a born-again Hispanic.”

In L.A., Guerrero rediscovered his heritage. While still working in entertainment, he noticed a lack of Latinos behind the scenes. He started a column in Dramalogue to change that, interviewing actors like Jimmy Smits and Salma Hayek and producing shows that spoke to Latin audiences.

And then came ¡Gaytino!

“Well, the word itself hit me first so I trademarked it. Then it was madness as I set about writing it,” he says.

When the show debuted in 2005, Guerrero hadn’t performed in 35 years. He was a different man, no longer a young buck with nothing to lose and untarnished optimism. He was a behind-the-scenes producer and casting agent. He was — gasp! — older.

“I remember thinking, ‘What am I gonna do? What if I forget my lines?’ I’m an old codger,” he says. “But I got onstage and it was like I had did it the day before. Performing is just part of who I am.”

With his successful day job (he once repped a young Sarah Jessica Parker), a healthy relationship (32 years this November) and irons in many other fires, why bother with the daunting task of writing a show and carrying it alone?

“It still feels like I’m breaking into show business. At least when you’ve been around as long as I have, you can get the main cheese by phone,” he answers. “But really, I had something I wanted to say and I love doing it. I’ve been lucky to stay in the game this long but it’s not by accident; it’s all been by design.”

What he loves isn’t just doing his show, but how it pushes positive gay Latino images. He’s dedicated this chapter in his life to that. Guerrero now feels parental toward the younger generation — maybe because he has no children of his own.

“I do feel a responsibility and not just to younger people, but to all,” he says. “For ¡Gaytino!, I first want them entertained, but I hope audiences will leave more educated about some Chicano culture and history and Gaytino history.”

……………………………………

QUEER CLIP: ‘BEGINNERS’

screen

 

Beginners is such a dreadfully forgettable and generic title for what is the year’s most engaging and heartfelt comedy, you feel like boycotting a review until the distributor gives it a title it deserves.

Certainly the movie itself — a quirky, humane and fantastical reverie about the nature of love and family, with Ewan McGregor as a doleful graphic artist who, six months after his mother dies, learns his 75-year-old dad (Christopher Plummer) is gay and wants to date — charts its own course (defiantly, respectfully, beautifully), navigating the minefield of relationships from lovers to parent/child with simple emotions. It’s not a movie that would presume to answer the Big Questions (when do you know you’ve met the right one? And if they aren’t, how much does that matter anyway?); it’s comfortable observing that we’re all in the same boat, and doing our best is good enough.

McGregor’s placid befuddlement over how he should react to things around him — both his father’s coming out and a flighty but delightful French actress (Melanie Laurent) who tries to pull him out of his shell — is one of the most understated and soulful performances of his career. (His relationship with Arthur, his father’s quasi-psychic Jack Russell, is winsome and winning without veering into Turner & Hooch idiocy.) But Plummer owns the film.

Plummer, best known for his blustery, villainous characters (even the heroic ones, like Capt. Von Trapp and Mike Wallace), exudes an aura of wonder and discovery as the septuagenarian with the hot younger boyfriend (Goran Visnjic, both exasperating as cuddly). As he learns about house music at a time when his contemporaries crave Lawrence Welk, you’re wowed by how the performance seethes with the lifeforce of someone coming out and into his own. His energy is almost shaming.

Writer/director Mike Mills’ semi-autobiographical film suffers only being underlit and over too quickly. It wouldn’t be a bad thing to spend more time with these folks.

—Arnold Wayne Jones

Rating: Four and half stars
Now playing at Landmark’s Magnolia Theatre.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 10, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Gay Radio Novella will be broadcast to Latino Farm Workers in California

Considering how the comedy “Will and Grace” moved social acceptance of gay rights forward in our country, the more serious radionovela, “Bienvenidos a Casa,” or “Welcome Home,” is a great idea. It features the story of a gay teenager who is rejected by latino society then accepted by his mother, then his neighbors:

Activists say it’s the first time information about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues is reaching rural Latino farmworker communities in a language and format that’s accessible.

The three-episode radionovela, developed in collaboration with San Francisco State University and California Rural Legal Assistance, was based on input from community focus groups and performed by community volunteers.

Many Latinos grew up listening to radionovelas, which in some parts of Latin America are more popular than television and have inspired the creation of telenovelas – TV soap operas. The radio dramas depict life’s struggles through recurring characters and themes. In recent years, short radionovelas have become an increasingly popular way to raise awareness of various issues among Latino audiences in the U.S.

Welcome change for a culture that is used to ridiculing and trumpeting negative stereotypes. Latino entertainment has been in dire need of positive messages regarding acceptance of differing sexual orientations and gender expression.

Note from Joe: This is a pretty cool development — and can only help with potential allies. Last year, polling in California showed that Latino Catholics are actually strong supporters of marriage equality. Family matters.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  David Taffet

Gay Latino Hero: Daniel Hernandez, Jr. saved Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ life

Daniel Hernandez, Jr. was the right man in the right place at the right time.  Just five days into his internship for Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford, the 20-year old college student was checking people into Rep. Gifford’s “Congress on Your Corner” event when the shooting started.

According to Arizona Republic, Hernandez started assisting victims before the shooting even stopped.

When the shots began that morning, he saw many people lying on the ground, including a young girl. Some were bleeding. Hernandez said he moved from person to person checking pulses.

“First the neck, then the wrist,” he said. One man was already dead. Then he saw Giffords. She had fallen and was lying contorted on the sidewalk. She was bleeding.

Using his hand, Hernandez applied pressure to the entry wound on her forehead. He pulled her into his lap, holding her upright against him so she wouldn’t choke on her own blood. [snip]

Hernandez used his hand to apply pressure until someone from inside Safeway brought him clean smocks from the meat department. He used them to apply pressure on the entrance wound, unaware there was an exit wound. He never let go of her.

He stayed with Giffords until paramedics arrived. They strapped her to a board and loaded her into an ambulance. Hernandez climbed in with her. On the ride to the hospital, he held her hand. She squeezed his back.

Hernandez’s immediate actions probably saved her life, a hospital physician said.

Daniel is a Latino man.  According to Dallas Voice, Daniel is also gay and a member of the City of Tucson Commission on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Issues.

Like Mark Bingham, the gay rugby player who helped thwart the plans of the 911 hijackers on Flight 93, and like the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender soldiers still serving in silence in our military under threat of expulsion, Daniel’s actions remind us that LGBT Americans are actively serving society.  A society that is over 90% heterosexual.

Like U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Colorado Supreme Court Justice Monica Marquez and Speaker of the California Assembly John Pérez, Daniel’s actions remind us that Latino Americans are actively serving society at large, a society that is 85% non-Latino.

Andr?s Duque from Blabbeando so beautifully encapsulates the significance of Daniel Hernandez’s actions to the Latino and LGBT communities:

Of course, from the accounts, Daniel is a hero regardless of whether he’s Latino or gay or Irish or purple.

But it’s striking that in a state that has unfortunately become a national standard-bearer for some of the worst xenophobic sentiments in the current political climate, it IS a Latino man who happens to be gay who decided to stay by Congresswoman’s Giffords’ side and might very well have saved her life.

I can’t help but be moved at how such a selfless gesture can cut straight through all those efforts to demonize Latinos – or gays – specially in light of recent events in Arizona.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

GUEST POST: Addressing the AIDS Crisis in the Latino Community

The following is a guest post by Paul Kawata, Executive Director of the National Minority AIDS Council:

Today is National Latino AIDS Awareness Day and an important opportunity for those of us on the front lines of the struggle against HIV/AIDS to consider the needs of this underserved and growing population.

Despite making up just 15 percent of America’s population, they account for 18 percent of people living with HIV/AIDS.  The rate of infection among Latino men and women is three and four times higher, respectively, than their white counterparts.

But this disturbing trend is even more acute within the gay Latino community.  More than half (55 percent) of all Latinos diagnosed with HIV are men who have sex with men (MSM).  And of all new HIV infections among MSM, 19 percent are Latino.

Infection rates are particularly high among gay Latino youth.  43 percent of all newly infected Latino MSM are between the ages of 13 and 29.  Perhaps even more startling, a recent study of 21 major American cities found that among gay Latino youth infected with HIV, 6 out of 10 were unaware of their status.

Addressing the specific needs of this community is not only a moral imperative, it’s critical for the health of our nation.  As of 2008, more than one in five children in the U.S. under the age of 18 were Latino.  This ratio is even greater (one in four) for children under five.  Our nation’s population growth is being driven by the Latino community, and this trend will only continue.

The convergence of risk factors within the Latino community poses a serious public health concern, but also offers hope.  With more than one-third of the population under the age of 18, comprehensive and culturally appropriate sex education programs could have a significant impact on HIV prevention efforts.

What’s more, because children of immigrants often serve as translators and cultural liaisons for adults in their homes, these programs could assist in the dissemination of information to adult populations as well.

Educating young Latinos about the indiscriminate nature of HIV/AIDS may also assist in removing the stigma associated with the disease, particularly for gay Latinos.  But this cannot be done without engaging in a public dialogue about both this disease and its impact on our Latino brothers and sisters.

On this National Latino AIDS Awareness Day, I hope you’ll join me in that dialogue.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright

Long Island Latino Legislator Could Make NY Marriage History

When Dave Mejias was elected to the Nassau County Legislature in 2003, he became the first Latino to serve in that body (his parents are Cuban and Ecuadorean).

He was re-elected in 2005 and continues to represent a district whose Latino population is growing rapidly.

Now running for state Senate, Mejias could make history again by beating a 20-year incumbent in this swing district and becoming the tipping-point vote for marriage equality.

During a recent discussion with Mejias, I was impressed with this religious man’s passionate support for marriage equality and his enthusiasm and focus on running a  winning campaign.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright

Valiente, HRC team up for 2nd diversity roundtable

On Thursday, Nov. 19, Valiente, an organization for LGBT Latinos and their allies, and the local Human Rights Campaign Diversity Committee will present the second in a series of roundtable discussions aimed at increasing the level of collaboration between LGBT organizations for people of color and mainstream LGBT organizations.

The first such meeting was held in August. At the Thursday meeting, participants will brainstorm ways to improve community collaboration through collective support. They will also review and discuss additional points from an HRC report on LGBT organizations and diversity.

The meeting begins at 6 p.m. at Monica’s Aca Y Alla, 2914 Main St. in Deep Ellum. For more information, call Darriane Martin or Fernie Sanchez at 214-521-5191, or e-mail dmartin@aidsarms.org or fsanchez@aidsarms.org.

—  admin