Starvoice • 12.10.10

By Jack Fertig

CELEBRITY BIRTHDAY

Benjamin Bratt turns 47 on Thursday. The hunky actor has always been easy on the eyes, but more so with gay audiences in this past year. He starred in La Mission earlier this year, a film about homophobia within the Latino community of San Francisco. Way back in January 2010, he guest starred on the gay-friendly hit comedy, Modern Family.

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THIS WEEK

Mercury backing into Pluto, Mars and the North Node, all in Capricorn, may unleash a torrent of backlogged work, ancient regrets, old failures and feeling old. Face up to the hard work that remains before you. Learn from past mistakes, shrug off useless distractions and focus on priorities.

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SAGITTARIUS  Nov 22-Dec 20
Problems with money and errors in accounts are surfacing. They indicate deeper problems and will require work. Focus on the clean up phase for now. You can solve this one step at a time.

CAPRICORN  Dec 21-Jan 19

Neglected duties and responsibilities bite you on the ass if you don’t turn around and face up to them. Worrying takes more energy than dealing with them —stress makes you look older.

AQUARIUS  Jan 20-Feb 18

Your worst nightmares prove a blessing in disguise. Dig deep into your fears and see what’s behind them. To conquer those fears, do charity work for those who have suffered.

PISCES  Feb 19-Mar 19
The future is looking dark, but a rude shock will help you see flaws. It could be either worse or better than you imagine. It will be very different. Find a safe space to scream, just to let it out.

ARIES  Mar 20-Apr 19
Your engine to success is heading toward a train wreck. Backtracking is necessary for course correction. Look at those who’ve gotten where you want and learn from their examples.

TAURUS  Apr 20-May 20
Everything you know is wrong. Joining arguments can help you discard obsolete notions and get more insight. Phrases like “playing devil’s advocate” offer wiggle room.

GEMINI  May 21-Jun 20
You need a good challenge to explore new depths, whether in the bedroom, in meditation or in a library. Exploring kink is fine, but be very careful. Save erotic asphyxiation for another time.

CANCER  Jun 21-Jul 22
Every relationship has problems, and you are hitting a perfect storm. This will pass. Single or coupled, think hard about the necessary work that goes into a good partnership.

LEO  Jul 23-Aug 22

When you hit the wall, don’t bang your head against it. Life is more like a labyrinth than a racetrack. Take strategic turns, sometimes seeming to go backward. Breathe. Think. Adapt.

VIRGO  Aug 23-Sep 22

You can make fun look like hard work, but if you find hard work to be fun, be as productive and creative as you like. Remember: Geeks and nerds rule the world while partiers fall by the wayside.

LIBRA  Sep 23-Oct 22

Uncover family secrets if you can stand the shock. Don’t mind upsetting some folks on the way. Interview your oldest relatives — preferably the outcasts — if you want the dirt.

SCORPIO  Oct 23-Nov 21

You sound harsher than you intend. Write before you speak. Even when you want to blast the stupidity out of some obstructive bubblehead, organize your thoughts on paper first.

Jack Fertig can be reached at 415-864-8302 or Starjack.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 10, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Dear Gaby

Local Telemundo host Gabriela Natale opens eyes by shining a spotlight to the gay Latino community

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer  lopez@dallasvoice.com

Gabriela Natale
MADE FOR TV | Natale sees the Latino community in a state of transformation, opening up to LGBT issues. She hopes ‘SuperLatina’ is contributing to that change.

Gabriela Natale (Gaby for short) has a voice beyond her 32 years. She talks spiritedly and quickly with youthful enthusiasm, but there’s wisdom in her tone. Natale talks like she knows something others don’t.

“I hope to create understanding bridges because we as human beings have so much more in common with each other,” she says.

Natale hosts SuperLatina, a Spanish-language talk show on Telemundo that airs Wednesday mornings. SuperLatina heralds a new type of voice in the Latino community; Natale cites Ellen as an influence, but Tyra Banks has been a specific inspiration for her.

“I’m inspired by Oprah and Ellen but I love how Tyra will touch on delicate topics in African-American culture that aren’t talked about out loud,” she says.” “We have those same problems in the Hispanic community.”

With her show, Natale has also burst open the door of LGBT topics within the Latino community — a decision that has led to discomfort among some. With a culture mostly steeped in Catholic tradition, Latinos can be uneasy talking about gay issues, and Natale says Spanish language television reflects that —there is relatively little coverage of LGBT topics. But when SuperLatina had a show on Latino gay youth, Natale met with a surprising response.

“When I heard about the suicide rate for gay teens, I wanted to talk about how they felt,” she says. “It’s hard to be a minority within a minority. I got messages on Facebook, people had seen the show on YouTube and I got so many thank yous. The audience was very positive about it. This was probably some people’s first exposure to the LGBT community.”

Natale doesn’t approach such topics with ulterior motives. SuperLatina isn’t about controversy — she’s committed to making the show a positive tool. Every episode, however, doesn’t have a heavy inspirational message: Some are heartwarming stories of giving youth an educational scholarship or granting someone’s wish to meet a star … and of course, what would a talk show be without makeovers?

But she does put in the effort to make her LGBT-related episodes mean something to both the audience and the community.

“I don’t want circus topics,” she says. “When I reached out to people for my same-sex parents episode, I took more time on that and wanted to establish trust with them. I don’t want anyone to be on my show in fear or as if they are in the hot seat. I don’t want them to be awkward.”

In that episode, she discussed parenting with both male and female couples as well as a specialist on how to approach the subject with children. She says that these families were happy to share this episode with their families, but she also knows that the mindset in the Latino community will be accepted slowly. However, she’s found that Latino families are more accepting than most might think.

“It comes from the heart but I think that people choose to know reality,” she says.

Originally from Argentina, where she graduated with a degree in journalism, Natale moved to Washington, D.C., in 2003 after working for free at a political marketing conference. Following a stint as a news anchor at Univision, she moved on to Telemundo to develop SuperLatina.
But North Texans audiences didn’t get to know Natale until last August, when production on her show moved to the Fort Worth office and it began to air locally.

The Emmy nominee didn’t have a particular go-to person for her interest in the gay community — no gay friend who suffered discrimination that sparked her activism. Instead, she felt obliged to reach out after seeing how Latinos are demographically classified.

“I think it’s a contradiction as a minority to turn your back on another minority,” she says. ”I consider myself a voice for my community and I want to be a stronger voice for positive change.”

Natale sees the shift of thinking in the new generations of Latinos — especially when it comes to the gay community. She references two events over the last year that were crucial to opening minds and embracing the community and both involved music superstars.

“First, there was Ricky Martin coming out, “ she says. “Then there was the Mexican singer Paquita la del Barrio statement in March “that she would prefer a child die on the streets rather than be adopted by a gay couple. “

GLAAD immediately called for an apology and la del Barrio has worked to repair her image by giving a concert at a gay club outside Mexico City. (Interestingly, she recanted not just because of GLAAD’s demand but because of outrage in the Mexican community at large.) Add to it Martin’s eloquent coming out letter on his website and the Latino community could be growing into a more accepting culture respecting gay issues.

“I think there is this shift of shame in the culture,” she says. “People are more proud to speak Spanish and embrace their heritage. But also, I humbly feel part of the transformation in the community is awareness, participation and even education. Right now is a special moment.”

SuperLatina airs on Telemundo on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m.

TelemundoDallas.com/SuperLatina.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 6, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens