Latinx Heritage Month 2021 – Letter from the Editor

Celina Jimenez

When you’re young, your family and immediate surroundings shape the entire context for your identity. I grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where my weeks consisted of family parties for no reason, scrambled dialects of Spanish and English, and a safe, comfortable space to be who I was – a second-generation Mexican-American girl nestled tenderly in the hyphens between. 

That’s who I was before anyone or anything asked me if I was certain. Before I asked myself if that wasn’t enough. Before the years passed and we moved away and I lost my grandparents, the most vital connection holding me up on that hyphenated plane.

As time went on, I – like millions of other Latinx kids in my generation – began to find myself pulled in several cultural directions. Could I rediscover who I was meant to be in a world that wanted to put me in a box? Could I find a true community that understood me? Could I give my queerness a voice in spite of the way it would make distant relatives feel?  

This is the Latinx experience. A spectrum of identity, heritage and expression, and the collective urge to redefine and re-embrace our identity in a way that honors the beauty of our blood, yet holds past generations accountable for the centuries of harmful tropes they’ve upheld. Our histories are committed to honor, strength and tradition – the instinct to stand up for those we love and fight for our beliefs is in our DNA.

So it’s no wonder we’ve collectively continued to push for change. Change in the way we’re depicted in the media. Change in the way we’re spoken to and for. Change in our family values, in the expectations we place on ourselves. We are artists, politicians, writers, business owners, parents, musicians, marketers… we are a little bit of everything, and we want more for future generations. 

This collection of pieces represents that thirst for more. In this volume, we challenge the centuries-old burden of machismo and how it has impacted our media, our self-image and the way we view relationships and gender in modern society. We set the stage for more understanding and more conversation around the experience of being a queer or trans Latinx in America. We initiate transparent conversations about outdated beauty standards and the pain of falling short of the “ideal” Latinx femme. We walk alongside each other as we try to find balance between honoring the generations that came before us while actively dismantling the toxic subcultures or ideals some have perpetuated. We ask for more – more representation, more Afro-Latinx visibility, more intersectional community and advocacy, more open dialogue. 

See Also
Rudy Ramirez

 

Celina Jimenez

 

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