The Stonewall Riot of 1969 was a turning point in history: It united the queer community and gave rise to the Gay Liberation Movement. Despite their vital role, Latine figures, such as Sylvia Rivera, lacked representation in the movement. This led to the creation of Latine-focused associations, including the League of Latino/a Gay and Lesbian Organization (LLEGO), Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries, and The Gay and Lesbian Hispanics Unido (GLCU).
LGBTQIA+ organizations, whether national or local, addressed pressing issues in their community. Among these were police brutality, sexual assault, and cultural resistance to queerness. They also celebrated their identity through social events and artistic expression. Latines explored their identities and resisted the silencing of their queer Latinidad through art and literature, as evident in their zines, newsletters, and illustrations.
Vital figures in scholarship, art, and activism led these organizations. These artists and academics, including Alma Lopez, Alicia Gaspar de Alba, Jose Muñoz, and Teddy Sandoval, continue to pave the way for queer Latines. The scholarship of Professor Jose Muñoz (-2013) continues to be incorporated into various queer critique curricula in universities. Teddy Sandoval’s art is celebrated today in traveling exhibits such as Teddy Sandoval and the Butch Gardens School of Art. Alma Lopez continues to create art that challenges heteronormativity, religious structures, and the patriarchy, while her wife, Dr. Alicia Gaspar de Alba, teaches at UCLA and has published countless books and essays that speak to Latina feminism and queer liberation. Their work still fuels the queer Latine movement to this day.
Benson Latin American Collection’s extensive US Latine holdings, this exhibition will offer an insight into the formation of the Latine queer community and the pivotal role it played in the LGBTQIA+ rights movement at the turn of the 21st century. Sections will discuss health education, sexual exploration, and queer Latine leadership. Collectively, the items presented here document the journey of discovery and celebration of a community that fought against adversity to be heard and recognized in contemporary American society.
The term ‘Latine’ is used throughout this exhibit considering many represented in the collections may hold varying identities. It is selected over the term “Latinx” since the “-e” ending is more in tune with the Spanish language. ‘Latino’, ‘Latina’, ‘Chicana’, or ‘Chicanx’ is used if the individual or group is identified as such in the item.
Please be advised that certain items in the exhibit may contain nudity or text discussing sexual activity.
"Street transvestite action revolutionaries found Star House." Global Network Sex Worker Projects. Last modified April 18, 2023. https://nswp.org/timeline/street-transvestite-action-revolutionaries-found-star-house.
Slemp, Katie. 2020. "Latino, Latina, Latin@, Latine, and Latinx: Gender Inclusive Oral Expression in Spanish." Order No. 29247791, The University of Western Ontario (Canada).