LGBTQ

5 Trans Latinx Pioneers You Should Know

This Hispanic Heritage Month, we're celebrating the LGBTQ+ Hispanic and Latinx folks who've made their mark on the world.

Many of them have fought for equality, justice and recognition for themselves and other members of the Queer community through their professions, contributions and activism.

Here are five trans-Latinx pioneers you should know, who made their voices heard and helped open doors for people everywhere.

Sylvia Rivera

Throughout her life, Sylvia Rivera fought against the exclusion of transgender people, especially transgender people of color, from the larger gay rights movement.

She's one of the most recognizable names from the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion, along with Marsha P. Johnson. Together, the duo founded STAR, the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries, and opened a shelter for homeless transgender youth.

Rivera was also an early member of groups like the Gay Activists Alliance and the Gay Liberation Front.

Rivera passed away in 2002 from liver cancer. She was 50.

Since then, she's been recognized by dozens of LGTBQ+ organizations, honored with a street bearing her name in New York City and her portrait hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., making her the first transgender activist to be included in the gallery.

Bamby Salcedo

Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 17: Bamby Salcedo attends "The Trans List" New York Premiere at The Paley Center for Media on November 17, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

Bamby Salcedo is a Mexican-American transgender activist and founder of the Los Angeles-based TransLatin@ Coalition.

Her transition story was told in the 2014 documentary Transvisible: Bamby Salcedo's Story.

She's worked with several national and international organizations with missions that center race, gender, sexuality, HIV status and immigration status.

Salcedo's received dozens of awards from organizations like The Black and Hispanic Gay Coalition, Lambda Legal, LA PRIDE and was recognized as an OUT100 Pioneer.

Indya Moore

Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for ELLE
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 21: Indya Moore attends as ELLE & Louis Vuitton celebrate ELLE cover star Indya Moore at Diego at PUBLIC on June 21, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for ELLE)

Afro-Taino actor and model Indya Moore is best known for their role as Angel Evangelista in "Pose" on FX.

Born and raised in the Bronx, they have appeared in Vogue and OUT, as well as spreads for GQ, Gucci and Christian Dior.

Moore's also a writer, director, social activist and founder of Beetlefruit Media Inc., a production company focused on telling the stories of marginalized identities on various platforms.

In May 2019, Moore became the first transgender person to be featured on the cover of the U.S. version of Elle magazine. That same year, they were named one of TIME's most influential people.

Lorena Borjas

Lorena Borjas was a transgender and immigrant rights activist and known as the 'Mother' of the transgender Latinx community in Queens, New York.

She earned the name through her decades-long career as a community activist and organizer.

Borjas organized HIV testing opportunities for trans sex workers, established a bail-out fund for people arrested on prostitution charges and ran a syringe-exchange program for trans women taking hormone injections.

She also founded the first community organization for transgender nonbinary and LGBTQI people in Queens, called Colectivo Intercultural Transgrediendo.

Borjas passed away from COVID-19 complications in March 2020. Later that year, she was added to the National LGBTQ Wall of Honor on the Stonewall National Monument.

Victoria Cruz

Susan Watts/NY Daily News via Getty Images
Victoria Cruz, a transgendered person/advocate for LGBT and domestic violence at the NYC Anti-Violence Project - she was recently awarded a top honor by the Department of Justice because of her work helping victims escape abuse. (Photo by Susan Watts/NY Daily News via Getty Images)

Born in Puerto Rico and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Victoria Cruz knew from an early age that she was 'different.'

She had many odd jobs and knew both Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson during the 1960s. She was even at the Stonewall Inn during the nights of the rebellion.

After being sexually assaulted in 1996, Cruz became a domestic violence counselor, dedicating her life to helping victims of LGBTQ violence and rape.

In 2017, she was featured in the documentary 'The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson', which follows Cruz's journey as she attempts to uncover new details of Johnson's mysterious death, almost 25 years later.