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    Test Your LGBTQ+ Latinx Knowledge for National Hispanic Heritage Month

    By Eduardo Morales, Ph.D.–

    Introduced by Congressperson George E. Brown in June of 1968, National Hispanic Heritage Month has a mission to highlight, appreciate, and celebrate the colorful cultures, history, and diversity of the American Latinx community. It started as Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968 under President Johnson, and was extended to a 30-day celebration by President Reagan and enacted into law on August 17, 1988, as Public Law 100-142. September 15 of each year is the start date, since several Latin countries celebrate their independence on that day including El Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Mexico, and Chile. October 12 is Día de la Raza, which recognizes the cultural fusion of indigenous American and Spanish heritage.

    Contributions of Latinx Americans to the LGBTQ+ movement are vast. Let’s test your knowledge!

    Who was the first openly gay candidate for public office in the U.S.?

    Hint, he was the founder of the Imperial Court system in 1965 in San Francisco. José Sarria, also known as Mama José, adopted the name Widow Norton in 1964 with reference to Joshua Norton, who declared himself Emperor of the U.S. and Protector of Mexico in 1859. The Imperial Court System is the second largest LGBTQ+ organization in the world second to the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC). As a grassroots network of organizations, the Imperial Court System has a focus of building community relationships for equality and raising funds for charitable causes.

    What does ‘el 42’ mean?

    In Mexico on the morning of November 18, 1901, a drag ball took place that attracted homosexuals and transvestites. It was raided and attendees were arrested; many were wealthy, influential individuals. At least 22 partygoers were captured, had their heads shaved, and were jailed. Nineteen who were in drag were sent to forced labor in the military. A 42nd person, “First Son in Law of the Nation” José Ignacio Mariano Santiago Joaquín Francisco de la Torre y Mier, the son of then president of Mexico Porfirio Díaz, managed to escape. The Mexican press on November 20, 1901, referred to the incident as “Los ’41 Maricones.” In 2020, the film Dance of the 41 about the events leading up to and after the party was released. It can be viewed on Netflix. Today the term “el 42” is used widely in Mexico in a derogatory manner to refer to someone as gay.

    What is Bom-Crioulo?

    This novel by Brazilian writer Adolfo Caminha, initially published in 1895, was one of the first major literary works on LGBQ+ issues published in western literature. It was also the first to have a Black person as its hero.

    Who was considered the ‘Dean of Leather Columnists’?

    Gilbert “Marcus” Hernandez (1932–2009) wrote a column for the Bay Area Reporter under the pen name “Mister Marcus.” His weekly column that ran for 38 years featured contests, goings-on, and gossip concerning the SF Bay Area’s leather community.

    What was the Mariel boatlift?

    This was a mass exodus of Cubans from Cuba’s Mariel Harbor to the U.S. between April 15 and October 30, 1980. Various churches including the MCC in San Francisco developed sponsorship programs for the exiled LGBTQ+ Cubans.

    Who was Catalina de Erauso (1592-1635)?

    Called La Monja Alférez (the “Nun Ensign”) and born in the coastal town of San Sebastián, Spain, she introduced herself as Francisco de Loyola. She fled the convent dressed as a man, worked as an accountant and page in 1607, then fled to America as a “cabin boy.” She became a soldier of fortune in Perú, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina. When it was revealed that she was a woman, she returned to Spain where she was received by the Spanish King Philip IV. He awarded her a lifelong military pension. Then she visited Pope Urban VIII, who was clearly amazed at her story and officially granted her permission to wear men’s clothing. She collaborated with priest, poet, and novelist Juan Pérez de Montalván to write stories based on her adventures and returned to Mexico in 1630.

    Eduardo Morales, PhD, is one of the founders of AGUILAS, where he serves as Executive Director. He is also a Professor Emeritus and retired Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Alliant International University and is the current Past President of the National Latinx Psychological Association.

    Nuestra Voz
    Published on September 22, 2022