Less Invisible: LGBT Images in Latino Media in 2014

At GLAAD we're often asked how LGBT equality is doing in Latino USA and in Spanish-speaking countries. The answer isn't simple. We've seen many setbacks and there's a lot of work to do, but we've also seen some hard-fought wins.
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At GLAAD we're often asked how LGBT equality is doing in Latino USA and in Spanish-speaking countries. The answer isn't simple, not a thumbs up or thumbs down. It's instead complex, just like the world in which we live. We've seen many setbacks and there's a lot of work to do, but we've also seen some hard-fought wins. And more inclusion.

Here's our top ten list of moments that mattered in Spanish-Language and Latino media in 2014.

In July, Puerto Rico saw appointment of openly gay Supreme court justice, Maité Oronoz Rodríguez. Not surprisingly, media in Puerto Rico covered her story fully, although much more could have been done nationally. The last few years have seen too many legal setbacks and crimes against LGBT people in Puerto Rico, so seeing the swearing in of out and proud Oronoz Rodríguez, surrounded by her family and hearing her thank her partner in her speech, was a much-needed win.

It's about love, not "controversy"
Coverage of marriage equality has improved over the years, and in 2014 it was nice to see the celebrity magazine TV Notas and other outlets like Mexico-based celebrity show Ventaneando treat the marriage of novela hunk Sebastian Ligarde the way they would treat any other marriage. It helps that Ligarde is so comfortable being out and has a very supportive (and big) family, including kids and grandkids who came to his wedding. Also on the marriage issue, beloved Telemundo on-air judge Doctora Ana Maria Polo of Caso Cerrado, released a strong statement in both Spanish and English detailing her support for marriage equality. Polo, who has millions of fans on and off social media, argued that marriage equality only makes sense and, as she says on her show with a bang of the gavel, case closed.

Sing it, Tigres
A definite high-point came toward the end of the year when Los Tigres del Norte, the huge and respected regional band came out with an LGBT supportive song, "era diferente" on their album Realidades. The song, which tells the story of woman who's in love with another woman, sends a message of acceptance.

FIFA's World Cup of Soccer in Brazil excited millions of fans but chants of an anti-gay pejorative by the Mexican team dampened things for LGBT fans. Univision, which televised the games, during which slurs could be heard, handled this issue in a great way and came out with a message of inclusion for LGBT viewers. Univision's on air commentators shared an inclusive message directed to their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender fans distancing themselves from the homophobic slurs.

Now that's how you do Pride
This year Telemundo aired an amazing Pride video produced by Ileanna Simancas, daughter of Venezuelan telenovela actors and actress/producer in her own right, which featured on-air talent and executives from the station who shared their love for their LGBT family members. The video was also aired during the popular morning show Un Nuevo Día, as the hosts talked about the importance of family acceptance.

This year we saw more Spanish-Language media support than ever for Spirit Day which calls attention to anti-LGBT bullying. Among those who participated were respected journalist Maria Elena Salinas, who co-hosts the nationally televised Noticiero Univision. We also saw segments on Noticierio Univision and on morning shows like Un Nuevo Día and other shows, that helped educate viewers on the importance of family acceptance and on the harmful effects of bullying and discrimination. Los Angeles station KMEX-34 did a great job on Spirit Day, even hosting a phone bank to connect LGBT people and their families to community services.

Big wins internationally
This year Ecuador's coalition of LGBT and allied activists led by Silueta X won a victory as the government sanctioned the channel TVAmazonas for airing an episode of a comedy sketch show called La Pareja Feliz/The Happy Couple which was denigrating to members of the LGBT community, the indigenous community and those who belong to both.

This was also a very big year in Peru, where Carlos Bruce came out. Bruce is a member of congress and former minister and also one of the main drivers of debate on civil unions for same-sex couples. It was also the year when Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa wrote an op-ed that got lots of media attention, supporting relationship recognition.

Argentina's public television station aired the Premio Orgullo Ciudadano (Pride Citizen Awards) given out by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans Federation of Argentina and held at the historic Teatro Maipo, a theater that continuously supports LGBT-themed plays.

Colombian YouTube star Juan Pablo Jaramillo came out in 2014 and helped educate his millions of fans and started a dialogue in Colombian media.

Chile's LGBT group MOVILH (the movement for the liberation and integration of gay people, by its Spanish initials MOVILH) published and distributed, Nicolás Tiene Dos Papás, about a household headed by two dads, that got the conversation about equality going even more. Todo Mejora Chile and others have also made great strides in the past years shining a spotlight on the need for equality and acceptance. Demi Lovato even recorded this supportive message for her LGBT fans while she was on tour there.

Real and Inclusive
In 2014, we were very happy to see a transgender contestant on Telemundo's Yo Soy El Artista. Transgender singer and actress Abigail Pereira shared her story and the judges, including openly gay author Boris Izaguirre, as well as singer Lucero, applauded her for it.

Morning shows and popular advice segments are increasingly including information that includes LGBT viewers like a segment on the morning show Un Nuevo Día that offered tax advice to LGBT couples.

Immigration reform inclusion
On the topic of immigration, more media outlets took into account the advocacy and participation of LGBT immigrants, who are still working hard along with the rest of the immigrant community for full, inclusive and permanent immigration reform. Huffington Post Voces, The Advocate and other outlets continue to share their stories in both Spanish and English.

On the Radio
Radio continues to be very important in Spanish-language media and programs like Al Aire con Tsi-Tsi-Ki, and hosts like Enrique Santos, Fernando Espuelas and others in Spanish as well as the lauded Latino USA and Radio Bilingue in English continue to share important stories about being Latino and LGBT.

There were lots of moments to include, so please do let us know if you want to remind us of an event or accomplishment that moved you.

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