To say OUT Magazine had a bumpy 2016 is an understatement. The LGBT mag got plenty of criticism this year both for continuing to privilege beautifully chiseled straight white male allies over out and proud members of the community on their covers and for what many deemed a tone-deaf editorial approach to covering noted Breitbart editor and “provocateur” Milo Yiannopoulos (the guy responsible for unleashing the internet’s rage against Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones). If anything marked the year for the famed gay publication, it was the failure to be a guiding example of the diverse and intersectional politics that the LGBT community can and should represent.
When looking at this year’s OUT100 List, which is as in year’s past, filled with a welcome dose of diversity, its eclectic choices offering as broad a vision of the LGBT community as you can imagine, one cannot help but wish the spirit that drives it would trickle down to the magazine’s year-long editorial choices.
As a celebration of the many artists, athletes, and community leaders that helped push the LGBT community forward this past year, there really is no better place to look than the list which managed to include a great number of Latinx individuals. More impressive than that, they looked beyond the usual suspects. That means no Ricky Martin or Michelle Rodriguez (though one of her co-stars did make the cut).
From Broadway breakout stars to Brazilian dancers, below you’ll find the 7 figures of Latin American descent who made this year’s list.
Javier Muñoz, Breakout of the Year
Earning one of the coveted cover spots was Hamilton star Javier Muñoz. The openly gay and HIV-positive performer, who grew up in a Puerto Rican household in Brooklyn, has been wowing audiences since taking over as the title role in the Lin Manuel Miranda Broadway hit. He’s also come out as a much needed voice against HIV stigma. As he told OUT, “If I can be a new face that people see that is HIV-positive and healthy and performing seven shows a week and kicking ass, then let that stand as a positive example for the person who is still living with that stigma and fear.”
Alexandra Roxo, Actor, Writer, Filmmaker
The Miami native, who spent many summers with her father’s family in Brazil, is best known for her comedy web series, Be Here Nowish where her humor and bold personality (she has a column called “Holy F*ck,” for example) make a great compliment to her red fiery curls. Her producing credits also include the gritty drama Bare which premiered at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival and stars Paz de la Huerta as a stripper who falls into a romantic relationship with naive and impressionable Sarah (played by (Dianna Agron.) “I think being out means being an example to other people,” Roxxo told OUT. “That’s pretty special.”
Amanda Nunes, Mixed Martial Artist
Nunes, who grew up in a small town in Brazil, is the current UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion. Speaking of her victory (the first by an openly out fighter) in regards to her sexuality, she pointed out how much it means to her: “It means that I can now love free.”
Julio Torres, Comedian
Brooklyn-based, Emmy-nominated funnyman Torres (also known for his alter-ego, Space Prince) is one to watch. After producing stellar work for Más Mejor, the Salvadoran comic was scooped up by Saturday Night Live, which made him part of their full-time writing staff for the latest season.
Raymond "Ray" Santiago, Actor
You may recognize the Mexican-American actor. He’s had small roles in films like Girlfight and in television shows like Raising Hope and Touch. But he’s gained wider attention with the role of Pablo Simon Bolivar, the immigrant sidekick to the title character in Starz’s Ash vs Evil Dead. As he sees his profile grow, he’s become aware of what he wants to represent. As he told OUT: “I want to show the world a positive portrayal of a gay Latino man, and of a Latino character who is trying to be a hero.”
Marcelo Gomes, Dancer, Choreographer
Born in Manaus and raised in Rio de Janeiro, this Brazilian ballet dancer currently performs with the American Ballet Theatre in New York City. Openly gay, he’s keenly aware of the privilege he carries with him by working in a very LGBT friendly profession: “I’m constantly thinking of those whose environments are not so progressive and inclusive, and wishing them strength and courage.”
The Survivors and Heroes of Pulse
By honoring the heroes and survivors of the Pulse nightclub shooting (which include Angel Colon, Carlos Guillermo Smith, Tony Marerro, Adrian Lopez, Ricardo Negron, Javier Nava), OUT reminded its readers that the Orlando massacre happened, pointedly, during the club’s Latin Night. It’s an important detail to keep in mind as we memorialize what has already become a pivotal moment in United States LGBT history. “We’re all looking out for each other,” Marrero says. “People will stop you on the street and make sure you’re OK. We don’t have to wait for another tragedy to keep this going.”