It’s so important to feel connected to your culture because it is part of your identity. Though, for several queer people in the Latine community, fully participating in some fundamental cultural touchstones is impossible. Trans women especially miss out on one of the most important cultural moments for Latinas: the quinceañera. The Immigrant Alliance for Justice and Equity in Mississippi decided that it was time to give queer Latine people a queerceñera in what has been billed as the first public Latine LGBTQ+ event in the state.
Fondren Hall in Jackson, Mississippi, hosted the queerceñera, where queer Latine people were able to fully partake in something they had been denied for years. Not only have trans people been excluded, but the patriarchal ceremony is also exclusionary to anyone who does not fit into the gender binary.
“It is a tradition that goes back a long time,” IAJE Queer and Trans Justice Director Jess Manriquez told Mississippi Free Press. “And it’s very patriarchal. It’s gender-binary. Boys don’t get this, and non-binary folks don’t get this.”
For ages, queer and trans people in the Latine community have long been ostracized from the larger community due to deep-rooted homophobic and transphobic views. Machismo culture within the Latine community has been used to oppress and terrorize LGBTQ+ Latine people. And as our society moves forward, it is crucial that the Latine community reevaluates its stance on LGBTQ+ equality and full inclusion in their culture.
“I’m happy and proud to be part of this important event because a lot of indigenous and trans and gender non-conforming people deserve quinceañeras,” participant Li Ann Sanchez said in a speech opening the event. “I asked for one as a child, but my parents said no and that they are for women only.”
Here’s hoping this is only the beginning of more queerceñera’s.