NYC’s First-Ever Latino LGBTQ Festival Kicks Off Today

Lead Photo: Luis Carle
Luis Carle
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Over the course of 12 days, New York City’s Latino community will have its first LGBTQ Festival. That means the more than 100,000 LGBTQ Latinos in the city can head to the Julia de Burgos Latino Cultural Center (JDBC) – 1680 Lexington Ave. – from today until May 22 for photo exhibits, workshops, panel discussions, and theater performances as part of FUERZAfest. There’ll also be film screenings of Viva, Mala Mala, Liz en Septiembre, and the New York premiere of Romeo y Romeo – directed by Luis Caballero and produced by OITNB‘s Selenis Leyva.

FuerzaFest’s photography exhibit will follow the plight of the LGBTQ community from the 1990s to today. The stacked week will close with a performance from famed drag artist Barbra Herr, who will perform I’m Still Herr! – a one-woman cabaret.

“We’re so excited to bring FUERZAfest to JDBC, said Jose Calderón, President of the Hispanic Federation, in a press release. “As part of our firm commitment to civil rights, we have a history of championing LGBTQ rights and, in particular, combating homophobia within the Latino community. FUERZAfest will build on these efforts through the arts in a one-of-a-kind festival.”

Here are a few things to be on the lookout for:


Romeo y Romeo

Two teen boys fall for each other, but their traditional upbringing makes their relationship impossible. It’s only until they dress up and hide their identities that they are able to give in to their feelings. “I joined [director] Luis Caballero in the development of Romeo y Romeo because I believe in telling diverse stories that are inclusive of all regardless of sexual orientation, race or beliefs,” Selenis Leyva said. “As advocates, it is our social responsibility to help fight stigma and homophobia within our community.”

Romeo y Romeo plays Tuesday, May 17 at 7 p.m. Admission is free. Check out the rest of the movie schedule here.


Oh Holy Mother of Quique!

Gama Valle wrote and directed Oh Holy Mother of Quique!, which will compete against other one-act plays in a competition featuring six independent theater groups. Oh Holy Mother of Quique! tells the story of a young gay man named Quique, who has experienced pain in relationships and has sworn off love and sex. One day, he is visited by the spirit of a drag queen, who transforms him.

Oh Holy Mother of Quique! will share the stage with Mi pecado favorito. The two shows will play on Friday, May 13 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, May 14 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10. Check out the rest of the one-act plays here.


Pride, Activism, Survival

Photo by Luis Carle / “Respect Trans”
Sylvia Rivera with Julia Murray and Christina Hayworth’

Puerto Rican artists Rodrigo Calero, Luis Carle, and Reyes Melendez have documented the LGBTQ Latino community since the 90s, and now their images will highlight the history and struggle of this group in New York. Carle and Gladys Peña curated the exhibit.

The exhibit is on display from May 12 to May 22.  It can be viewed between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m on weekedays, 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays, and noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays. Find out more here.


Transgender Issues on the Spot

Make the Road and Violence Intervention Program have teamed up to talk about the issues that plague the transgender community, such as how difficult it is to access health care, housing, and legal assistance, as well as solutions and available resources.

The event will take place May 18 at 5 p.m. Check out the rest of the panels and workshops here.


I'm Still Herr

Barbra Herr’s one-woman cabaret show tells the true story of Bobby Hernandez, a young Boricua Bronxite boy who is bullied, but grows up to be the woman of her dreams. I’m Still Herr will close out the festival.

The event takes place Sunday, May 22 at 3 p.m.



If you can’t check it out, make sure to follow the #FuerzaFest hashtag on Twitter and Instagram to get a peek at the shows.