Tell us about yourself. Include where you’re from, what you do, how you’re thriving, and anything else everyone should know about you.
I grew up mostly in Connecticut. I’ve been in Texas about ten years now and work for a national domestic violence program here in Austin. I’m a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, dating violence, and rape. Social justice is a huge part of my life, and it always finds a way into my creative outlets, which are many. A Jane of all trades, master of none, is how I think about it sometimes.
How do you identify culturally?
How does your cultural background inform your thinking and sense of being in the world? How has it informed past decisions, successes, failures?
I didn’t grow up speaking Spanish. I grew up really disconnected in Connecticut, outside of summers visiting my family in Texas. I didn’t belong a whole lot. When I came out as queer in high school I felt even more separated from my roots. To say my grandparents were unsupportive is an understatement. They got colder and more rude and I got more and more distant from the Mexican side of myself.
Returning to Texas for college brought all of it together, when I realized I didn’t have to choose being queer or being Latina. My love of Frida helped with that.
What inspires you and who do you look up to?
I’m inspired by people who fight. Women who go through hell and still push forward. Frida was and is my absolute queen. A woman who has every reason to hang back and feel bad for herself did the exact opposite. Unapologetically queer and revolutionary and artistic—I hope to be as true to myself as she was in her life.
What is your best piece of advice to anyone who may be struggling?
I hate when people say that everything happens for a reason, and there have been times in my life that I would rather punch someone in the throat than hear that. But I’ll be honest and say that I wouldn’t be who I am without the hardships that have happened. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and remind yourself of how strong and resilient you are becoming.
What are your future goals and aspirations?
I would love to write intersectional feminist romance novels. It sounds silly, but I love reading romance and I can say half that crap perpetuates such unhealthy relationships it’s painful. I got tired of writing angry letters to the authors and decided to try writing my own. Hopefully that works out.
Share one thing people should know about the Latinx community
Especially in Austin, there’s no need to feel not enough. I always felt like I was faking at being Latina – I didn’t speak Spanish, I didn’t grow up around other Latinos, even being queer – it didn’t fit into what I was taught a Mexicana should be. But in truth the Latinx community is so much more accepting than I was of myself.
What is your favorite Latinx driven project and why is it your favorite?
In the last couple years my cousin started working for a program called Mama Sana, providing culturally appropriate pre and post-natal care for women of color. I’m super proud of all the work she does with them and recognize how needed this program is to empower mothers to do what is right for themselves and their babies.
Where can people find you on the internet?
Latinx Voices is an online photo and interview series spotlighting Latinx peoples in our communities. We want to amplify those voices–reminding people that we are not only surviving, but thriving.