Every month through “Destacades” Zero will highlight two LGBTQ Latines leaders from one region/state during a one-hour virtual dialogue. Destacades will put a spotlight on the work, activism, and community leadership of LGBTQIA+ Latine leaders across the country and discuss the innovative and everyday ways we can and should resist homophobia/transphobia.
Destacades will be recorded and held live on Zoom while being streamed on social media. Conversations will have a rotating host of Zero representatives and be in English or Spanish with interpretation provided for those who are not fully bilingual.
Mateo Guerrero-Tabares is the Trans Justice and Leadership Program Manager at Make the Road NY. In this role, he oversees the Leadership School program, designs curricula for liberation movements, and facilitates organizing spaces for the TGNCIQ community. Mateo's work is deeply rooted in his identity as a trans-queer man of color and a formerly undocumented immigrant. His organizing efforts intersect in the fight to end the criminalization and detention of immigrant communities while also advocating for the protection of TGNCIQ communities of color and people in the sex trades.
Citlali Ortiz serves as the LGBTQ+ Programs Manager at the Hispanic Federation, where they are responsible for managing various LGBTQ+ initiatives. These initiatives include the Advance Change Together Initiative, which aims to provide support for Latinx LGBTQ+ advocacy and capacity-building programs that empower and assist organizations working to protect and serve Latinx LGBTQ+ communities. Citlali also oversees the FUERZAfest Festival, which is the biggest Latinx LGBTQ+ multimedia arts festival on the East Coast. Citlali's work is primarily focused on creating spaces that bring art and dedicated cultural workers together and developing community-based events and programs in non-profit and museum settings.
Carlos Alfonso Diaz Hernandez AKA Cynthia Lee Fontaine is a proud Puerto Rican currently living in Austin, Texas. She is best known for competing on the eighth and ninth seasons of RuPaul's Drag Race, where she won the title of Season 8 Miss Congeniality. Cynthia made her first appearance in the drag in Puerto Rico, supported by her amazing three drag mothers Yovanka Lalique, Kayra Lee Naranjo, and Kathy La Fontaine. She holds two Puerto Rican titles, Miss Mardi Grass PR 2007 and Miss Acquamares 2008. In 2008, she moved to Texas, and in 2012 she was crowned Miss Austin Sweetheart, and Miss Texas Continental 2012.
For more than 20 years, she has worked in community fundraising in Puerto Rico and Texas. Her involvement in HIV prevention and education for over 10 years has given her many opportunities to represent the LGBTQ, Puerto Rican community at various events, including Chicago's Puerto Rican Pride in 2016. She has proudly participated in local activism in Texas. with organizations like Drag Out The Vote, Equality Texas, GLAAD, and the Ashwell Clinic.
Last year she was presented with a Proclamation by Mayor Steve Adler in Austin, Texas for her success in music. She looks forward to making her dreams come true by continuing her career in music representing her culture and passion for the drag queer, and trans community.
Sofia Sepulveda is a first-generation Mexican-American Trans-Woman, she grew up in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, and came to San Antonio to continue her studies. She has been organizing in San Antonio for the past 8 years on Healthcare and Environmental Justice, she is the lead organizer for the Healthcare for All march in San Antonio, co-founder of Trans Power San Antonio, as well as organized the Women's March in San Antonio for the last 4 years. She was recognized as one of the 25 influential women who run San Antonio in 2019 for her work in healthcare. In 2021 alongside with amazing activists and organizers in Texas she helped to pass legislation that extended Medicaid for new mothers from 2 to 6 months. She also sits in the board oof Healthcare-Now, Transgender Education Network of Texas, and Community Advisory Board for Centro Med in San Antonio.
In her free time she loves doing Yoga, hiking, cooking, and spending time with my two dogs—a Shih Tzu named Maggie and a Pug named Bella!
Mila Genesis Hellfyre is a trans woman, the mother of the Haus of Hellfyre, and a student at the Rio Piedras campus. She is currently in her 5th year of college where she studies Marketing, Economics, and Women's and Gender Studies. On the Rio Piedras campus, she currently directs the Gender Committee, the Housing Committee and the Library Committee . She is also the founder of the Cuir Youth Library of Puerto Rico, a community project that seeks to safeguard queer literature and preserve the stories of LGBTQI people from Puerto Rico and the diaspora. Additionally, she is the vice president of Sé visible PR, an organization led by trans women who work in public policy and seek to solve the different needs of the trans community.
Mila also stands out for being a model, poet, and storyteller.
Karina Claudio Betancourt (they) is a community organizer from Puerto Rico (PR) with over a decade of management, advocacy, policy analysis, fundraising, and grant writing experience. Most recently, Karina launched and directed the Open Society Foundation’s $20 million post-Hurricane Maria investment, and worked to weave connections between advocacy and organizing groups in Puerto Rico and in the diaspora. Before coming to the Foundation, Karina worked at New York City Council where they served as the Senior Director of Community Engagement. From 2008 to 2014, they were a staff person at Make the Road New York (MRNY), where they oversaw its LGBTQ Justice Project, helped open MRNY’s office in Brentwood, Long Island, and supervised its immigration, housing, civic engagement, and leadership development programs. They currently direct La Tejedora, an initiative that aims to weave connections between Puerto Rican activists living in PR, in the PR diaspora, and social justice movements globally.
DESTACADES 1: GEORGIA, 5/17/2023
Jennifer Perez Arellano is an activist, influencer, and radio host living in Atlanta from southern Mexico. Earlier this year, she became the first Atlanta-based Mexican citizen to change her gender-marker on her birth certificate. On her radio show, “Jenny sin censura”, she connects with other Latinos and discusses cultural issues without limits. Throughout her journey to becoming so outspoken, Jennifer has experienced many setbacks due to stigma from society, other individuals, and sometimes herself. These personal struggles inspired her to give back to the trans and LGB community in any way she can. On a regular week, you can find Jennifer working her day job as a stylist, hosting her radio show, or participating in an event educating the Latino public about homophobia/transphobia.
Carlos S. Saldana, MD, is the HIV Medical Advisor for Georgia Department of Public Health’s HIV Program and Chief fellow in the Division of Infectious Disease at Emory University School of Medicine. His work is centered around Hispanic and Latino communities with or at risk of acquiring HIV. Dr. Saldana leads the Metropolitan Atlanta Cluster Detection and Response Team and focuses primarily on HIV molecular cluster detection, collaborating with the Fulton County Board of Health and the Georgia Department of Public Health.