An Oral History of Unsung Queer Latino Immigrants


The new issue of SF Weekly features the life stories, translated from their own words, of four gay and transgender Latin American immigrants who came to San Francisco in the 1980s.

The pasts they left behind are as dissimilar as the routes that led them to San Francisco, each a complicated journey shaped by the societies who challenged them.

As is made clear in the interviews, dealing with so much bullshit has made them impenetrably secure in who they are, and they’ve built a stronger and deeper love for themselves than many people could hope to achieve—not to mention their killer senses of humor and insatiable love of life:

I think transformismo is a marvelous gift. Latin American transformismo is special because it has a certain passion, a tumbao. A different flavor. I’m not sure what it is. I’ve been so lucky in my life. I could die talking to you right now.

Tara Landers graduates in December from UC Berkeley with degrees in Media Studies and Art History. With vague plans of working for a human rights organization in the future, she currently writes content for a mobile app that makes ordering bottle service more convenient. More from this author →