October 19, 2021
Stephanie Beatriz, Robin de Jesus, Johnny Sibilly

Being Latin and LGBTQ+ in Hollywood: ‘Our Latinx culture has leaps and bounds to make’

Being a part of the Latin and LGBTQ+ communities, actors Stephanie Beatriz, Robin de Jesús, and Johnny Sibilly say they really feel a accountability to converse up and signify.

Beatriz of NBC’s Brooklyn 9-9 and the movie adaptation of Within the Heights; de Jesús, a Tony-nominated Broadway actor and star of the upcoming Tick, Tick…Growth! movie; and Sibilly of Pose and Hacks joined EW govt editor Patrick Gomez in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month and to kick off LGBTQ+ Historical past Month.

“We are not a monolith; that’s why it’s important to have these discussions,” stated Beatriz, 40, through the Mi Historia: Our Experiences Being Latin and LGBTQ+ panel on Thursday.

“[That’s] why it’s important to talk about these parts of ourselves, whereas it used to be: cross your fingers and hope they think that you fit in this world somewhere,” the Argentine-American actress added.

With a big majority of individuals in the Latin neighborhood making up film and tv audiences, Beatriz defined, it’s “vital for audiences to see themselves reflected…as the hero of the story, as well as filling in the world around the hero — but us being the hero is vital.”  

Although every of the actors famous that there has been progress in current years when it comes to Latin and LGBTQ+ illustration, all of them really feel that there’s a lot extra to be carried out.

“Specifically, when it comes to media, I feel like our Latinx culture has leaps and bounds to make when it comes to represented LGBTQ+ people, especially trans and non-binary people within the community,” stated Sibilly, who’s of Cuban and Dominican descent, including that “when it comes to colorism on a lot of these Latinx-specific channels and brands, you just don’t see the mezcla that we all have within our communities.”

“Whether it be dark-skinned Cuban women or, you know, lesbians,” he added, “you don’t see it. You just don’t.”

Beatriz, who’s bisexual, has at instances not felt seen and spoke concerning the harms of bi-erasure, each in leisure and on a regular basis life.

To shut the hole on erasure of any form, Beatriz urged audiences to not purchase “into the stereotypes that we’ve been fed for so long — the dumb, lazy jokes that we see on TV and badly-written storylines, just not buying into it.”

As an alternative, she stated, audiences must be “buying into the new era, which is a celebration of the entire spectrum of sexuality.”

De Jesús, who’s of Puerto Rican descent, additionally stated that actors themselves have a accountability when it comes to inclusion and illustration, particularly when it comes to the roles a performer chooses to audition for and in the end tackle.

“When I say responsible, what I’m saying is: I want to make sure that when I get in the room, if I get a scene that is one-dimensional, I go, ‘Mm-mm, that’s not gonna do it. I need this to be a full-bodied character,’ ” defined De Jesus.

“I want to be entitled to empathy, sympathy and compassion, and if you don’t write this in where I get all three of those things, then I can’t participate because if you want me to be an accessory or just give you the punchline, and rep my people, it just feels icky to me,” he added. “I need a more important, valid reason to be there.”

Sibilly echoed his statements, admitting that he used to get auditions to play trans girls, regardless of not being transgender. “I remember having that moment where I was like, ‘I should not be taking on these roles, one: because trans women should be playing trans women, trans people should be playing trans people because of the dangers that they face in a different way,’ ” he stated.

“It’s about removing yourself and your ego from what tells the story the way it needs to be told, what the world needs to see,” he added. “I think we have power as artists to say, ‘No. I’ll wait.’ Because what’s meant for you will be for you.”