I am Jorge Gutierrez, a queer, brown immigrant who was born in Nayarit, Mexico, and grew up in the Tustin and Santa Ana area in Orange County. I have been living in Los Angeles for over 6 years now. There is so much hateful and racist rhetoric and violence happening in the U.S. and across the globe but I am grateful that I get to run a national grassroots trans and queer Latinx organization, so I get to channel a lot of my anger and frustration into the organizing and advocacy work we do every day. But I also do lots of dancing, hang out with friends and family, and eat lots of tacos to find joy and celebrate who I am. Being authentic is so important, so needed, and truly a revolutionary act when you think about all the racism, discrimination, and violence folks are facing for being black, brown, trans, queer, undocumented, and so on. I think visibility can be a good thing but it’s also complex and tricky. Just because we see more trans people, queer people, and immigrants and more people from our particular communities in movies, music, and politics, it doesn’t necessarily mean that all of us are getting the same opportunities or have access to resources or power. I am interested in being visible and counted for the purpose of ensuring that all of us in our given and chosen communities have justice, freedom, opportunities, and joy to live our most authentic lives.
Becoming who I am today was never an easy journey. I chose to fight for my right to be me, an openly Queer Brown Chicano, and I have never turned back. Being a queer person of color or QPOC in a conservative Catholic home meant that I never felt much at home growing up. I looked for home in dark and colorful dance clubs late into the morning and in faraway cities, but ultimately I learned that I needed to challenge my family to open up to my queer identity and friends. I challenged my family’s homophobic and heteronormative views, and I resisted pressures to stay silent in difficult situations when I knew my voice was needed the most. Being authentically queer and a visibly Brown person of color means that I choose not to shy away from uncomfortable conversations on recognizing the need for affordable queer & trans housing, mental healthcare services, and good jobs in inclusive workplaces. I hope to ensure that future generations of queer and trans people of color don’t have to face the same issues I have. They deserve better. That’s why I’m running as the first openly Queer Millennial of Color in Fullerton City Council in 2020.
My message to future generations, especially queer and trans youth of color, is that no matter how dark things might be, you are the light. You deserve peace, love, and joy.