Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-12-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  IDENTITY

Jesus Ramirez-Valles talks about Tal Como Somosrich
by Richard Knight, Jr.
2008-05-01

This article shared 5352 times since Thu May 1, 2008
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


The 24th Annual Chicago Latino Film Festival included the Chicago premiere of Tal Como Somos ( Just As We Are ) , an eye-opening documentary that follows the lives of six Latino gay and bisexual men across the country ( including a Chicago couple ) and a transgender woman.

Jesus Ramirez-Valles, the executive producer of the film, and Judith McCray, the movie's director-producer, are both Chicago residents. Ramirez-Valles, an associate professor of public health at the Univesity of Illinois at Chicago, conducted research on the impact of HIV/AIDS and the stigmatization of Latino GLBT persons within their own community that forms the basis of Tal Como Somos. Windy City Times spoke with Ramirez-Valles about the project.

Windy City Times: What started you on this long journey from research to a movie?

Jesus Ramirez-Valles: I grew up in Mexico and I started working on HIV/AIDS pretty much as soon as I came out of college, which was when I was coming out myself. I started working as a community organizer coordinating mass media for public campaigns and then I came here to the States and started working on HVI/AIDS and GLBT issues. I became a researcher; I'm a professor and my work has been on things like substance abuse, high-risk behavior—among gay Latino men in particular—and this latest study became a book. I collected life stories from Latino gay men in San Francisco and in Chicago, and I was planning the manuscript for academic uses but I had a bit of a crisis and thought, 'Who cares about this stuff? Who's going to read this stuff?' I was in the midst of that, and then during a flight to a conference with a colleague of mine that changed. She was asking me about the book and then suggested I try to adapt it into a play and then we both said, 'No, it should be a film.'

I have the film background from working in mass communication in Mexico so it seemed a natural. So the idea clicked—that was in 2004. Then I started looking into ways to pull the idea together. I knew I could sell it as a tool for educators and for a larger audience and I applied to the NIH for funding and looked for a production company and chose Judy McCray's production company and we got the grant, and here we are.

WCT: I'm assuming you've experienced the prejudice that some of the individuals in the film have experienced, is that correct?

JRV: Yes. I can see many pieces of my life in the film. I hope the larger audience can also find a little bit of themselves in the individuals like I do.

WCT: That resonates with all gay people, that prejudice—I don't care what your ethnicity is or beliefs.

JRV: Yes, that is true. I'm also an immigrant like many of the people in the film and I have this connection with them. It was like seeing parts of my life over.

WCT: Does being an immigrant add another level about your anxiety? Being in an adopted country, part of a minority and being gay?

JRV: I think it can play different ways—it depends on your status. Many Latino gay men have come to this country because they want to get away from the stigma they experience in their home country. They're not running away from their country; they're running away from their families and their homes. So here they find comfort in the anonymity. You can be pretty much who you want to be here. People are looking not only for a safe place in gender terms but in financial terms. Transgendered people, especially, have a lower status and are tremendously marginalized and have few options for jobs, which leads to sex work and substance abuse and it just gets pretty tough. The farther you get from the gender norms the higher the price you pay. But, yes, it's probably another issue for undocumented immigrants.

WCT: Why is prejudice for LGBT people so prevalent in the Latino community? Is it because of the stereotypical 'macho' culture? Have some of those stereotypes become outmoded?

JRV: I think it's pervasive in all societies. I have lived as a gay man here in the States pretty much, but I've visited Mexico many times and you go to Vallarta and you think you are in Key West—it's very open there, and in Mexico City you can register as a gay couple. As a society at large, there have been changes but the stigma is certainly still there. I think [ that is ] because Latino culture is so collectively oriented—we are oriented to peers, to our family, to our extended families, we are very close to them—and the United States seems to have more of a culture of individualism. I think that, for us, it's part of the struggle because, I mean, how do you run away? It's very difficult to run away from your family and your friends because they are the closest part of your life but often that's where the stigma is coming from. Also, we are culturally Catholics—more than by denomination—we don't have to go to church to be Catholics in Mexico. You're pretty much born and raised that way so these become cultural issues with our families and our friends. [ Laughs ]

WCT: Beyond the screening at the festival, what happens next for the film?

JRV: We are looking into some other festivals around the country and some television screenings but I can't be more specific about them right now. There will also be this educational version with a discussion guide for schools.

WCT: This all sounds great. Does it feel wonderful to see the project over the finish line?

JRV: It does, but I'm not looking forward to the future because I'm going to be depressed now that this wonderful experience is over. [ Laughs ] It's been very rewarding and hopefully another project will come out of this.

WCT: Well, it sounds like if it doesn't, you're going to create one.

JRV: [ Laughs ] No doubt!

Visit www.LatinoCulturalCenter.org or phone 312-409-1757 for more information about the film festival.


This article shared 5352 times since Thu May 1, 2008
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Second Glance Productions hosts LGBTQupid Soiree
2024-02-16
In celebration of Valentine's Day, Chicago based film and media production company Second Glance hosted The LBGTQupid Soiree. The event, which was focused on spinning attitudes on this particular day, was presented at The iO ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Elton John, Hannah Gadsby, video game, Jennifer Lopez, queer thriller
2024-02-16
Video below - Sir Elton John has sold his Atlanta home and is now auctioning off more than 900 of his personal items that were kept in the 13,500-square-foot condo, The Daily Mail noted. The massive collection includes rare ...


Gay News

GALECA announces nominees for the Dorian Film Awards
2024-02-07
--From a press release - Feb. 5, 2024 - GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, consisting of over 500 entertainment critics, journalists and media icons, today announced the group's democratically chosen nominees for its 15th Dorian Film Awards. All of ...


Gay News

GLAAD remembers Cecilia Gentili, transgender Latina, actress, activist, health care activist, journalist
2024-02-06
--From a press release - (New York, NY - February 6, 2024) GLAAD, the world's largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, is responding to the death of transgender actress and advocate Cecilia Gentili and elevating voices of transgender and political leaders honoring ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ JoJo Siwa, Tom Holland, Bowen Yang, Pet Shop Boys, Mariah Carey
2024-02-02
In the wake of Nigel Lythgoe exiting So You Think You Can Dance, queer personality JoJo Siwa is returning to the series, per Deadline. Siwa, who was a judge on season 17 of the Fox show, will replace Lythgoe, who left ...


Gay News

Leather Archives & Museum announces 2024 Fetish Film Forum
2024-01-27
--From a press release - CHICAGO, Illinois—After a wildly successful inaugural year, including a 10-film series at the Leather Archives & Museum and a 5-film series at FACETS, the Leather Archives & Museum is thrilled to announce the continuation of Fetish ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Sundance items, Green Day, 'Wednesday,' Queerties, 'The Wiz'
2024-01-26
At the Sundance Film Festival, Jodie Foster told Variety that the $1.4-billion success of Barbie helps confirm that Hollywood no longer views women directors as too much of a risk. She said, "With a big success ...


Gay News

WORLD Arrest in Brazil, athlete dies, Ghana attack, World Economic Forum
2024-01-26
A 30-year-old man was arrested in Brazil on Jan. 18 for his alleged role in the stabbing murder of prominent NYC art dealer Brent Sikkema, Gay City News reported. Authorities took Cuban resident Alejandro Triana Trevez ...


Gay News

More than 210,000 Latinx LGBT immigrants live in California
2024-01-24
--From a press release - Nearly two-thirds of Latinx LGBT immigrants without Green Cards live in poverty. A new study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law finds that there are 211,000 Latinx LGBT immigrants in California, including 68,800 ...


Gay News

OSCARS Gladstone, Domingo receive nominations
2024-01-23
LGBTQ+ actors Lily Gladstone and Colman Domingo were among those receiving Oscar nominations when they were announced Jan. 23. Gladstone received a Best Actress nod for her role in the Martin Scorsese-directed Killers of the Flower ...


Gay News

Out truth-teller Jeff Hiller takes his act on the road
2024-01-21
Jeff Hiller is an openly gay American storyteller who is bringing his act to the Midwest in February. He's making his way across the United States while filming the third season of HBO's Somebody Somewhere and ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Laid,' 'Nimona,' Lukas Gage, Lil Nas X, Lily Gladstone, John Waters
2024-01-19
Peacock has given a straight-to-series order to the comedy Laid, which is slated to feature queer actress Stephanie Hsu (Everything Everywhere All at Once), Variety noted. Based on the Australian series of the same name, the ...


Gay News

WORLD Conversion therapy, trans Haitian advocate, intersex report, activist attacked
2024-01-12
Norway is the latest country to outlaw conversion therapy after its parliament passed a bill that criminalizes the practice, Mamba noted. The bill, under development since 2019, received approval in the Storting (the Norwegian parliament) last ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Call Me By Your Name,' awards, Aspen Gay Ski Week, Miss Cleo
2024-01-12
The Oscar-winning gay romance Call Me by Your Name is leaving Netflix after Jan. 31, per Out. The coming-of-age romance was helmed by Bones and All director Luca Guadagnino, and stars Timothee Chalamet as 17-year-old Elio ...


Gay News

Few LGBTQ+ individuals score Golden Globes wins
2024-01-08
The Golden Globes took place Jan. 7—but, for the LGBTQ+ community, there wasn't much to cheer about. For example, queer actors Andrew Scott (All of Us Strangers) and Colman Domingo (Rustin) fell short, as Cillian Murphy ...


 


Copyright © 2024 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.

All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.