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 2022-06-08
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  IDENTITY

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

This article shared 5101 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 5101 times since Thu May 1, 2008
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Actor Ezra Miller supposedly housing people at firearm-filled farm
2022-06-24
Non-binary actor Ezra Miller is allegedly housing a young mother and her three small children at a Vermont farm, which is allegedly littered with firearms, ammunition and marijuana, according to a Page Six item that cited ...


Gay News

'Hacks,' 'Euphoria' lead LGBTQ+ critics' Dorian TV nominations
2022-06-23
-- From a press release - JUNE 22, 2022 - The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics—now composed of 385 professional critics and journalists covering film and television—announced its 14th Dorian TV Awards nominations for the best in all of TV, mainstream to ...


Gay News

TELEVISION 'A League of Their Own' screening July 2 in Rockford
2022-06-23
-- From a press release - ROCKFORD, Illinois — June 22, 2022 — Prime Video and the City of Rockford will team up to host a free advance screening of the upcoming Prime Video original series A League of Their Own. The ...


Gay News

Photos of Chicago's Daniel Sotomayor included in new Smithsonian exhibit
2022-06-22
The Smithsonian's first gallery dedicated to Latino history and culture has opened its doors to the public at the National Museum of American History, NBC News noted. Billed as a precursor to a national Latino museum ...


Gay News

Chicago Philharmonic launches 2022-23 season
2022-06-21
-- From a press release - CHICAGO, IL - (June 20, 2022) Chicago Philharmonic has announced its 2022-23 symphonic season on the heels of a 2021-22 season that ended with the sold-out Chicago Premiere of Marvel Studios' Black Panther in Concert. The ...


Gay News

DANCE Chicago's Joffrey Ballet releasing Pride video filmed in NYC
2022-06-20
The Joffrey Ballet and Action Lines—a video-production company founded by Joffrey artists Xavier Nunez and Dylan Gutierrez as well as writer/producer Eric Grant—have unveiled a video filmed at the FDR Four Freedoms State Park (on New ...


Gay News

Gloria Allen screening/gathering to take place June 23
2022-06-20
A film screening/community gathering to honor the late trans icon Gloria Allen (also known as Mama Gloria) will take place Thursday, June 23, 6-8 p.m., at the South Side Community Art Center, 3831 S. Michigan Ave. ...


Gay News

Billy Masters
2022-06-20
"u don't know my alphabet."—Sexy Lukas Gage (from The White Lotus; Love, Victor; and the rebooted Queer as Folk) tweets his response to criticism that Hollywood shouldn't hire him to play LGBTQIA+ roles. When asked to ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Lightyear,' celebrity event, LGBT runner, Mariah Carey
2022-06-19
Video below - Pixar's latest film Lightyear is hitting theaters, and it has a special moment for gay fans—a same-sex kiss between the character Hawthorne (voiced by Uzo Aduba) and her female partner—that almost didn't happen, Out Magazine note ...


Gay News

Spacey charged with sexual assault; UK hearing set for June 16
2022-06-13
British authorities have charged actor Kevin Spacey with four counts of sexual assault and a further offense, Deadline reported. The actor has also been charged with causing a person to "engage in penetrative sexual activity without ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Jodie Comer, 'Queer As Folk,' trans film, Tom of Finland photos
2022-06-12
Jodie Comer—the Emmy- and BAFTA-winning actress perhaps best known for playing LGBTQ+ assassin Villanelle on BBC America's Killing Eve—will make her Broadway debut next spring in Prima Facie, a new play by Suzie Miller, Deadline noted. ...


Gay News

Rebel Wilson comes out as LGBTQ+ [UPDATE]
2022-06-09
It's fitting that, during Pride Month, actress Rebel Wilson has seemingly come out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. On June 9, Wilson shared an Instagram post beside her new love, with the caption: "I ...


Gay News

WTTW celebrates LGBTQ+ Pride Month with special content
2022-06-08
WTTW recently released its schedule of special programming in celebration of LGBTQ Pride Month. Highlights include: True Colors: LGBTQ+ Our Stories, Our Songs (NEW) Wed., June 8 at 9:30 pm Offering a unique look at the ...


Gay News

2022 MTV Movie & TV Awards & Movie & TV Awards unveiled
2022-06-06
-- From a press release - New York, New York: (June 5, 2022) - The 2022 MTV Movie & TV Awards, hosted by Vanessa Hudgens, honored the biggest and brightest stars in movies and television with an epic, one-night only global event ...


Gay News

Billy Masters
2022-06-06
"My mother says that she will not sleep with anybody over the age of 25."—Rocco Ritchie talking about Madonna. This tidbit came courtesy of Dame Joan Collins—who prefaced the quote by saying "We were with her ...


 



Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

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 Transegender 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
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.