Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Watch Live

Bonus episode: New challenges facing the queer community in Baja

 December 6, 2023 at 11:49 AM PST

S1: The views expressed in today's episode are solely those of who expressed them , and they do not represent the views of Port of Entry or Kpbs. Listener discretion is advised. You are listening to Port of Entry. Ola. Friends. As we were producing our first two episodes of the season , the fight for marriage equality in Baja. Some very compelling points did not make it into the final cut. Not wanting to have those points lost into the nether realm of unaired segments , we thought it would be good food for thought to touch on those points by , say , hosting a conversation between Medical and Alejandro , our two protagonists of the story , for the fight for marriage equality. Curious fact they have never met before. Well , we did that. Natalie and our producer Julio sat down with Alejandro and Rachel in a video conversation about the state and new frontier of queer rights in Baja. We hope you enjoy the conversation as much as we did. Take it away , Julio.

S2: Okay , guys , thank you very much , folks. Everybody who's just tuning in. We are here filming , recording a special bonus episode. These two features have not met each other but were part of the same story. The fight for marriage equality. We have Alejandro Sanchez directly from New Haven , New Haven , New Haven. Can I get any medical directly from Tijuana ? Hello.

S3: Hello.

S2: All right. So thank you so much , folks , for joining us. I think this is something that was both in our mind in the minds of our team. Just very curious about all the things that didn't make it into the cut , but we thought it would be interesting just to engage each other in a conversation about certain topics that were part of the conversations that we had during the interviews , but just didn't make it to the cut. So why don't we start by giving some brief introductions to yourselves and what you do , and then we'll start with the questions. And take it away.

S4: I'll start. Hi , Kpbs listeners. Julio. Natalie. Maricela. Ryan. I'm Alejandro Sanchez. I use pronouns he him pronouns. I am a current master's student. Master's in public policy , student at Yale University. Not so long ago , I was based out of San Diego , Tijuana , where I was a policy advisor by day and an LGBTQ rights activist by night. I was part of a project that got to legalize same sex marriage , advocating from a youth perspective , advancing not just Same-Sex marriage , but also fighting for other equally important rights , such as trans identity rights for trans people to easily change their gender markers or their names on their purchase tickets and state issued IDs , and also for the banning of conversion therapy , which happened after same sex marriage was approved and thankfully weren't that big of an issue to to be approved. And I'm very honored to meet Medi-Cal , who I know has been a part of this , and I learned through her interview how long her fight had been. You know , what hurdles she had had to go through , the people in government that she met. Just a very different sort of. The very different sort of challenges that I had to face. All I did was literally just go on Instagram and start designing pretty things. But she was actually in the battleground fighting for these things when we had no one in our side. So I'm very , very proud to join , join her and join you all today.

S2: And with that said , let's pass the mic to me. Can you introduce yourself ? Sure.

S5: My name is Lauren Vargas. I was born in Barcelona , Spain , and I lived all my life in Tijuana since I was three months old. So I consider myself a Chicana , but with like with a T like in Catalan , because it's part of my culture , you know , like Spanish culture , Mexican and also American because I grew up in Tijuana , I learned English watching , you know , Mister Rogers Neighborhood and Sesame Street and obviously is a root for Kpbs. Yeah. So and then I became a lawyer and human rights activist since I was like 14 years old when I worked on migration issues. And I was an abogado , you know , other human rights defenders , and even before I was a lawyer. So as I grew up , I was very cryptic in a , in an analytic and in politics and , you know , in a , in California , it's a very conservative state. And , you know , in a , in a lot of faculty and because most of the people are very rightwing. So being a diverse parts and , you know , a socialist woman , it was hard to go through through law school here in California. So every discrimination and violence that I got against me , I used this. I use this as fuel to to react in a positive way that can impact society and not only just , you know , keep that the anger of the acts of discrimination , but do something with it. And at the time I , I live with my partner Nancy Vanilla , which we have been fighting for , human rights for women , lgtbq and plus community , because we got in front of issues that were like when I was in the hospital , I needed Nancy to bring us a bring me a towel or whatever we need in a public hospital because we don't get , you know , all the accessories you get , not even in a motel they give you. I've been in motels. Yes. So. And I think that's part of what I am. I also try to convert the , the , the discrimination in comedy. And I also I give up some shows of stand up or informative comedy as I name it and that's it. All right.

S2: Thank you very much. Thank you. Alejandro , thank you very much for the introduction. Let's take it away with the questions. All right. So this I was we were wondering what new challenges is faced by the LGBT community in Baja. What's the next steps ? What were the new frontiers ? Were the new fights being taken ? So why don't we start with Alejandro ? You can answer this question and that have had something as well.

S4: From what we've fought for and what front we've been at , which has been the activists political side of things. I think we've had many advancements with the people that are in government , none of which have been openly queer. We've worked with straight allies in the state legislature across , you know , the state government , municipal governments , too. But we've never really gotten a chance to work with someone who openly identifies as LGBTQ. And and I coming from San Diego and Tijuana and seeing how in San Diego it's so normalized that we have office holders who are proudly out LGBTQ leaders. The mayor of San Diego , Todd Gloria , is a great gay leader. The state senator who represents San Diego's main district , Tony Atkins , is a president of California State Senate and is the first lesbian woman to do that. And the state Assembly and City Council just all across San Diego County. We see so many people , queer people who are public office holders , and we don't see that in Baja California. So I'm hoping that with the changes we've made in law , all of us , that that we've , you know , try to bring queer issues to the forefront. We can see in the future openly queer elected officials , an openly queer mayor , an openly queer people who can bring our community's issues to the forefront and actually fight for them , where the decisions are being made , where the budgets are being assigned , because otherwise we will always be at. I don't want to say at the mercy , but we will always be depending on sort of charity , which sounds horrible , but the charity of straight people who will be , you know , who , who might or might not be okay with us being in those spaces. I think that from a political perspective and from a more vocalize , what legislation do we have still pending ? I think first and foremost , world Aids day is coming up this Friday. I think we , as a state that has so many migrants coming in and we have such a large sex worker population to we haven't really tackled the issues that come with people with living with HIV and Aids because of taboo. We simply don't want to talk about it. We we know that we have a very high proportion of people living with HIV and Aids , especially people living on the streets with , with this condition , that many of them are queer and just out of stigma. We haven't really looked into that issue. So I think it's very important that across the federal , state and local level , we start paying attention. The due attention that these people have and treatment and prevention and , you know , making sure that these people are well tended to and that we can let go of the discrimination and stigma that , as many people mentioned , stems from conservative governments from the past that hopefully we've done away with with other queer issues. I think the next forefront will probably also be adoptions from same sex couples that currently , the way it's set up , you pretty much are at the mercy of the state government , the deep state , and whether or not they will allow a same sex couple to adopt a child. There's no law that actually prohibits that from happening , but it's very discretionary and that can't be the case. We can't have , you know , maybe an administration will allow you to adopt a same sex couple , but maybe the next one won't. We really need to put that into law and make sure that we're not discriminating same sex couples who want to adopt children in Baja California , because , I mean , it's ridiculous how how many homeless , yeah , homeless kids are in our orphanages. And simply because of stigma , same sex couples who want to have kids who want to adopt children aren't allowed to because , you know , homophobia. So I think those two will probably be my main challenge in all three main challenges for the future.

S2: So just having more representation , the public health issues and adoption , you see as these new battlegrounds and any other battlegrounds or any other points of of say , struggle , where do you see the new frontiers for queer folks in Baja ? Sure.

S5: Actually , the thing today is very caliente , because the Electoral Institute of California is publicly publishing the criterion lineaments Como se Alejandro. Practice guidelines. Oh , yes. Thank you. The guidelines for the for the. If queer people or people could have an affirmative action to go for Congress that the said accord according to the guidelines the this should be this year on the 224 elections. It should be one space for lgtbq people and one space for people with disabilities , you know , as a quota and affirmative action. So they they are voting that it should be one space for diversity or LGB people and one space for people with disability or one space not and one space. So we are facing that one. One sector will be misrepresented and that also the affirmative actions do not reach on this guidelines. The the criteria for people to be on city councils , the ratio , as we call it in Mexico. So the we are supposed to living in a equality and democracy , but it's it's fake because in the facts we cannot even get to Congress if not because of an affirmative action. And what happens is that people here say that they identify themselves as queer. And and I got phone calls calling people , people calling me to telling that they were in jail for a few months. And the the one guy had oral sex from other guy , and then now he's bisexual and then he I should vote for him. You know , this this ridiculous arguments and so vulgar that that's why we are organizing a group of LGBT people in front of the electoral Institute so that we can get the respect and in the public spaces that we need. Okay.

S2: Okay. So you're saying that there is folks who are known to be straight and they just take over the space of designated for queer folks and be able to. Exactly. Okay. Huh. Interesting. And what then are , say , the next steps. So you're saying codifying the those spaces into that just are not , I guess , drawn out only to either a disabled somebody who is disabled or somebody who is queer , but to have one for each. Correct. Is that what you're saying ? Yes. Okay. Huh. All right. I want to chime in real quick for the next question.

S4: Yeah , I agree with medical more broadly , I. You know , over the past few months we've had major discussions not just in Baja California but all across Mexico about why the the democratic institutions that we have matter. We've heard discussions coming from all the way up from the president down to the local level , talking about we need to defund the in the in is evil , it's corrupt , and it is destroying Mexico because we have nine heroes , nine councillors who somehow are royalty in Mexico. Therefore , let's do away with it and let's do our own modified version of this body , which would never even have these discussions they would never even think of like , oh , let's open up our spaces to people who , you know , look like us , who are disabled , who are indigenous because they're trying to do a self serving institution that will only perpetuate them in power. So I think it serves as a reminder to us queer people that we've always had to fight those in power. And this is now happening again. Um , you know , if we wait for a modified electoral institute , chances are all the advances we've made with the current in with its pros and cons , I'm not saying it's perfect and that it shouldn't be reformed. It should. However , you know , it's the same history we've always seen as LGBTQ people trying to get power.

S2: Okay , let's move on to the next question then. So what are we seeing happening in the US and that it's or maybe abroad , that it's making its way to say the the dominion of Lgbtq+ issues from the US or maybe Europe into Mexico , but specifically US and in in Baja. Do you want to start off ? So what's happening in the US that's coming over into California ? Sure.

S5: When I went to United States and with the International Visitor Leadership Program in the Obama administration , we got to meet a lot of activists and LGBT from all parts of the world , from Africa , from , you know , every continent that you can imagine. There were people there. So this people from , from Nigeria were saying that even coming out of the closet , it would mean , you know , death for them. And in some places here in California , people are in that situation because I already talked about how conservative our state is. So we can just ponder , you know , talking about querying the census , you know , knowing how many people we are so we can get our representatives or human rights , health rights , and not not only just fixating and , you know , and equal marriage and gay marriage or equal marriage or whatnot. And the fact of adoption , you know , we we can fight for affirmative action in education and other spaces that I think we have only managed to get the copy of the rights from the United States to California to , you know , barely survived , not to really get acknowledged as a population that vote and then pay taxes and whatever. So , yeah , that's what I think. Queer the census is the next thing. And taking the lgtbq fight or rights in it to education , culture and health , but not only talking about HIV or , you know , sexual diseases.


S5: If you have ceiling in your house of concrete or whatnot , but they don't ask you your sexual orientation or your identity. So that's the problem. When we we need to get represented , they say , oh , they we know we don't know how many you are. Maybe you are a minority , but if you really count it , we mostly mean half of the congressmen are gay in closet. Know that we know. But maybe I'm talking too much.

S2: So you mean just having the sense ? The census packets include questions about sexual orientation , gender identity , just to have to know the breadth of population that the queer population is to therefore to say , you said , just count , baby , just to have that presence on , on , on. When it comes to the lawmakers to realize how big it is , basically. Alejandro , same question to you. I think you like that.

S4: We had a recent good piece of news coming down from the US that the US census will now add a question not to its formal decennial census that they're going to do in 2030 , but to a smaller census that do every year , where they will ask for the first time in its 200 plus year history , whether or not someone in that house will identifies as LGBTQ , which opens up a lot of issues sometimes even with like people who aren't out to their families. Like there's been some debate around that. But still , as somebody mentioned , it's a huge advancement because once we know how many we are , where we are , we can understand where the resources are needed. Right ? I mean , it doesn't make sense to only focus on California and New York. You know , the big states of the US wouldn't actually , it's probably the smaller states than middle America who need those extra funds , who need that extra support , because that's where it's more dangerous to come out and live openly as an LGBTQ person. And I mean , imagine if the US is only now , in 2023 , deciding to do it , just imagine how backwards we are in Mexico in terms of that. It's unfortunate , yes , that we're not part of the of the census. It's unfortunate , too , that this is another institution that has been constantly attacked by the current administration that they're trying to underfund , because somehow these data oppose the some the alternative facts that are sometimes touted about by the current president. So it's unfortunate whatever way you want to look at it. And also another point that I think is good that we're seeing in the US that I hope we can bring into Mexico is queer representation again in all levels of government. You know , having a cabinet member in President Biden's administration who is openly gay , having , you know , members of Congress , you know , senators , representatives who are proudly LGBTQ , having an LGBTQ caucus in the US , that it's so formalized and institutionalized , it has people from both the Democratic and Republican Party in it. It's just had waves. And , you know , we sort of have that in Mexico. We've only just started having that in the camera potatoes where we're starting to see. You know , openly LGBTQ people being elected and occupying those spaces very , very solemnly , I will say. We have the like Salma , who's an openly trans congresswoman who has taken that responsibility with a lot of care , with giving a lot of priorities to the LGBTQ causes at a federal level. It's just one person in a sea of 400 or plus members. So it's sometimes hard. But the more and more openly queer people who are elected to to our positions of power , you know , the more we're going to see a progression towards being part of the mainstream conversation. And the not so good part that we're also seeing from the US towards Mexico is a rise in anti-LGBTQ rhetoric , a rise in anti-LGBTQ hate speech that isn't necessarily circumscribed to the US. This is a globalized affair that unfortunately , it's happening across the world , but especially in the US. It's ridiculous that you would think we've made such progress coming from the 20th century into the 21st century , that we now have legislation protecting same sex marriage federally. We now have these new laws that seem to seemed to have shown a bright light in terms of LGBTQ plus equality. And now 2023 , we're starting to see a regression on that , right ? We're starting to see state legislatures , members of Congress proposing the most ignorant bills. And it's particularly targeting trans folks , you know , trying to leave trans people out of athletic competitions , trying to out them out , trans students to high school students , middle school students to their parents just doing the most bigoted pieces of legislation and actually passing them in states that have conservative majorities. And that is starting to trickle down to Mexico. We're starting to see , unfortunately , political figures , I think , across north and south of Mexico , who are picking up on that rhetoric. We're picking up in that , you know , hate speeches and are trying to bring it into Mexico. But I hope our LGBTQ community will be strong enough to never let them back to power again.

S1: Port of entry will be back after a short break. You are listening to Port of Entry.

S2: Moving on to talking about representation. Let's talk about the magistrate who unfortunately. I mean , I don't know if the jury jury's still out with what happened with him. Sorry. Were they ? For those who don't know , he was the first openly non-binary magistrate who was murdered. Killed ? Not quite sure , but. Alejandro , what's your take ? Yeah.

S4: I mean , I understand that Kpbs is a news outlet , and we can't really make assumptions of the facts without having an official indictment from from the courts. So we'll try to keep this as objective and not as activist as I can. But by all accounts , it seems that this was a presumed murder. Pursuit. We're still not sure that just evidence. Evidence is how behind we are in terms of protecting our LGBTQ people in power , how behind we are in. Offering them , even , like the most visible people , a dignified prosecution of crimes against them. We're seeing all sorts of comments from respected journalists across Mexico who are misgendering them , who are calling it a crime of passion , because that same they and their partner were seen at an airport , apparently with some sort of disagreement , that they'd had therefore must have been murdered by their partner. And because there were drugs in their systems , then we should assume that it was a crime of passion , this crime of passion. The label has existed for so many years and has been used to justify not just hate crimes against LGBTQ people , but hate crimes against women , hate crimes against all sorts of vulnerable minorities perpetuated by men. Let's just call it what it is by men to to sort of say like , well , it was a passionate thing. So we , we kind of have to be lenient about it. Like , no , it was a murder. They literally murdered a person who had been at the forefront of the fight for LGBTQ equality. And what does that leave for the rest of us aspiring activists ? The rest of , you know , a young non-binary person who might have seen an occupation , a role model to look up to like , hey , if they did it , if they climbed the ranks of power , maybe I can be that someday. Maybe I can , you know , be the next magistrate , the next minister , the next , you know , high ranking people not just in law enforcement or law interpretation , but in any field that they want. What does this say to them ? It's this , you know , if you have the misfortune of being born into Mexico , then you better keep to yourself. You better not be out and proud. You better , you know , be silent , because this is unfortunately the destiny you might face in the future. Medical.

S2: Medical.

S5: I think it's not even just for straight people. So when we're queer people , we cannot expect , you know , anything. And even when I , as a lawyer , have cases of violence against women , and the partner is a woman , we try to we are it's illegal to do it , but we try to mediate between the couples because we know that if they go to the to the local authorities , they will be discriminated and maybe one of them will be arrested , or maybe even both of them , you know , so so we actually we cannot really hope just of justice if a crime. Happens. I like to mention the hate crime of of Jeanine Huerta that , you know , was an activist here in Tijuana , and she was a trans woman that was murdered and she always denounced it , police brutality against sexual workers and was , you know , at every forum or conference she was in denouncing it. So we can know that , okay , maybe they say , oh , maybe a client murder her. We are sure there was a hate crime because it was because of she. What was she was saying ? And the history of Silvina. Well , I think he represents this. You know , the fact that queer people can can be professionals. And I read in social media that said this , they my parents sent me pictures of Vina when they say , maybe you can make it too. So I think I think it was they they killed the icon that that could say to many people that it it can get better. No , it gets better , you know , because in the event it gets better , gets better project , you know , it's doubtful when you are poor , when you are or you're not white when you're not , you know , Catholic or whatnot.

S2: Of the privileged class. Basically , it's just it cuts against you if you're not part of that privileged class. Wasps.

S5: Wasps. Yes.

S1: Port of entry will be back after a short break. You are listening to Port of Entry.

S2: Okay , so moving on to the last question. We got about ten less than ten minutes. So what are the new frontiers for human rights ? And I know this was very interesting to me when we were having the interviews , you mentioned how to rethink human rights for different populations that we might not yet have discovered , you know , how might and have not , might not have encountered. And you say , what about thinking about intergalactic rights ? So thinking of those different frontiers. What are your thoughts if you can help us understand ? What are those new challenges for those populations that we don't know of yet ? Yes. Sorry.

S5: Sorry. Okay. The the thought that I have is thinking about , you know , futuro the the the law that we should have in the future thinking , you know , about Captain Picard and next generation Star Trek because Star Trek because he it is a figure that is mostly democratic , including incluyendo. You know , it includes every every kind of specie. Not he , not just humans and actually , well , you know , alien life , it in fact exists. So we have to start thinking about not just human rights , but maybe galactic rights. Uh , maybe we would encounter that. You know , plants are really more sentient that we than we thought. So maybe we should start start thinking about not harming the trees. You know , this kind of thought is what I think that we need. Because we are we are facing some retro sensors. You know , we're going back on human rights , thinking about road versus wade in the United States in the right of to to abortion. And , you know , maybe thinking of Argentina with military and , you know , we are tending to , you know , to another Third World War when humanitarian law , it was supposed to fix everything. And there was not supposed to be a war like , you know , happening in Russia or in , in , you know , Colombia against the people there , the activists. So , yeah , we need to think forward , you know , the rights that we have , we have to defend them. We have to have better mechanism and local governmental and social structures to protect them. But also thinking always forward , not not backwards , because that that would be the end of , you know , the , the humanism that we should. I think we should live in , you know , thinking of each other as some somebody that you could help or should help.

S2: And Alejandro.

S4: So I'm very interested in hearing more about that. That is so cool. 100 years from today , maybe we won't be around , but they will still be fighting for new rights and there will still , unfortunately still be oppression. There will still be the many things that we're trying to fight against in that today. But the only way we can ensure that what we're doing today transcends and , you know , the the future of justice can live in a world that's happier , more free , more just , more equal is through education. You know what we're doing at the end of the day here , medical and I and all the activists in California are that we're trying to educate the citizenry , everyone around us , that queerness is okay. We're trying to tell them that you , you know , queer people , they are part of your community. They're the person who delivers your mail. They're the person who cooks your meal. They're the person who you see at the dentist office where all around you. And it's normal that we exist and we do not want , you know , to take over the world. We do not want to queer ify your children. We simply want to exist unapologetically as ourselves. So what we're doing here is we're trying to educate , to educate people in empathy and and just let them think like , hey , maybe. 30 years from now , there's going to be a new fight for a different identity. That doesn't have to be queer , that it could be a new , you know , category of , of of a personhood. So let's try and tackle those future issues with the same empathy , with the same love for humanity , with the same love for our , I want to say , brothers are siblings that that , you know , you've affected to queer people. And once we see that happening , I will at least know , like , hey , the work that we did mattered and it had a tangible effect.

S2: Thank you. So let's just wrap it up. Conclusions. So just a little little. Say you say wrap up activity. That's there's something that struck you from the stories that we did on each other. Alejandro , you mentioned something in the beginning is something that struck you from the story that we did on Alejandro , something that you didn't know that it was really interesting. Yes.

S5: Yes. The the. I think what struck me is that we haven't been effective in letting know the next generation of activists on human rights to be women , indigenous , etcetera , of the history of the activists here in California. And that's and I always have , you know , shouted out that we need a museum of human rights here in California. And I think that this is a really this is really an issue that we don't have anybody , you know , making compilations about our history , about our where we come from , what we did , where we fighted , where we got arrested when we got , you know , got out of a session at gunpoint because this happened this happens in Tijuana. So I think it would be very interesting to to keep fighting for this. And I think it's very necessary. So we can also acknowledge new activists and , you know , if they're part of their our history , you know , to meet I should have met Alejandro before and I'm grateful for for you leading presenting him you know , to me. Okay. So that's it.

S2: Alejandro , anything that struck you from the story ? Yes.

S4: Thank you for your kind words , Michelle. I mean , as you mentioned , right ? We do not have a codified history of queerness in California. Kpbs did a great job of doing this , this , these episodes in this series. But it's unfortunate that we don't have codified history just yet. Certainly when Medi-Cal is deputized or alcalde or governor , she's going to a lot enough budgets for those museums to be built for those historical memories to be made or maybe not made yet , but someone in the LGBTQ community will do once they're elected. You know , we really can't be expecting straight allies who are amazing , who have been instrumental in the fight to be , you know , doing this on our behalf. But the one thing that struck me from Americas and Nancy's story was the first story in the hospital during Covid 19 , when I was with my friend group in 2020 thinking about the importance of passing same sex marriage during the pandemic , a question that many activists from an older generation than me ask me was like , well , why do we need same sex marriage right now , like in May or June of 2020 ? Like , why specifically right now ? Do you do realize we're going through a worldwide pandemic right now ? Right. So why is this , like such a priority ? And I always said , like , imagine if there was a same sex couple who was at the MPs who have been feeding , facing these issues , who could only , you know , gain access to , to to the full coverage of the law. If they were married from Baja California , what would they do ? And it was always a very hypothetical. Imagine if that were the case. But knowing that your that was your case and , you know. That it actually happened was like eye opening to think that , you know , this the urgency that we put into this fight in 2020 and 2021 had a purpose , and it was so in future pandemics and future , you know , situations that we have of this nature , same sex couples won't be facing the same hurdles as you and Nancy did. And and it's amazing that even as said in your story , that that the guard in the hospital who was Hermana , uh , Omari was the one who helped you out because like , damn , even even in the most dire circumstances , we can still find some queer love and some queer community , you know , to build us up. Good.

S2: Good. Alejandro and Michelle , we are out of time. So why don't you just give us a quick plug ? Your socials , what ? Where you're at or what's next for you in your life ? Just quick. Outro. Thank you. But.

S5: Well , thank you for your time. Thank you for making me learn English with Sesame Street , Kpbs.

S6: Thank you.

S5: Thank you. Port of entry. Natalia. Julio. It was very great meeting you. And , you know , you can count on me with an activist here locally. And I know that I can count on you. So you can , you know , move our information through through the media so you can find me at Instagram , as many telling , you know , it's my name , my name , but ING and also in Facebook because I'm an old timer. Vargas. And that's it.

S4: My shameless self plug. Echoing what Maricel says. Thank you. Hello. Thank you. Natalie. Adrian Allen. You guys work has been so amazing , and you have no idea the amount of people that have come up to me that have messaged me like , hey , I heard your interview. Oh my goodness , I can't believe that happened. I can't like that is so amazing. Like , who would have thought that in 2021 , people still have to be fighting for these rights ? And these have been comments that I've gotten from friends here in the US , friends from abroad , friends from back in Baja California who have heard this , family members even who have been like , I never realized they would. It was such a big fight in so many things where at stake and this bringing such a big spotlight to this issue that we fought for wouldn't have been possible without you guys and Kpbs commitment to diversity. So thank you for that PSA. Over. You can find me. What's next for me ? I am your socials.

S2: Don't forget your socials.

S4: My socials. Yes , I am completing my first semester of grad school. I am very excited for it. I am pursuing a public policy degree and I do not know what I will be doing right after this moment. I certainly know that I will return to Mexico one day and do the best I can to change my beloved country , my beloved Baja California. But until that day comes , people can find out what I'm doing on Instagram. It's Alejandro and Sam and Sierra as and Frank as CF or LinkedIn. Alejandro Sanchez Flores.

S2: Okay , good. Michelle , Alejandro , the California and obviously all the activists that came before you will come after you , owe you a great debt for your work , your commitment to pushing the boundaries of human rights and queer rights specifically. So the landscape has changed because of you. So I commend you , salute you. Thank you very much for being part for letting us tell your story and for an audience. Thank you so much for joining us for this great story and interview and sharing these thoughts.

UU: Thank you. Have a good one , guys.

S7: This episode of Port of Entry was written and produced by Julio Cesar Ortiz.

S1: Adrian Lobos is technical producer and sound designer. Elisa Barba is our editor.

S7: Lisa morissette is director of audio programming and operations , and Jen Decker is senior director of content development.

S1: This program is made possible in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting , a private corporation funded by the American people.

S7: This project was also made possible with the support from California Humanities , a nonprofit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit. Org.

S1: Soy , Alan. Lilienthal.

S7: Natalie Gonzalez.

S1: Nos vemos. Pronto.

Hola Friends!

Port of Entry is in full swing showcasing LGBTQ+ stories of the region. In this edition, Natalie and our producer Julio sit down for a video conversation with the features of our first two episodes, Alejandro Sánchez and Meritxell Calderon. They discussed a wide range of issues facing the queer community in Baja that didn't make it into the final cut. From current events to the new frontier of queer and human rights in Baja. (little spoiler: they never met each other!)

You won't want to miss this enlightening and thought-provoking conversation.

Tune in wherever you get your podcasts!

Nos vemos pronto!


Port of Entry has whole new set of stories for you, this time centered around LGBTQ+ issues.

This season we dive with our guests on what it means to be queer in the borderlands, finding yourself and fighting for your rights.

Follow hosts Natali Gonzalez and Alan Lilienthal as they sit down with these fascinating people who share their stories. Listen in and join us!

If you like this episode, show us some love @portofentrypod.


From KPBS and PRX, “Port of Entry” tells cross-border stories that connect us. More stories at

Find us on Facebook.

Find us on Instagram.

Support our show at Search “Port of Entry” in the gifts section to get our sling bag as a thank-you gift.

If your business or nonprofit wants to sponsor our show, email

Feedback is a gift. Text or call the "Port of Entry" team at 619-500-3197 anytime with questions or comments about the show. Email us at

Port of Entry'' is written, produced and directed by Julio C. Ortiz Franco.

Adrian Villalobos is our technical producer and sound designer.

Alisa Barba is our editor.

Episodes are translated by Julio C. Ortiz Franco and Natali Gonzales.

Elma Gonzalez is our Spanish editor.

Lisa Morrisette-Zapp is director of audio programming and operations and John Decker is the director of content development.

This program is made possible, in part, by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.