Eva Longoria and Carmen Carrera on Helping Trans Latinx Youth
Eva Longoria talked to model Carmen Carrera about her work as an advocate for the rights of the LGBTQ community and being an inspiration for transgender youth.
Eva Longoria and trans model Carmen Carrera joined forces in an Instagram Live to discuss LGBTQ rights and transgender awareness. Carrera was a She Se Puede "Chingona Table" guest and was interviewed by Longoria about her work as an advocate. "You've done some amazing things in such a short amount of time with your career," Longoria said.
The model, born and raised in New Jersey, talked about her inspiring story. "Before my transition I was a makeup artist, I studied photography in college. I [waited] until I was 18, 19 years old to start going clubbing and exploring my identity," Carrera said. "I ended up as a performer doing drag in the New York City nightlife."
She rose to fame as a contestant on the third season of the reality show RuPaul's Drag Race and shared her own coming-out story to motivate others to feel comfortable living their truths. "Once I transitioned, I got offered a modeling contract. I was the first trans model with Elite," she says. "My fans started a petition for Victoria's Secret to sign me as the first trans model. It didn't really go so well with all the transphobia that existed at the time, but I gained so much visibility and that opened so many doors for me."
Carrera said her drive comes from strong Latina role models in her family. "I grew up with my mom and my grandmother. I lost my dad when I was two years old, so they just raised me," she recalls. "It comes from being first-generation American and being at that intersection of having immigrant parents and also living the American dream, and wanting to be a hero and wanting to make your family proud and being happy that you're different."
She is proud of her multicultural heritage, having a Puerto Rican dad and a mom who is Peruvian and Spanish. "I'm a Jersey girl at heart but I have that cultural influence," Carrera said. "I'm a big mix."
Longoria and Carrera also discussed the growing rates of violence and prejudice against the transgender community. "Trans people are human beings. At times people don't really give us a role in society, we have to figure it out as we go with no support," Carrera said. "We have to open up our minds and our hearts and understand that human beings have value no matter where you come from, no matter what separates you."
"I'm a woman and I deal with what every other woman deals with," she continued. "We're here and we deserve love." She advised other young Latinxs who are thinking of coming out or transitioning to visit a local LGBTQ center for support. "You can have a safe place, a roof over your head and try to get your life together. A lot of folks in Latino America, they deal with being kicked out of home if they're gay or if they're trans. They get disowned and that's traumatizing." The model often talks to trans kids and their parents as a way to help make their transition process smoother. "That sacred bond is there," she said. "There is nothing like your family."