Netflix’s new four-part digital documentary series produced by Con Todo, Visions of Us, has dropped. Its first episode shines a light on groundbreaking moments on Latinx representation in tv & film.
Stories in the Queer Latinx community are far few in-between. The episodes of Visions of Us tell the story of moments that started to show a change in TV & film. Episode 1 showed powerful moments from Glee. Aurora Guerrero’s 2012 coming-of-age movie Mosquita y Mari. Isabella Gomez’s character Elena Alvarez in One Day at a Time, and my favourite, Vida on Starz. Which was only on air for three years before it got the axe.
These shows and films let me glimpse a part of the Queer Latinx community that we rarely see represented.
Let’s go back to Glee for one second; Santana was a character you didn’t see on television. An amazing Afro-Latina who didn’t care about what people thought. But who was fighting the angry side of her because of these feelings she didn’t know how to express to the people she loved. The scene I want to shed light on is the scene where she’s sitting in the kitchen talking to her Abuela and tells her how she’s always watched her, her entire life, and she talks about how her Abuela always did what she believed in, how she admired how strong she was.
Then Santana tells her that she loves girls, and she always knew. That she wants her Abuela to know her because of how much she loves her. Santana just wanted to be her true authentic self. Unfortunately, it didn’t go how we wanted or what we hoped for, and Santana didn’t receive her Abuela’s acceptance. In fact, she told Santana that she wanted her to leave her home and called her selfish for making her uncomfortable. We all saw that look, the look where she’ll never look at her granddaughter the same again. Watching that scene on tv not only made brown LGBTQ+ Latinx people feel something, but they got to see something that represented them.
Let us talk about the Visions Of Us feature of One Day at a Time; Netflix cancelled the show after 3 seasons. We know Netflix is notorious for that kind of thing. But cancelling a show about a family had a little bit of something for everyone can relate to? We can all agree that Netflix shouldn’t have taken that direction with the show.
Not only did Netflix cancel another show that showed the representation craved for in the Latinx community. But they also killed an important storyline. Elena coming out as a lesbian to her mother was not only a big tv moment. It was a monumental moment for everyone watching the show. The same as Santana coming out to her Abuela, we wanted to see more with a different outcome, and, unfortunately, we didn’t.
I hope that these episodes of Visions of Us show what’s missing in this community. I hope that people watch and listen to the stories that the brilliant creatives behind them share with us. Reminding us to make more space for Queer Latinx stories to get the spotlight on TV and in Film that they deserve. These stories aren’t meant to be locked away or hidden. They are meant to be shared and received with love, just like we see with white coming-out stories. The Latinx LGBTQ+ community deserves the same, and I hope it won’t stop there.
If you haven’t already seen Visions Of Us. Be sure to check out the docu-series here, and listen to all the amazing voices sharing their struggles, victories and stories with us!