I come from a family of makers in Jalisco Mexico where I grew up for the first decade of my life. I began to paint when my aunt, a painter and architecture student herself, had to babysit me, her answer? oil paints. I’ve been hooked ever since. Later in my life as a PhD student, my art pieces rose out of my community organizing. The first portrait was done in haste for an event flyer that an organization needed in 2014 and I lent my creative skills to help them promote their event. Soon after that, I realized that those of us who identified as queer and of color lacked images of our own queer and or activist of color elders. I identify as a pansexual Chicana artivist, and with that comes a responsibility to make work that honors all of these parts. We often found the words of Gloria Anzaldúa or learned of Silvia Rivera later in our lives. I decided to paint the fierce womxn I didn’t grow up hearing about, in the hopes that they would help my queer siblings grow into loving themselves whole. Most of my portraits begin with research; learning about the activist I’m painting influences which colors I choose. Then, I sketch and paint a watercolor portrait, scan it and add a quote that I feel best represents their vision of social justice. I wholeheartedly believe in my work as a healing salve and self-care practice, as well as a way to preserve queer activist politics alive.


I am a Trans Latinx activist-scholar who was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. I earned my B.A. in Latin American & Latino Studies and Politics from the University of California Santa Cruz in 2010 and I earned my PhD from the César E. Chávez Department of Chicana, Chicano, and Central American Studies at UCLA in 2019. I am an Assistant Professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, in the Dept of Sociology and Interdisciplinary Social Sciences at San José State University.

My research centers a community-based mixed methods approach which includes 129 surveys, 30 interviews, and 2.5 years of participant observation. My research contributes to the dearth of research on Trans Latinxs, to understand how their social location shapes their relationship to their families, communities, and the state. I argue that Trans Latinx bodies must conform to rigid racialized and gendered expectations—both at home and in society—in order to exist. I argue that this rigid racialized, gendered, and sexual policing is what leads to various forms of violence, harassment, incarceration or immigration detention, unemployment, and, in its worst form, death. My research also focuses on forms of resistance and resilience that Trans Latinxs embody their spirituality, chosen families, and activism.

My research has been funded by the American Association of University Women, Southern Methodist University, the Institute of American Cultures at UCLA, and The Center for the Study of Women at UCLA.