QueenDuin: Queer, Latinx, and Proud
Photos by Dom Laba
For many of us, self-discovery within queer culture is formulated around identity—establishing it and evolving with it. Unfortunately, identity isn’t always a full spectrum of representation, and visibility remains a constant battle.
As a queer, trans, Latinx artist, queenDuin is challenging the concepts surrounding visibility, accessibility, and control. The host of the live weekly podcast “Queer Proud Latinx Radio,” queenDuin (they/them) produces weekly programming that highlights the diverse array of locally based artists and creatives who identify as queer and Latinx. Creating a platform for guests to share their stories, their creative projects, and carve out space in their communities, queenDuin is able to shape and showcase content as allied as it is engaging.
“I was born in Minnesota, but my family is from Mexico and I was raised in a very traditional Mexican household,” they explain. “Growing up, I always knew I was queer, but it wasn’t until college that I found the courage to come out. Once out, I became more involved in the Twin Cities’ queer community. I started DJing in 2017, and was invited to perform at queer events such as ‘Daddy’ and ‘Feelsworldwide.’ Last year, I started my podcast with Worldplug Radio; it helped define my role in the queer community, which is to give visibility to queer Latinx folx just like me.”
There’s an element of intimacy shared between interviewer and interviewee during queenDuin’s live podcasts. Each week, queenDuin and a guest of their choosing link mics, sync playlists, and chat. For the listener, it feels like being privy to a personal conversation between two friends—moments blend together to become shared consciousness. It truly feels like QPLR is uniting queer voices over the airwaves.
“I started QPLR because I wanted to create a platform for queer Latinx folx to share their story, their experience, and their artistic and musical interests. I couldn’t find any podcasts focused on people who were like me. In Minnesota, we are not often exposed to queer Latinx culture; we’re mostly exposed to white-European/American-centric queer culture. Being queer and Latinx is very complex and incredibly beautiful. We’re strong, resilient, and filled with culture, but we also have to experience and endure a lot of transphobia/homophobia within our own backgrounds. I created QPLR so queer Latinx folx could feel free to be themselves while also educating others about their queer/trans experience. It grants queer Latinx folx visibility and empowerment.”
queenDuin’s experience of growing up in a traditional heteronormative Mexican household—and the impact it’s held for them into adulthood—is a recurring topic on the show. Whether or not the listener is familiar with Latinx culture, by absorbing these raw, often emotional stories of transphobia/homophobia and trauma, and hearing about the regrowth and transition that has transpired despite these experiences, one is reminded why creating safe and vulnerable spaces to address such issues is crucial to self-evolution and communal healing.
“My only rule for guests on QPLR is they have to be queer and/or Latinx. I want to give visibility to artists and educators in the LGBTQIA community. It’s important for folx to maintain being educated. QPLR is a great resource for getting an education and [gaining] awareness on how to combat and interrupt systems of oppression. I’ve discussed legislation; pronouns; the privilege of being straight and cisgender; the difference between sex, gender, and orientation; gender-affirming surgery; body positivity; immigration; and gender and representation in the media. On the show, I’ve also given resources for domestic violence/safety planning and suicide prevention.”
Past QPLR guests have included Venezuelan performing and teaching artist Doña Pepa, Minneapolis rapper BdotCroc, Minneapolis singer/artist/promoter Lady Midnight, local DJ Michel.Be, Latinx agender producer/curator/teaching artist and comedian Xochi De La Luna, vocalist/producer Ro Lorenzen, queer Afro-Chicanx visual artist Christian Ybarra, and queer, trans, Hmong-American Nplooj Radio program coordinator Cameron Yang.
Active in the music and dance community, queenDuin works closely alongside queer femme DJ crews, musicians, and producers, promoting nights like InMotion, Dänza, Pop-Up, and their personally curated event Noche Chingona. A more communal and interactive version of their podcast, Noche Chingona is a recurring dance and vibe night providing space for Latino, Latina, and Latinx folks and a place for folx to be reminded of their roots and culture and experience a sense of latinidad.
During the day, queenDuin is the case manager at SafeZone, a drop-in resource center for youth between the ages of 14–24. “Through SafeZone, I co-facilitate a queer support group called ‘QAP,’ which stands for ‘queer and proud.’ QAP is a peer-led support group for youth in the LGBTQIA community that focuses on self-empowerment, building community, and self-confidence through a social justice lens. I support youth by helping them set—and accomplish—housing, employment, wellness, and education goals.”
Alongside QAP, SafeZone offers support groups such as Independent Living Skills workshops and Women’s Empowerment. It also houses a studio where youth can record music.
“In the queer community, we have to find ways to support each other. I’ve been queer and Mexican/Latinx my whole life. Balancing both those identities has helped me in contributing to QPLR and in other facets of my life. I use my personal, lived experiences to help educate others about the ways in which transphobia, xenophobia, white supremacy, and toxic masculinity play a role in our everyday lives, while providing tools for how to unlearn and interrupt these things when we see them happening.”
Queer Proud Latinx Radio with queenDuin is broadcast every Monday night at 8:30pm CST at plugtheworld.com.