Lorena Herrera: a Trailblazer for Equality

Lorena Herrera: a Trailblazer for Equality

 

If you grew up in Mexico or surrounded by Latin American culture, then you certainly know who Lorena Herrera is, and why she has been so warmly embraced by the LGBT community.

At age 51, actress and singer Lorena Herrera remains a sex symbol, recognized by her curves, long blonde hair, expressive grey eyes and honest smile, though you don’t want to mess with her. Her acting career started in Mexican movies (about 56 so far) and telenovelas a little more than 30 years ago. Her presence on the screen is powerful and undeniable so even in supporting roles she stole the spotlight. We like seeing her in villain roles maybe because we know in real life she is not a submissive, quiet, walk-over-me kind of woman.  Her singing started in 1996 and has taken off and consolidated more during the last decade. Her music aims to please people on the dance floor and her videos are a treat for many a gay man (and straight girls, why not?). Check out the video of her new single “Tócame” and you’ll know what I mean.

Many can sing and many can act, but on top of that it’s her essence that makes us relate to her. If you watch her interviews you will see a sassy, feisty advocate for the community. Ready to defend and support us like a lioness on her back. To show this kind of appreciation these days is common, easy, and a great marketing tool, in fact, however the love and respect she’s shown for us goes as far back as her career. Back to a time when homosexuality was a lot more taboo, a sin, something people wouldn’t talk about openly, let alone support.

Aside from defending her loyal fans, she has had to defend herself. Thirty ago being a woman and having a strong opinion wasn’t a good nor easy thing. Feeling comfortable on your own skin and claiming your sensuality labeled you not in a very good way. But there she was, a strong force of nature against machismo, against social rules and stigmas. Letting everyone know that women didn’t have to be weak. They had a choice. But only they could take it. Soon the time will come when more women will appreciate this.

If you need more reasons to love her, this is a personal favorite: Rumor has it reporters were afraid of her back in the day, they would think twice before asking a question in a condescending, insulting manner. As I said, you don’t mess with her. Recently she was asked about rumors of her having to sleep her way to the top. I thought hell was about to freeze and there would be blood, and for sure not hers. Instead, she kept her calm, answered that she hadn’t, with patience and respect for the reporter. She managed to dismantle whatever not-so-hidden agenda with a smile. For a question like this, with the intention and load of a grenade, she came out strong, confident and gracefully in control yet very humble. I believe we all have been in a situation like this, where responding to hate with hate was tempting and our first reaction, yet we can be the better person.

So when you see Lorena Herrera leading this year’s gay pride in PV you should know she has earned that place. She is not lesbian, but she certainly is one of us by her own choice. She walked the path for us and continues to do so, now with us.