Historical Context and Background
The Gay and Lesbian Latinos Unidos (GLLU) organization was founded in 1981, only a dozen years after the Stonewall rebellion, and only a year before the HIV/AIDS pandemic began to ravage LGBTQ communities. GLLU was the greater Los Angeles area’s first major Gay and Lesbian Latine organization, and the film chronicles events surrounding GLLU at a pivotal time in the history of the convergent equality, feminist, and civil rights movements that shaped the destinies of GLLU’s
multiple overlapping and intersected communities for decades thereafter. It highlights issues that continue to impact multi-ethnic and multi-national Queer communities.
Post Stonewall, Los Angeles saw the rise of many LGBTQ+ people of color organizations such as Gay & Lesbian Latinos Unidos (GLLU). GLLU’s members fully claimed their rich ethnic, gender, gender identity, and multi-racial, and multi-geographic heritage, leaving none of it behind.
GLLU filled the void left by its Queer mainstream-focused counterparts, who mostly rallied around sexual orientation identity, with little attention to the dynamic and mushrooming diversity within its ranks and the multiple concerns that later shaped both the equality, women’s liberation, and civil rights movements. Furthermore, with very few exceptions, GLLU’s constituents were also marginalized by Latino/Chicano social movements and organizations, and were frequently rejected by their own birth families, having no place of their own to call home.
Believing strongly in being a co-gender organization, GLLU set out to address the specific needs and concerns of Latina Lesbians in Los Angeles, including the founding of Lesbianas Unidas by lesbian GLLU board members. The trajectory of this Latin@ Pride movement—a story which has never been told in film before and also rarely mentioned in history books—left a rich leadership legacy that has barely been explored, including the founding of state and national organizations. This vibrant
legacy includes multi-gender artists collectives, the largest Latin@ HIV/AIDS provider in the nation, and the impact that its surviving members—now activist community elders in their early to late
60s—have made in various fields including philanthropy, higher education, the arts, non-profit, healthcare, and the equality, feminist, and civil rights movements to name a few.
Equally important, GLLU created an energetic synthesis that was revolutionary for its time that affirmed as well as synergized the multiple identities of being LGBTQ+, Latino, immigrant and undocumented, political and economic refugees, class and color, Latin American and U.S. Chican@
heritage, and becoming trailblazing pioneers who empowered the blossoming Latino and Queer movements. The documentary film seeks to recount and reclaim this history, which we consider of a critical foundational ancestry to today’s progressive movements.
The film features eight original GLLU members, including five women, three men, and non-binary members. The film also reveals archival material never seen before, currently stored in closets, garages, and in institutional archives. Because of the nature of its content, this documentary film will appeal to entities interested in Latin@/Latine/Latinx/Hispanic, LGBTQ, community and social
justice movements intersections, Latina Lesbians shaping a movement, early Queer movement community work, co-gender collaboration (a rarity in the early days of our movements), inter- generational dialogue, wo/mentorship, and legacy leadership, among other themes and topics,
especially those still relevant today.