Latest by Louie Ortiz-Fonseca
Puerto-Rican performer Catiria Reyes won several pageant titles before her death in 1999. Here, Louie-Ortiz Fonseca unearths her history and legacy, which is like "discovering and losing someone in the same moment," he writes.
"I have come a long way from the small room I shared with my mother and brothers," says Ortiz-Fonseca. "I no longer have to check spoons for burn residue but I no longer have family to bear witness to the atrocities we survived."
A new CDC estimate reminds Ortiz-Fonseca of a "magical queen" of his childhood: "We shared an internalized fear and innate survival skill of always having to be prepared to turn to stone when words like 'faggot' were thrown."