Encanto’s Stephanie Beatriz Slams Anti-Gay & Anti-Trans Legislation at Outfest


Encanto‘s Stephanie Beatriz, who is openly bisexual, was honored at the 2022 Outfest Fusion QTBIPOC Film Gala at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center on Friday, April 8, 2022, with a Fusion Achievement award for her contributions to LGBTQ representation in media. She took the opportunity in the spotlight to speak out against the current wave of anti-gay and anti-trans legislation sweeping America’s southern states, telling Variety that it “keeps her up at night.”

Although The Walt Disney Company, the studio responsible for Encantois currently facing backlash from both ends of the political spectrum, Beatriz is thankful to the company for the positive representation that she’s taken part in through her involvement in the Lin-Manuel Miranda film. Beatriz told Variety:

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I understand that many people have issues with Disney, as well they should. But one of the things that I’m really proud of is that Walt Disney Animation set this film in Colombia, with a family that was all Colombians and Latinos, and all different races, because it’s really big to show children all over the world that Latinos don’t just look one way, they look all sorts of ways

Beatriz attended Outfest gala commemorating its 40th anniversary and the 19th year of Outfest fusion. This year’s film festival was celebrating a wide variety of queer stories from across the world, and it was not lost on the In the Heights star the privileges that she and other celebrities enjoy. At the same time, LGBTQ people across the country face such oppressive legislation, with many youths fearing the risks of violence to be their authentic selves.

“How can we turn our backs on people in our community that have less resources than we do to discuss this stuff openly?” Beatriz added. “The fact that people are so terrified of each other, so xenophobic and so full of internalized hatred, that they then create legislation to keep other people from fulfilling their destinies on this planet is wild. How can I not speak up?”

Related: Oscars 2022 Hosts and Award Winners Comment on Controversial ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill


Outfest
Outfest

The Outfest executive director Damien S. Navarro echoed Beatriz’s sentiments. He said that it was up to media organizations like his to influence progress, according to Variety. Navarro pointed to research like research from 2018 by Mari Castañeda that shows “mainstream media aims to veil the intersectionality of racial, gender, sexuality, and class realities while continuously reproducing minority stereotypes that reinforce oppressive conditions on and off the airwaves. The symbolic violence of racial formation across US media platforms is especially insidious since it helps define who and who is not worthy of (cultural) citizenship and access to resources, such as education. “


Thus, media can have more impact than people often give it credit for. While speaking to Variety, Navarro added that diversity in media has real-world impacts, “We’ve actually been able to quantify the fact that, whether it’s at the voting booth [or] through legislation, people’s hearts and minds, when changed, actually manifests itself in law… There are such a select group of filmmakers and television executives that are from our community, and that needs to expand exponentially. “



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