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A Queer Latino filmmaker’s story on Creating Change

February 13, 2015

Creating Change 2015 was my third year coming to the conference. I am a filmmaker and activist; and my documentaries have shed light on subjects of injustice, human rights, gender and leadership for the whole spectrum of diverse communities that encompasses our LGBTQ family.

Dante Alencastre

Dante Alencastre

What attracted to me the conference was the creation of a day-long Latino Institute. Having been in the programming committee for the last three years has opened up my eyes to a myriad of other very particular issues that face us queer Latinos including immigration, violence, faith and family acceptance.

Family acceptance and support for me and my queer Latino brothers and sisters is the key to empowerment and social change. It has also allowed me to meet some of my heroes and role models including veteran activists such as Dolores Huerta, Roland Palencia, Valerie Spencer, Bamby Salcedo and so many others young and old alike.

This year was particularly special for me since I brought a piece of queer history to the fore and proudly presented a rough cut screening of my newest documentary in progress, “Nelly Queen: The Life and Times of Jose Julio Sarria.”

Jose Sarria was a defiant and notorious civil rights activist from San Francisco. He was the first openly gay man to run for public office in the USA in 1961. When he ran for city supervisor he got nearly 6,000 votes. He didn’t win but created the gay voting bloc that paved the way for Harvey Milk to become our first LGBTQ elected public official.

Jose passed away in 2013 at the grand old age of 90 after having founded many organizations including the Imperial Court System, which cemented his legacy as a LGBTQ role model and as a pioneer in our movement.

To learn more about “Nelly Queen: The Life and Times of Jose Julio Sarria,” please check out the following website:

By Guest Blogger Dante Alencastre, Filmmaker

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