Latine Icons: Chavela Vargas

This week we’re celebrating queerness in Latine culture through the story of Chavela Vargas.

Chavela Vargas, originally from Costa Rica, was a famous Mexican ranchera musician who defied gender norms by dressing masculine and singing songs about women. “The first woman in Mexico who dared to sing to women was me” she explained in a documentary about her life.

Chavela was butch, and in the same documentary discussed how feminine fashion had always made them feel like they were cross dressing. A famous ex-lover of Frida Kahlo, Chavela came out as a lesbian at the age of 81. 


Chavela’s existence mattered. Their voice and contributions were important to our culture. Today, we feel seen in Chavela’s shadow.

Each week we’ll highlight one Latine of importance to LGBTQIA+, non-binary, and feminist culture. Who do you think deserves the spotlight? Nominate an icon, past or present by sending us a DM on Instagram at @callmelatine.