This week we celebrate non-binary Latines in pop culture through the story of James Andrew Leyva, AKA Valentina.
Valentina is a Mexican-American Drag Queen, famous for their performance on RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 9 and All Stars Season 4. A predominant figure in Latine culture, Valentina has become a role model for many Hispanic and Latino youth.
In 2019 Valentina came out as non-binary. “I identify as non-binary. I don’t completely feel like a man, I don’t completely feel like a woman. I feel like a goddess. I feel like I’m my own gender,” they told Out Magazine.
When asked about their inspiration for their drag persona, they told NBC News “it always goes back to the same thing, Telenovelas, and strong, feminine Latina figures.” Valentina also credited La Virgen de Guadalupe as their Drag Mom. “To me, she’s always kind of represented Latina beauty, a person who came into this world to do a good deed.”