6 Strong Latina Actresses Who Played a Queer Character on a Teen TV Show

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It’s so awesome that there has been such a clear push to include more LGBTQ+ characters in all forms of media — from the movies we’re watching, to the books that we’re reading and obviously the TV shows we’re tuning into weekly. However, just because a queer person is featured in a program doesn’t always mean that it’s the right representation.

Have you noticed how many fan-fave LGBT TV characters just so happen to be white and male? In fact, a 2015 GLAAD study found that 69 percent of queer characters featured on broadcast networks are white and 57 percent are men. We love Kurt on Glee, but considering he was the poster child for LGBT characters in the media for a while says a lot.

But some teen television series are challenging the status quo and presenting more diversity by writing characters who are both queer and Latina because, let’s face it — people fall under a range of different identities and it’s important that all of them are equally represented. See the gallery below to check out six amazing Latina actresses fighting against cultural norms by portraying LGBT women on the small screen.

Naya Rivera

Santana Lopez's relaysh with her BFF-turned-bae Brittany Pierce was one of the most beloved pairings in Glee's history. Naya, who is of Puerto Rican, African American and German brought representation to a whole new level with her part on the show, giving the main cast some much needed ethnic and racial diversity.

Photo: Fox

Daniella Alonso

Anna Taggaro, Daniella's character on One Tree Hill, wasn't around for too long, but her inclusion was historic. AfterEllen.com actually credited the girl as being the FIRST recurring bisexual character of color on TV. That's frickin' huge!

The actress' first episode aired in 2004, so it's pretty surprising (and yet, not that surprising at all) that it took so long for mainstream television to pick up on the need to cast people of various backgrounds for a myriad of roles.

Photo: The WB

Stephanie Nogueras

Switched at Birth is often praised for its representation of various LGBT characters and Stephanie, an actress who is of Puerto Rican descent, plays one of the most diverse queer people on contemporary television. Natalie is not only Latina and a lesbian, but she's also deaf! Freeform is never afraid to show some diversity and that's something we always appreciate.

Photo: Freeform

Yara Martinez

Jane the Virgin has received critical acclaim for its positive representation of Latinas in the media, however Yara's lesbian character, Dr. Luisa Alver, gets mixed responses.

While some are happy to see a queer Latina character taking on a central role in such a successful TV show, some are upset at the characteristics given to her by the writers. Sure, no one's perfect, but some felt that "representation" in the form of an alcoholic, foolish and obsessive woman (she is the one who accidentally artificially inseminates Jane in the first place because she's distracted by her personal life) isn't exactly what they were looking for when they asked for a strong LGBT Latinx on the small screen.

Photo: The CW

Iyari Limon

Iyari's Buffy the Vampire Slayer character is also slightly controversial... not because people found her role to be offensive like Yara's, but because they resented her for getting with Willow after the latter's beloved GF died.

Kennedy is ultimately a very sweet, supportive and protective partner for Willow but some people just thought Willow & Tara were soulmates and this girl had no place barging in to take her spot.

FYI — Iyari is a Mexican-American actress who is bisexual IRL!

Photo: The WB

Brina Palencia

Star-Crossed was one of The CW's less-than-successful shows, but it did do something very interesting when approaching the idea of gender and sexuality.

The series revolved around a group of alien teenagers who came to a fictional town named Edendale and were integrated into the local school. Brina's character, Sophia, comes from the planet Atria, a place where all people are pansexual — Their alien race doesn't choose their mates based on gender but on feelings!

While her older brother (obvs also an Atrian) seems to only have hetero-relationships, Sophie quickly falls for a human girl named Taylor. Unfortunately, Tay doesn't feel the same way about her.

While Sophie's character isn't Latina (she literally came from a diff planet!), the 33-year-old was raised in Honduras and has spoken out about how the current political climate affects her life as a Latina woman.

Photo: The CW

6 White Characters Played by Latino Actors on Teen TV

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