We are in our final week of honoring Queer LatinX culture and history and it seems fitting to go out with the infamous Walter Mercado. The icon was an astrologer and T.V. spiritual advisor who held daily shows to over 120 million viewers at the height of his career. His charisma and charm captivated his followers while his androgynous identity baffled his critics. In a culture overrun with Catholicism and gender roles, Walter Mercado became a beacon of hope for many LatinX viewers who were also gender non-conforming. His defiance of the norms broke the barrier of sexuality and even at age 87 he couldn’t suppress a grin when folks questioned whether he still held onto his V-card. So let us dive into the mystical world that is Walter Mercado or – Walter of the Miracles.
Next week on May 19th, we celebrate Agender Pride Day. So today we want to recognize Agender Visibility and discuss the spectrum that is gender. We’ve had a lot of people reach out and ask us questions about gender and requested an episode on what it’s like if you fall in the middle of the gender spectrum and not on the ends. While we have touched upon this subject numerous times in our episodes – check out Billy Porter, The Public Univeral Friend, Chao Xiaomi, and our many episodes on transgender icons – today we want to delve further.
Today we are headed to China to cover one of the most inspiring transgender activists of our time. An individual who is defying gender binaries in a country that has done very little in the way of LGB rights, and even less for trans and gender non-conforming folks. Despite this, activist and business owner Chao (Chow) Xiaomi (Shou-me) is not one to be deterred. Though she identifies as gender fluid, she uses feminine pronouns and has a feminine expression. And though she has lived openly for the last 15 years, it is only recently that her work has drawn any attention. To understand Chao’s (Chow) predicament, we must understand the climate between China and its LBGTQ citizens.