Joel Aguirre – Pillars of Pride Honoree
Joel’s role as the PrEP Navigator is to help members of the Latino Community to access available health services with an approach to people at high risk of getting HIV. Additionally, He is the host of the radio program “Mucho Gusto” transmitted every Sunday at 2 pm on 99.3 FM. Joel works at EH because he believes that involving yourself in the struggle is the key to create a socially just world where everyone has the same opportunities. Joel was nominated for this honor by Entre Hermanos because of his widespread recognition in the Latino LGBTQ+ community since the 90’s, and for being part of the founding of Entre Hermanos. He now works here at the organization to continue the mission who brought him to help create this amazing organization with others.
Born in Colima, México and raised in the city of Guadalajara, México, Joel Aguirre is also known lovingly by the LGBTQ community as La Gorda.
Joel awakened to activism and passion for social justice at an early age, inspired by his own father to serve the community. His commitment to social activism was intensified when the AIDS epidemic broke out. He knew that this epidemic was not just affecting the physical body but the whole of society and its attitude toward the LGBTQ+ and people of color. He had no choice but to get involved in the fight for equality, human rights, and the endless battle again HIV/AIDS.
In 1998, Joel emigrated to Seattle and immediately started to get involved in how to organize and respond to the special challenges of the Latinx community. With his theatrical and entertainer background and experience earned in Guadalajara’s cultural circuits, he quickly became the hottest LGBTQ+ host and entertainer of La Noche Latina with Entre Hermanos.
Latin International Film Festival Vancouver British Columbia Pride Parade 2013 Ambassador
Mexican Independence Day festivities San Sebastian, Spain. (Mexican Community) Guest.
Seattle Men’s Chorus at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall at Seattle Center “La llorona” (Special Performance)
Recycle Queens an “eco-friendly fashion extravaganza” Entre Hermanos Latino Float Seattle Pride Parade 2011 (best float winner) Producer.
The Nepantla Cultural Arts Gallery “Mi Vida En Colores: Ayer y Hoy” a collection of photos from Entre Hermanos celebrating Queer Latinx in Seattle. (Model & Photographer)
StoryCorps Interview https://archive.storycorps.org/interviews/mby013858/ All interviews are preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C (District of Columbia).
Referendum 74 Video Campaign
Rafael Soldi, Imagined Futures/Futuros Imaginarios: Imagined Futures addresses a concern universal to most immigrants. How do we grieve the life we left behind to live this one? What do we do with these haunting visions and questions about the lives we left behind? (Coordinator) http://www.rafaelsoldi.com/entre-hermanos
The “Heart of Gold” Award by Leo Fundation and “Sainted” as “Santa Perrísima La Protectora del Condón” by “the sisters of perpetual indulgence” for her kindness service to the Latinx LGBTQ Community.
Somos Seattle “Legacy Award”
Museum of Pop Culture. Photography Exhibition Title: Rise Up: Stonewall and the LGBTQIA Rights Movement
MoPOP is focusing on the intersection between pop culture and activism in Seattle. The activist Joel Aguirre and his performance character “La Gordis”, a well-known Drag Performer in the Latinx LGBTQ community, will be featuring the section. Photographies by Lesster Munguía.
Queer the Census 2020: Drag Queen Storytime The Queer the Census 2020 coalition collaborates with the Seattle Public Library and PrideASIA to present Storytime with renowned drag queen storytellers Romi and La Gorda. Stories will be read in English and Spanish. Storytime provides an opportunity for the LGBTQ+ youth to gather with loved ones and learn about the importance of civic representation.
Campaign Our Census. Our Power. A collection of videos featuring a variety of people from Washington state (Joel Aguirre “La Gorda”) speaking about why it is important to complete the 2020 Census.
Engagement of Latino immigrant men who have sex with men for HIV prevention through eHealth: preferences across social media platforms England & Wales https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13557858.2021.1943322
Culturally Tailored Social Media Content to Reach Latinx Immigrant Sexual Minority Men for HIV Prevention: Web-Based Feasibility Study University of Washington https://formative.jmir.org/2022/3/e36446
Tu amigo PP “HIV Prevention Messages Targeting Young Latino Immigrant MSM Who May Not Identify as Gay.” Rosa Solorio, MD, MPH 2014 peer-reviewed article; Solorio MR, Norton-Shelpuk P, Forehand M, Martinez M, Aguirre J. HIV Prevention Messages Targeting Young Latino MSM. AIDS Research and Treatment, vol. 2014, Article ID 353092. doi:10.1155/2014/353092. https://www.aspph.org/washington-study-finds-multimedia-hiv-testing-campaign-worked-with-latino-msm/
Behind Every Dark Cloud SGN contributing article (translation)
About the nominating organization:
Entre Hermanos came into being by the initiative of a group of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Latinos/as that saw the need for social, educational, and health support services in their community in the spring of 1991. By December of 1992, the group was organized and carried out various activities to raise funds to cover its operating costs. These activities were done in cooperation with the Washington Latino AIDS Coalition, a group affiliated with People of Color against AIDS (POCAAN).
In April of 1993, the group functioned independently, directing several activities for the community. That year, Entre Hermanos affiliated itself with POCAAN, a nonprofit organization the offers prevention and educational services against HIV/AIDS for people of color. In May of the same year, we held our first contest to elect a Latina Queen. That same summer, we incorporated a lesbian group and participated for the first time in Seattle’s LGBT Pride Parade.
Toward the end of 2001, we received a charter by the State of Washington to operate as a nonprofit organization, through the corporate status offered by IRS Section 501(C)3. Since then, we continue to grow, thanks to our personnel, Board of Directors, volunteer corps, and educational and recreational activities. Looking forward to our 27th year of service to the Latino LGBTQ community, we continue marching into the future, always progressing and offering more services far and wide to Latinos in the State of Washington.