They were honored in Los Angeles during the Eighth Annual Purple Lily Awards
They were recognized on June 22. Photo: LEA.

The Latino Equality Alliance (LEA) celebrates LGBTQ Latino excellence

Selected individuals were honored in Los Angeles during the Eighth Annual Purple Lily Awards.


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The Latino Equality Alliance (LEA), a leading nonprofit organization advocating for social justice for the LGBTQ+ Latino community in Los Angeles, recently celebrated a select group of entertainment leaders and figures at its 8th annual Purple Lily Awards.

Eddie Martínez, CEO of LEA, noted in a press release:

Through their respective lines of work and positive representation, these community heroes are aligned with our mission of advocating for the safety, equity and well-being of the Latino LGBTQ+ community.

This year's honorees included Johnny Sibilly (FX's Pose, Hacks and HBO's Queer As Folk), actor and community activist; Roland Palencia, philanthropist and community activist; Mariachi Arcoíris de Los Angeles, the first LGBTQ mariachi group in the world; and DJ Irene, the LGBTQ music icon.

About the Purple Lily Awards

The Purple Lily Awards honor community leaders who help create safer, healthier, and more inclusive spaces for the LGBTQ+ Latino community through their work and dedication.

The honorees are notable members of the community who have supported the LEA's mission to advocate for the safety, equity, and well-being of the Latino LGBTQ+ community.

All proceeds from the event go to social support programs and scholarships for LGBTQ+ youth in Los Angeles.

“The Purple Lily Awards exist to celebrate and recognize members of our community who represent our LGBTQ community with dignity and courage. Now more than ever, when LGBTQ people are under severe attack across the country, having positive visibility is critically important in our community's ongoing fight for respect, equality, and safety," added Martínez.

All proceeds from this event fund various mental health and social justice programs and activities that support the creation of safe spaces for LGBTQ+ youth and their families in Hispanic communities within the Los Angeles metropolitan area.


The 2023 Purple Lily Award recipients are:

1.  Johnny Sibilly — He is an actor and producer who promotes LGBTQ Latino representation in the media. He grew up as a child from a Cuban-Dominican military family on the move (Germany, Texas, Miami) always knowing that he would continue acting.

Sibilly is a media sensation known for the juxtaposition of playing hyper-masculine and hyper-feminine roles.

Sibilly travels between New York and Los Angeles and has appeared in Discovery ID's Deadly Affairs, played a drag queen on Law & Order: SVU, and delivered an incredibly emotional performance in Pose.

Johnny Sibilly, actor and advocate for the LGBTQ community. Photo: LEA.
Johnny Sibilly, actor and advocate for the LGBTQ community. Photo: LEA.

2.  Mariachi Arcoíris de Los Ángeles — Within the mariachi genre, Mariachi Arcoíris de Los Ángeles is making historic strides.

Under the direction of director Carlos Samaniego, Mariachi Arcoíris is the first fully LGBTQ Mariachi band in the world. His focus on inclusion opened the doors to Natalia Meléndez, a talented transgender mariachi singer who is breaking barriers and has appeared in a two-part special for Univision News.

3.  Roland Palencia

Roland Palencia's life journey advocating for justice for the LGBTQ Latino community as a Guatemalan political refugee resulted in a positive transformation in Los Angeles.

In the early 1980s, Palencia became one of the founding pioneers of the LGBTQ movement in Los Angeles County.

He is a professor at California State University, Northridge (CSUN) in the Diverse Community Development Leadership Master's program.

4.  Irene M. Gutiérrez — Also known as DJ Irene, she is an artistic sensation and America's most beloved DJ.

She began her career at house parties in East Los Angeles, where she eventually established a residency as a DJ for 15 years at ARENA in Hollywood.

Gutiérrez earned a bachelor's degree in music from California State University, Northridge and an master's degree from California State University, Los Angeles.

About LEA

For more than a decade, LEA, a project of Community Partners, has advocated for equity, safety, and well-being for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer+Latino community.

As a non-profit organization with a strong focus on family acceptance, LGBTQ equality and immigration reform, the LEA engages leaders and organizations in the Latino LGBTQ community in direct action organizing to address issues of bullying, homophobia, xenophobia, family separation, violence against youth, homelessness, high-risk behaviors for health, and HIV/AIDS.


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