The rise in the gay rights movement in Mexico has led many Mexican celebrities and celebrities of Mexican descent to come out in public as gay. While same-sex marriage and LBGTQ+ expression is now legal in all the Mexican states, indigenous LBGTQ+ people still face levels of discrimination in the country.
Many gay Mexican celebrities such as Chavela Vargas, Mondo Guerra, and Ozzy Lusth have spoken out about their sexual orientation both in Mexico and the U.S.
From writers to actors and singers, here are 15 of the most successful gay Mexican celebrities.
Luis Gerardo Mendez
This actor is one of the brightest stars in Mexico who also came out as gay during a 2014 interview. Prior to this, the actor kept his personal life under wraps for most of his career.
Mendez is best known for his roles in 90-Day Fiancée and Nosotros Los Nobles, or We Are the Nobles. He admits that he has struggled with infidelity in the past, using the word “Muchos” to refer to men instead of women, but also says that he has “redeemed” himself.
He has also played a gay character in a 2010 movie, I Don’t Know Whether to Slit My Veins or Leave Them Long where he is seen kissing Luis Ernesto Franco in the film.
The Mexican artist is known both for her extraordinary art and her bisexual legacy. Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo y Calderón is famous for her introspective and brooding primitive painting style that included unique and imaginative renderings of Mexican nature and artifacts.
She is recognized internationally as Mexico’s most famous artist. She is also a gay icon who left a lasting impact on the LGBTQ+ community. Kahlo conducted multiple affairs with both men and women during her life. Some of her romantic partners included movie stars Dolores del Rio, Maria Felix, Paulette Goddard, and even famed American painter Georgia O’Keeffe.
Some of Kahlo’s artwork deals with her love life and sexuality, such as her painting, called “Two Nudes in a Forest” which depicts her attraction to the female form and her love and celebration of women.
The crazy thing is that Frida Kahlo almost became a doctor instead of an artist, but we’re so glad that she followed her heart in every way. She inspired generations of LGBTQ+ artists and creatives who look to her for inspiration to forge their own paths in life and love.
With his shimmering capes, swoony romantic lyrics, and feline dance moves, Alberto Aguilera Valadez, known by his stage name, Juan Gabriel, was a gay Mexican superstar. The flamboyant singer shot to fame in a hyper-machismo country. While Gabriel never explicitly commented on his sexual orientation, he accepted persistent rumors that he was gay.
In fact, Gabriel gave implicit consent to the idea that he was gay and even commented during interviews that it wasn’t necessary to ask about his sexual orientation when it was obvious.
The iconic singer became a celebrity in a conservative, Catholic, and often homophobic culture where he remained a rallying point for the gay subculture in Mexico.
One of the most successful celebrities in Latin American cinema during the 1940s-1950s, María Félix stood out as an extraordinarily beautiful lesbian actress. Her strong personality and perfectionism gave her a reputation as a diva which also earned her the nickname La Doña, taken from the name of her character in the 1943 film, Doña Bárbara.
During her career, she starred in nearly 50 films in Mexico, Italy, France, Spain, and Argentina. While she married men five times, lingering rumors persisted about gay relationships. She even carried on a passionate affair with the greatest Mexican female painter, Frida Kahlo.
Luis Zapata is considered a literary pioneer who blazed a trail into the young gay subculture in Mexico during the 1970s. A Guerrero state native, Zapata wrote acclaimed books such as his 1982 work, Confidencias, and Marea Suave in 1992.
Over time, Zapata became known as the most influential gay Mexican writer of the 20th century.
Born in Mexico in 1980, Sandoval is a celebrity actor, entertainer, and reporter for the Univision morning TV show called Despierta America. He also previously hosted Telefutura’s “Lanzate” TV show.
After leaving Mexico at age 17 to study communications at the Autonomous University of Baja California (UABC), the gay actor carved out a career in television. He started working as an assistant on a Los Angeles morning show. Today, he hosts the Despierta America morning show.
This Mexican American actress is also a gay playwright and screenwriter. Her background in theater enabled her to also write for television where she co-founded an artistic directing group, Teatro Luna, in 2000.
After co-founding the Alliance of Latinx Theater Artists, or ALTA, in Chicago, Saracho also helped center the “Latina gaze” as showrunner for Starz’s Vida series.
Known as a successful Mexican American fashion designer, Mondo Guerra also identifies as a gay man. He has also spoken out many times about living as an HIV-positive person.
While Guerra’s work has placed second on “Project Runway” season 8, he is also an active supporter of those living with HIV. His discussions about normalizing and living with the realities of the disease have brought increased awareness in the community as HIV infections among Latino youths are on the rise.
An ethnic Mexican born in Costa Rica, María Isabel Anita Carmen de Jesús “Chavela” Vargas Lizano became famous for her important renditions of Mexican rancheras songs and for participating in other popular genres of the Latin American music industry. The bold personality released her first album, called “Noche de Bohemia” in 1961.
Over the course of her career, Vargas produced over 70 music albums that cemented her reputation in the history of Latin American music.
In 2002, Vargas published her autobiography called And If You Want to Know About My Past (Y si quieres saber de mi pasado). This book laid to rest a lot of gossip about the most private parts of the singer’s life.
In the book, the celebrity came out officially as a lesbian woman after she turned 81. In the past, many rumors circulated about the celebrity singer’s sexual orientation. While she never hid her identity from the world, this was the first time that Vargas chose to label her personal sexuality.
After Vargas died, lost letters were recovered that shed light on the details of the successful singer’s gay lifestyle, including her brief but passionate affair with the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo.
Today, Vargas is considered a gay icon and a revolutionary queen because she didn’t let other people define her. Vargas stood out because she lived her truth openly as a successful woman. This has inspired generations of Latina women as they come to terms with their own sexuality and self-expression in a world that might not always accept their version of themselves.
She felt proud to be free and enjoyed her life the way she wanted it to the fullest. She pushed boundaries, she boldly changed the pronouns of love songs while performing in the conservative culture of 20th-century Mexico, and remained relentlessly and completely herself.
Most people know about the Mexican singer Christian Chavez from the RBD group, but he came out as gay in 2007 after marrying his boyfriend abroad in Canada.
A gossip magazine published those photos which Chavez addressed and it caused a deep divide in his home country over Chavez’s sexual orientation. The photographs, published the same year that Canada made same-sex marriage legal, show Chavez and his partner, identified as BJ Murphy, signing some kind of documents and doing an exchange of rings in a civil ceremony.
Far from downplaying his sexuality, Chavez released his song called “Libertad” which many in the gay community have adopted as an anthem of liberation.
You’re probably familiar with gay Mexican star Vicci Martinez from the popular Netflix show Orange is the New Black.
While the singer and actor identifies as a proud lesbian, she also famously plays a straight, pint-sized, and tough female character with a good heart called “Daddy” on the show.
Martinez says that both she and her character exhibit “little-man syndrome” and that she likes heterosexual women although she is gay. At the end of the day, Vicci’s character wants to ensure that she takes care of the people that she cares about.
Born in Mexico, this nonbinary actor and singer has been outspoken about their sexuality during a True Colors Fund speech. As a gay person, Ramirez is also famous for their roles in the 2005 Broadway musical, Spamalot, where they played the Lady of the Lake. In more recent years, Ramirez has been known for their role as bisexual Dr. Callie Torres throughout Grey’s Anatomy’s 11 seasons.
After that, they starred in Madam Secretary as Kat Sandoval, and later as Che Diaz, a nonbinary comedian and podcaster in And Just Like That.
The Grey’s Anatomy celebrity has used their platform to bring awareness of bisexuality in art and to avoid erasing bisexual personalities’ voices from the conversation. In 2017, they were featured as a speaker at the Equality March in DC.
As a person of Mexican descent, the actress and model also identifies as a lesbian. She is best known for her roles that also reflect her sexual orientation. These include her portrayal on The Bridge of a lesbian Latina woman. After that Rios starred in the show called Snowfall.
As a Mexican lesbian, Rios understands characters who struggle to come out about their sexuality in a traditional kind of culture. For example, Rios. Came out to her mother who is ethnically Mexican and experienced an emotional tsunami about a situation similar to the one experienced by her character in The Bridge. Rios even lent her real-life experience to the show by ensuring that her character was based on authentic experience.
Born in 1981, Ozzy Lusth is another successful Mexican celebrity who is making waves as a gay person. In spring 2022, the popular Mexican American reality show contestant went public about his bisexuality on Twitter (now X).
After acting as a former Survivor contestant, Lusth launched an OnlyFans page and came out as bisexual. He has appeared on multiple reality TV shows that include Survivor: Cook Islands, Survival: Game Changers, Micronesia, and Survivor: South Pacific. Lusth thrived on the show because the producers wanted a non-stereotypical Latino guy for the role.
Lusth is also known for competing during American Ninja Warrior’s second season.
As a romantic film star of the silent era, Ramon Novarro went down in history as the silver screen’s most famous Latin lover actor.
Born José Ramón Gil Samaniego in 1899, Mexican American stage, film, and television actor. Ramon Novarro started his career in 1917 during the early silent film period.
After Rudolph Valentino died in 1926, Novarro took his place as a swashbuckling romantic lead who thrived in action roles. He started as a singer and vaudevillian who rose to fame at the height of the silent era. MBM billed Novarro as a swoon-worthy yet active “Latin lover”. As a result, his sex symbol status boosted his fame further during his lifetime.
During the 1920s, fans flocked to box offices to see Navarro on the big screen. His career started to bog down once the new “talkies” films became popular.
As a devout Roman Catholic, Novarro struggled to reconcile his religion with his sexuality. He was a gay man who felt conflicted about his secret lifestyle and battled with alcoholism that he used to cope with these conflicts throughout his life. Unfortunately, true or not, Novarro’s sexuality was also cited as a reason for his murder.
Today, Novarro is still regarded as one of the most important leading romantic actors of the era.