A Letter to Leiomy Maldonado: The Queen and "Wonder Woman of Vogue"

Leiomy,

 

 

 

Goddamn, you’re gorgeous. You’re absolutely stunning, and I’m sure you know that, but here’s some more well-deserving affirmation for you.

 

I came across your voguing when I was coming out to myself as a baby queer in high school so many years ago. I was in shock that a woman like you existed in the voguing scene. You were fascinating to watch; your spins, your dips, that Leiomy Lolly!! You’re an icon that I’ll never forget. 

 

And when I came out (to myself and some friends) as trans a few years after the initial coming out, it felt as if you were by my side keeping watch over my baby trans shoulders. I’m still insecure about my identity, the titties I’m growing (because I’ve been on hormones for six months now!), and the way my body looks. However, I look at your videos when I’m feeling like shit, and I remember that I can do this; I have a community to back me up, and I have you, Leiomy.

 

I found ballroom in some of the darkest times in my life, and you were one of the first voguers I found; I fell in love with your moves from the very beginning. Leiomy, you made me fall in love with vogue, thus influencing how I saw my body and existence as a Brown trans person in a cruel world. I’ve never been to a ball before since I’m from a small town in rural North Carolina, but I can’t wait to go to one when it’s safe to do so! (And it’s a dream to see you at one.) Vogue is such a fucking fantastic art form, and I want to do so much with it now — I want to conduct research on vogue and even walk a ball in the future! You helped me find a community I know would welcome me, so it’s time for me to actually throw myself into it and take it IN, darling!

 

We as Black and Brown trans people are some of the most vulnerable populations in the US, and you gave me a reason to keep on fighting for our community, Leiomy. When I found you, a trans Afro-Latina, who found herself and used her space for good, it lit a spark under my ass to do something and live. My transness is beautiful. I am beautiful. I will never stop thanking you for inspiring my TransQueerFatMexican self in so many tangible and intangible ways; I’ve begun to vogue, I’m getting into activism, and I love being fucking loud and proud of who I am.

 

Love, 

X. Ramos-Lara