overview

With its inaugural broadcast in April 1994, HoMoVISIONES was the first Latino LGBT public access television program in New York City.

Between 1995 and 2000, HoMoVISIONES leased an office on the 12th floor of this building, from which the team spread awareness of LGBT issues to Spanish-speaking audiences and covered issues of interest to the LGBT Latino population that were not covered by most LGBT organizations in the city.

Header Photo
Credit: Andrés Santana-Miranda/NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project, 2023.

History

Beginning in the early 1980s, members of New York City’s LGBT community convened to act upon the government’s inadequate response to the AIDS crisis. Initiatives included the direct action undertaken by groups such as the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP); by the early 1990s, however, many Latino activists within ACT UP worried that awareness of health and LGBT issues did not reach Latino LGBT individuals in the city. Within this context, several of ACT UP’s Latino Caucus members decided to create a public access television series that amplified Latino lesbian and gay issues.

The team from the Latino Caucus, composed of Mexican journalist Gonzalo Aburto and Puerto Rican AIDS activists Gamalier de Jesús, Héctor Seda, and Cándido Negrón, founded HoMoVISIONES in January 1994. The creators shared the belief that most LGBT organizations in New York City did not conduct outreach to the Latino community and that prominent Latino media organizations ignored LGBT issues.

We had to do something to make sure that our experience is documented.

Cándido Negrón, HoMoVISIONES co-founder, 2022

After months of planning, HoMoVISIONES’ first broadcast occurred on April 5, 1994. The team voluntarily produced the episodes initially from their apartments and conducted them primarily in Spanish and with occasional English or Spanglish commentary. In October 1994, Puerto Rican journalist Heriberto González joined the HoMoVISIONES volunteer staff.

In early 1995, before HoMoVISIONES’ first anniversary, the team leased a space in Impact Visuals’ offices (a New York City-based co-op photo agency that focused on social justice, equity, and multicultural issues) on the 12th floor of 24 West 25th Street. Besides an official space, as a non-profit, arts-educational organization, HoMoVISIONES received pro-bono technical assistance and grants from the Association of Hispanic Arts, North Star Fund, and the Manhattan Neighborhood Network.

Throughout its five years in this location, HoMoVISIONES conducted interviews with Latino artists and activists, allowing them to reach broader audiences. LGBT interviewees included, among others, Spanish film director Pedro Almodóvar, Harlem comedic actress Marga Gómez, Ecuadorian American poet Emanuel Xavier, Puerto Rican poet and Nuyorican Poets Café co-founder Miguel Algarín, and Dominican fashion designer Peter Hidalgo. HoMoVISIONES also dedicated programs to the Mexican and Dominican Independence Days, the Puerto Rican Day Parade, Black History Month, and gay culture in Cuba, among others. It also broadcast footage of Stonewall 25 activities, including the Gay Games IV of 1994; the Manhattan Pride March and Queens Pride Parade; the 1994 International Lesbian and Gay Association Conference; the 1996 Latino and Immigrants’ Rights March in Washington D.C.; the AIDS Memorial Quilt; the XI International AIDS Conference in Vancouver; the 5th Annual National Latino/a Lesbian and Gay Organization Conference; and the 1st International Latino/a Lesbian and Gay Organization Congress in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and many others.

Even though some donors advised the founders to focus on specific topics, the creators wanted to provide a platform for all members of the Latino LGBT community in New York City. The initiative prompted collaborations with various political and support groups, including the Latina lesbian group Las Buenas Amigas. The partnership between Las Buenas Amigas and HoMoVISIONES led to the segment “Lesbovisiones,” which dealt with Latina lesbian issues and was produced and hosted by Latina lesbians.

Throughout its existence, HoMoVISIONES also collaborated with the National Latino/a Lesbian and Gay Organization (LLEGO), the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA), Gay Men of African Descent, African Ancestral Lesbians United for Societal Change (formerly the Salsa Soul Sisters), the Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center (now the LGBT Community Center), the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization (ILGO), among many others.

The television show continued into the 2000s. In early 2000, the non-profit organization moved to 112 West 27th Street, and by mid-2001, it moved again to 356 West 18th Street. While the team envisioned HoMoVISIONES as a television program that would outlast its creators, the final episode was broadcast in 2004 after the HoMoVISIONES team faced various economic and personnel difficulties that hindered the program’s continuation.

Entry by Andrés Santana-Miranda, project consultant (October 2023).

NOTE: Names above in bold indicate LGBT people.

Building Information

  • Architect or Builder: Frederick C. Zobel
  • Year Built: 1910

Sources

  1. HoMoVISIONES Records, Archives of the Puerto Rican Diaspora, Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College, CUNY.

  2. Lauren Herold, July 21, 2023, personal interview with Andrés Santana-Miranda for the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project.

  3. Lauren Herold, “‘We can’t rely on others to document our experience’: An Oral History of HoMoVISIONES, New York’s LGBTQ Latino TV Series,” in Local Television Histories, Communities, Aesthetics, ed. Lauren Herold and Annie Sullivan (forthcoming). [source of pull quote]

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