February 28, 2024 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

World’s First LGBTQ Mariachi Band Performs for the Center to Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month

Mariachi Arcoiris de Los Angeles—the world’s first LGBTQ mariachi—entertained more than 50 Center clients and staff members with an exuberant noontime concert on Sept. 24 in celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Hispanic Heritage Month is to recognize the achievements and contributions of Hispanic American champions who have inspired others to achieve success. 

The Center also used the opportunity to inform spectators about Mi Centro, the Center’s location in Boyle Heights that serves the community of LGBTQ people and allies living on the eastside of Los Angeles. 

Mariachi Arcoiris de Los Angele is composed entirely of memebers from the LGBTQ community such as band member Natalia Melendez, who may be the first transgender woman in the world of mariachi music. 

Founder and Director of Mariachi Arcoiris Carlos Samaniego first created the group in 2000 and brought the group back for the second time in 2016.

“I knew I was going to encounter a lot of difficulties,” Samaniego said. “How was the Mexican community going to accept this? Were they going to accept those who are the Latino community or the mariachi community? But fortunately through our professionalism, we’ve been able to gain their respect over time.”

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