Latina Transgender Beauty Queens Raise Awareness for HIV/AIDS

An all-Latina transgender diva race brings HIV/AIDS prevention and health messages to Orange County's Latino community.

By Jorge Rivas Jun 28, 2011

Orange County, California is home to 3 million people and is largely considered to be one of the most conservative counties in the United States. But it’s also home to one of the nation’s oldest gay and lesbian centers.

For the past eighteen years, The Center Orange County has been holding a beauty pageant specifically targeting transgender Latinas. "Miss Hermosa y Protegida" (Beautiful and Safe), is one of the longest-running, all-Latina transgender beauty pageants in the country.

These mujeres strut down the stage in gowns and bathing suits in front of some tough judges–health care professional. In order to win Miss Hermosa y Protegida contestants have to deliver a compelling 3-minute HIV/AIDS-prevention message that counts for 75 percent of their total score.

Messages that are desperately needed in a county that is home to many of the country’s most conservative ethnic enclaves. recently completed a short film following contestants in this years Miss Hermosa y Protejida. The mun2 digital production is available online.

Director and producer Daffodil Altan says she’s committed to covering LGBT issues "especially as they relate to the multi-American experience."

"Getting a conversation going about these issues in the Latino community in a fun, accessible, human way is especially important to me as a Latina," said Altan who had a stint at The OC Weekly before joining

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the total number of people living with an HIV diagnosis in 2008 in the U.S. states, 46 percent were black/African American; 31.6 percent white and 20 percent Latino.

Visit to watch the 6-minute film featuring Miss Hermosa y Protegida.

Mun2, mun2 is an English-language cable station (with some Spanglish and Spanish mixed in) targeting young Latinos and is part of Telemundo, the spanish-language network.  If you like this piece let know you want more of it in the comments on their site.