Called “El corrido de Sylvia Rivera,” the song tells the story of Rivera’s historical significance with music that traditionally would not touch on issues of sexual diversity, according to Goust, who is from Sonora and wrote the lyrics.
“My uncles, when they would start drinking, basically, they would listen to a lot of corridos, and a lot of norteño music you know, and I was inevitably influenced by that just by virtue of being surrounded by it all the time. And actually, it’s a genre of music that I didn’t enjoy. But more recently in life, I learned that it wasn’t because of the music, it was because of the content, the what they were promoting, it was so violent. And so I decided that I was going to sort of claim the genre, for myself and for people like me. And so that’s why I wrote a story about Sylvia Rivera,” Goust told Latino Rebels.
The new song also features La Bruja de Texcoco, an artist and songwriter who embraces Mexican traditions in her work. That’s why the video for the corrido highlights costumes and scenery that celebrate Mexico. The video was recorded in Xochimilco and shows a party aboard traditional Trajineras.
“I really wanted to tell stories that are relevant to me, as as a queer person who lives in the United States, but also who is of Mexican heritage and who grew up in Mexico. So that’s why we chose that location. We thought it would be very good to be just festive and colorful,” Goust said.
The song was intentionally released in July after Pride Month in June because the artists wanted to send a message that people like Rivera should be celebrated every day. Rivera was one of the movement’s most important activists during the 1970s and passed away in 2002. The song describes police repression against the LGBTQ community during Rivera’s time.
“I wanted to keep sort of pushing forward the narrative, this is we’re still here. It’s July. And we’ll be here in August. And we’ll have other things to talk about. And not to be self-centered or greedy. I think everyone deserves to be noticed and acknowledged all year, like Black people are not only existing in February and women are not only existing in March. It’s important to normalize us year-round,” Goust said.
Juanita Ramos Ardila is a Colombian journalist who has written for El Tiempo and ColPrensa. An M.A. Journalism candidate at CUNY’s Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, Juanita is also Latino Rebels’ 2021 Summer Correspondent. Twitter: @JuanitaRamosA.