CORPUS CHRISTI, TX - A transsexual Selena impersonator in South Texas was told she couldn’t perform at a tribute for the slain Tejano singer, sparking outrage among her supporters and calls to support a rival event instead.
The organizer of the Selena tribute told performer Honey Andrews on Wednesday she wasn’t welcome at the March 30 event in Cole Park in Corpus Christi.
“Nobody wants to see a male person dress up like a girl,” organizer Mario Gomez wrote in a Facebook message to Andrews early Wednesday morning.
“I don’t want you there. I will have the police deal with you if you show up.”
Andrews, who regularly performs as Selena at events, said she was shocked at Gomez’s “hurtful, hateful” response.
“This type of bullying is not right,” she said.
Andrews shared the exchange among her friends. By Wednesday afternoon, the message had gone viral on social media, eliciting scores of messages of support for Andrews and a rival Selena tribute March 31 where Andrew plans to perform.
“He didn’t just offend Honey, he offended the entire LGBT community,” said Liz Robledo, co-founder of the Corpus Christi LGBT organization. “That’s unacceptable and we’re going to stand behind her 100 percent.”
Joshua Zapata, of McAllen, said he had planned on attending, but ditched those plans after seeing Gomez’s remarks posted on Facebook.
“I am an openly gay man and to have someone say these things be responsible for holding the event talk so rudely to a friend, he just changed my mind,” Zapata said. “I do not support people who do not support a member of my community.”
Amid the uproar, Gomez responded late Wednesday afternoon, telling the Caller-Times the exchange was a misunderstanding that was blown out of proportion. He said he denied Andrews’ request to perform because people complained last year about men dressed like women performing at the tribute.
“A lot of people don’t want to see that,” he said. “Even the photographer started deleting pictures once he realized they were men.”
Born as a man, Andrews has undergone surgery to transition to a woman. She regularly performs at events and clubs, often impersonating Selena in outfits custom-made to match those worn by Jennifer Lopez in the 1997 movie depicting Selena’s life.
She starred in a tribute show last year at Cole Park, lip-syncing Selena’s “La Caracha” and dancing the cumbia in the same style of high-waisted pants and white bustier Lopez wore in the movie.
After all the outrage Wednesday, Gomez reversed course and said he would allow Andrews to be a part of the show. He sent her a message about 4 p.m. apologizing for the misunderstanding and offering her the chance to perform.
“If this person really wants to sing that bad, they are more than welcome,” Gomez told the Caller-Times. “This person shouldn’t be making such a big deal about it ... I’m not a bad person. I’m not discriminatory. There’s no need for this.”
Andrews said she had no plans to attend, nor did she intend to return Gomez’s message.
“He did this to clear his name up,” she said. “That’s not the way it works. He did something wrong. He needs to face the consequences.”
Gomez plans to hold the tribute at Cole Park to mark the 19th anniversary of Selena Quintanilla-Perez’s death. She was shot and killed by the president of her fan club in 1995, two weeks shy of her 24th birthday.
Andrews, who used to go by the name Honey Daniels, will perform at a separate tribute March 31 as she has for the past three years. Hosted by Majic 104.9, the long-standing tribute to the queen of Tejano has become a Corpus Christi tradition with live performances in the singer’s honor.