After a seven-day battle with respiratory problems, the legendary openly lesbian singer Chavela Vargas passed away Sunday, August 5, in Cuernavaca, Mexico. The world-renowned Costa Rican-born Mexican singer came out as a lesbian at the age of 81.
At 14, Vargas left her native Costa Rica and moved to Mexico to pursue musical career opportunities. There she challenged mainstream gender norms and was famous for her public liaisons with women, including a brief affair with painter Frida Kahlo. Notably, she purposely did not change the gender in songs written by Mexico’s most famous male songwriters.
As Andrés Duque reported in Blabbeando, for this year’s Latin America and Spain’s Lesbian Visibility Day on April 26 , Vargas tweeted an image of herself along with a caption that said “Proud to be the way I am,” and also “Lets raise our voices since we’re not invisible.”