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Gabby Rivera was raised in a Puerto Rican family in the Bronx, came out as queer, and published a critically acclaimed debut novel, Juliet Takes a Breath, about her coming-of-age story.
Then Marvel Comics called. They invited her to write America, a comic book series about America Chavez, Marvel’s first queer Latina superhero, establishing Rivera as a pioneer.
But even before that turning point, even before she wrote her first novel, she made sure she was clear about the core values that would guide her through whatever came next.
“When I looked at myself in the mirror, I was like, ‘What do I need to get up every day? What do I need to get up and feel safe? How am I going to thrive in this world?’” Rivera says.
She came up with three things: Rivera says would be out loud and proud. She would be happy – by following her grandmother’s advice and not making decisions denying her truth. And, she added, she would “make sure she could bring along everyone she could for the ride.”
To Rivera, that meant: “If I’m working somewhere, or being part of a group that accepts me, but they don’t accept trans women, or they don’t accept Black people, then that’s not where I need to be, that doesn’t deserve my energy.”
To this day, she says she continues to allow those core values to guide her.
And she adds, “I think that everyone should do that. Like what are your three core values? The three things that will allow you to get up, love yourself, and do the work that you were put on this earth to do?”
Gabby Rivera spoke at the 2022 Massachusetts Conference for Women. This article is based on her talk.