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‘Vida’ Cast Talks LGBTQ Representation: Some People ‘Don’t Want a Label’ (Video)

“It’s just, I’m just a human being, just let me be,” Melissa Barrera tells TheWrap

New Starz drama “Vida” has a unique take on representation in that it avoids placing labels on its LGBTQ+ characters, the cast told TheWrap in a recent interview.

“There are people that do want to have a label because they feel more comfortable, like being able to say ‘I am bi,’ or ‘I am gay,’ or ‘I am queer.’ And there’s nothing wrong with that, but there are also people that don’t want a label,” said Mexican actress Melissa Barrera.

“Vida” tells the story of two estranged sisters who return home to East Los Angeles after their mother passes away. Barrera plays Lyn, the younger, bohemian sister to Mishel Prada’s Emma, who we learn is attracted to other women but chooses not to identify as gay.

“Hopefully we’ll get to that point, where you can just exist, and it doesn’t have to be this traumatic experience telling your parents that you fell in love with someone that happens to be of the same gender,” Prada said.

“I think it was Lena Waithe, at the GLAAD awards, she said I don’t want to say that I’m bi or that I’m gay or that I’m whatever because she already feels like society is so divided that you don’t need one more thing to divide the people,” Barrera continued.

At the GLAAD Media Awards last month, Waithe said that she likes to identify as queer because it engulfs the entire LGBTQ+ community.

“I say that because I think it’s a big umbrella. I don’t want to separate myself from my trans family, my non-binary, bisexual [family],” she said while accepting her award for Outstanding Individual Episode. “I feel like sometimes we can be a little segregated, you know what I mean?”

“At the end of the day, we’re already ‘othered,’ so why should we ‘other’ ourselves anymore than we already are?” the Emmy winner asked.

Barrera said that feeling is what “Vida” is trying to convey.

“[Emma] doesn’t want to feel like an ‘other.’ It’s just, I’m just a human being, just let me be,” she said.

Watch the full clip above.

“Vida” premieres on Starz on May 6.