Meet the world's only transgender mariachi woman

LONG BEACH, California -- Prepare yourself for a lot of 'firsts.'

Natalia Marie Melendez is the first trans woman mariachi musician. She performs with Mariachi Arcoiris de Los Angeles, the world's first openly LGBTQ+ mariachi group.

"Being that I am the only transgender female in the world that plays mariachi music, it has been difficult," Melendez said. "There is definitely a machismo culture in mariachi."

Mariachi Arcoiris de Los Angeles hopes to pave the way for LGBTQ mariachi musicians.

"It's a positive moving force in the world that has to be done," Melendez said. "Not just for us, but for generations to come."

Melendez and the mariachi group performed for patrons during Long Beach Pride weekend at Hotel Maya.

Mariachi Arcoiris de Los Angeles is part of Hotel Maya's "12 Months of Maya-Achis," a monthly mariachi brunch at Fuego, its onsite Latin American fusion restaurant.
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