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Meet The People: River Gallo, Filmmaker + Pride Collaborator

Learn more about YTTP's Pride collaborators here.

River Gallo is a Salvadoran-American filmmaker, actor, writer, and intersex advocate with interACT. In 2019, Gallo won the GLAAD Media Rising Star Award. They are the CEO and co-founder of Gaptoof Entertainment, a multimedia production house in Los Angeles with a focus on intersectionality and narrative inclusivity, including for people of color, womxn, and those who identify at LGBTQIA+. Gallo also collaborated with YTTP to celebrate Pride this year. Get to know them a little better here.

Who are you and what do you stand for? 

My name is River Gallo. I’m a Latinx and non-binary filmmaker, actor, writer, and intersex activist. I stand for revolution. For individual and collective empowerment. I stand for the expression of love in various forms as a radical method of healing. I stand for overturning systems of oppression by reenvisioning personal narrative. I stand for intersex rights, body autonomy, and fighting to make nonconsensual and medically-unnecessary surgeries on intersex youth illegal through my art. 

What are your pronouns?

They/them/theirs.

Why do you feel it’s important to make your voice heard?

It’s important to make my voice heard in order to amplify the voices of my community of brown, queer, trans, gender non-conforming, and intersex people. We live in a world that still favors the tastes and opinions of white cis-gendered men, so when my voice is heard I’m not just speaking for myself, but rather generations of people who have been erased, silenced, and have or are currently experiencing trauma. Through my voice, I want to inspire joy and hope and a celebration of a new world order that is both within our reach and already here. 

What is your outlet?

My outlet is my writing, my poetry, screenplays, stories. My acting. My connection with people, with nature, and with God. 

Is there a moment in your memory when your perspective or idea of what Pride is changed or evolved? What happened then?

In 2016 I was at the NYC Pride parade. I was walking around Christopher Street with my friends, and I was waving this small Pride flag. I remember watching it wave very intently. This overwhelming sense of awe came over me. Suddenly all these images rushed through my mind: all the protests, the demonstrations, the AIDS crisis, the pain, the suffering, the beatings, the running away from homes, the everything that my queer ancestors went through for me now to able to strut down the West Village covered in glitter, in a crop top and cut-offs, and wave this little rainbow flag. For the first time, I felt that Pride wasn’t just about me being proud of my identity and my journey, but rather I was proud of everyone who came before, who blasted open the pathways forward, and who did it all for me, for us. 

If you could get the world to change its collective mind about one issue, or adopt one way of being, what would it be and why?

I would change the world’s opinions, or lack thereof, of the intersex community. Intersex is an umbrella term for people whose bodies don’t fit the typical definitions of what it means to be male or female. There’s a wide range of variations of how one can be intersex and we represent 1.7 percent of the world’s population, which is about the same as the number of people with red hair. However, we have been silenced and erased by doctors and a medical industry who for centuries have maintained a patriarchal agenda to uphold the gender binary. Many intersex people face unconsented, medically unnecessary, and often irreversible surgeries at a young age to alter their bodies in order to fit into a male or female box. In some countries, intersex people are killed for being seen as deformed. The world needs to wake up and understand that intersex people are beautiful the way we are and that every human born on Earth has ownership of their own body. The world needs to understand that gender is a spectrum, not a binary.

Shop our With Pride kit, with 100% of profits going to GLSEN (up to $75K) here.