"Transexual and Intersexual Gods…Chango-Santa Barbara," article from a 1975 issue of Moonshadow (“the voice of the transsexual action organization TAO”), in the archival collections of the GLBT Historical Society.
In Stonewall, Martin Duberman describes the daily religious practice of legendary transgender Latina civil rights activist Sylvia Rivera (1951-2002):
Devoted from childhood to Santería, and convinced that St. Barbara was the patron saint of gay [Latinos], Sylvia set up an altar, complete with incense and candles, around which everyone would gather and “pay tribute” before they left the house…Nobody was forced to participate, but Sylvia made it clear that they would be better protected on the streets if they showed a little respect for the saints, and especially for St. Michael. To him, her prayer would be, “I know we’re doing wrong, but we gotta survive, so please help us.” And she believed he did: "We were watched over — though Marsha [P. Johnson] came close to getting killed by tricks a number of times, and I looked down the barrel of many a gun and would say, ‘Shoot me. You’ll be doin’ me a favor. I won’t have to pay no rent.’ But my saints protected me.”
This view of St. Barbara, associated with the orisha Changó in the Afro-Cuban Lucumí tradition, is disputed by many initiates; Salvador Vidal-Ortiz has documented consecrated elders’ strongly differing views in his 2005 City University of New York dissertation, “’Sexuality’ and ‘Gender’ in Santería: Towards a Queer of Color Critique in the Study of Religion.” On the other hand, books like Queering Creole Spiritual Traditions: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Participation in African-Inspired Traditions in the Americas record popular understandings of several Afro-Diasporic deities as gender-variant and/or particularly accepting of LGBT individuals, reflecting “unofficial” oral traditions passed on among practitioners for generations.