Rafael Albarrán is a nonbinary Puerto Rican actor, known for starring in the film Lupe. Before coming out as nonbinary, Albarrán had previously identified as a gay man, and states that researching "the trans umbrella" while working on Lupe was the catalyst for exploring their gender.
At the time six years ago, I identified as a gay man, and as a gay man, I thought I knew about the trans experience. I had no clue. As soon as I started reading and researching, I was like, 'Oh, my god!' This umbrella just kept expanding and expanding. Back then, six years ago, I didn't even know what nonbinary was. I didn't even know that that was an option. I knew as a gay man and gay kid, I always wanted to explore my femininity, but I was never allowed because of my culture. Because of the way I was raised, I was physically abused by my dad for being feminine, constantly when I was a kid. So in a way, the fact that I performed masculinity, it was imposed on me because my natural tendencies when I was a kid were very feminine. We can say that through abuse, I was "straightened up." I started reading and going through my own cathartic experiences. There was one book that truly changed my life. It was Janet Mock's autobiography Redefining Realness. She goes into detail about her experience growing up on an island with an abusive background. It was like looking in a mirror. I even myself had to go through those conversations with myself like, 'Am I trans, am I a woman?' So much about that womanhood and femininity that were natural to me was suppressed. All of a sudden with this film, I got the chance to explore. I feel like that quest for authenticity and that womanhood that the character is going through in the film, I was going through in my personal life at the same time. So that's why there's so much truth in it. There are so many things that I couldn't recreate. It was real discovery happening just with a camera there. [...] Four years ago, I started exploring drag, as my self-exploration process of femininity. I started using he and she pronouns and started identifying as nonbinary. Even me identifying like this, I constantly til this day face questions about that, like, 'You don't look nonbinary?' What the fuck does nonbinary look like or has to look like? It's the same thing as 'you don't look feminine.' What does femininity look like? That's why I feel this film is so important because it brings those questions and conversations that are very much needed. I'm just excited to be part of this community and to continue writing and creating stories about us because we need so much more.