Que Vivan Los Gays! West Valley Learns About Growing up Gay and Latino

By Avi Vieira

In a state as diverse as Arizona it’s surprisingly easy to look at the impact that cultural differences that go hand in hand with growing up LGBTQ. Last week, West Valley one•n•ten had the opportunity to hear firsthand from one of its leaders what it was like to grow up as a local gay Latino. On what he stated as being the 15th anniversary of his first one•n•tenmeeting, our First Lady Jimmy Munoz pointed out how different things were when he grew up in south Phoenix, not knowing any LGBTQ folks and coming from a religious and traditional Latino family.


Jimmy shared tales of coming out to himself, and being outed to his family who’s reaction was fairly negative; kicking him out and only allowing him back on the condition that he “couldn’t be gay.” Through tales of being mostly down and out, Jimmy stressed the importance of family in his life and how he struggled to reconcile two seemingly incompatible aspects of his life. In the end it was family, namely his siblings who demanded he be accepted. Fast forward several years, and his family accepts and supports him and his work in the LGBT community.

The message to the youth was clear: even if parents have a difficult time coming to terms with your sexuality or gender identity, it doesn’t mean that all is lost forever so never lose hope. Jimmy’s experiences helped shape the person he is today; a fighter, a leader, and role model for the youth in the LGBTQ community, the Latino community, and the Phoenix community in general.