Artist of the Year
Arturo A. Rodriguez
Born into a devoutly Catholic family, in the north of Mexico, I had strong questions about whether or not it was okay to be gay, and if my family would accept me as an openly gay man. By the age of 18, it was clear to me that I was different, but I was terribly afraid of what my family might think and how they would react if they learned that I was gay. In addition to my family, I was worried about how my being gay might conflict with my Catholic beliefs. So before going to sleep one night when I was 18, I asked God to take my life overnight if he did not want me to be the way I was. I was very nervous as I laid my head to rest that night, but when I woke up the next day, I knew God had accepted me.
I was still very afraid of what my family might think so I went through my initial coming out by myself, only with the help and support of some of my closest friends. I then decided to move to the USA to start a new life. I was determined to be myself and knew the United States would present a fresh start and an opportunity to live an openly gay life.
After living an openly gay life here in the United States for so long, I finally gained the confidence to come out to my family in my 40s. I was overcome with joy, as they accepted me immediately. Not only that, but they have gotten to know my life partner of 21 years, Joe Albert, and his family, and they have shown nothing but love and appreciation for all of them.