Love and Diversity in Boyle Heights’ LGBTQ+ community

Esta página también disponible en: Español

To celebrate Gay Pride month, Boyle Heights Beat is sharing stories of identity, pride, courage and survival as told by three young members of the LGBTQ+ community and their families.

These recordings are in Spanish, but you can read their transcripts in English or switch to the original language. Here are the participants:

The Medina Family

Alex Medina will be a senior this fall at Bravo High School in Boyle Heights. Two years ago, the male gay teen decided to come out to his parents, Candelaria and Mario Medina, who immediately accepted him. To support their son, his parents joined the PFLAG Spanish-language groups and soon found themselves becoming activists. They now speak at rallies and conferences, advising Latino parents to support their LGBTQ+ children. Read and hear their story:

Alex Medina: Fortunate to have a loving family

The Ruiz Vazquez Family

Charlie Ruiz Vazquez, who self defines as a gender-fluid pansexual, counts her mother Mary Ruiz as her biggest ally. Both are health promotoras for Clínica Romero at Ramona Gardens and pay special attention to the health needs of LGBTQ+ community members in that housing complex. And Mary, who is co-facilitator of the PFLAG Spanish support group at Mi Centro Boyle Heights, wants to make sure that Charlie can find a special person to share her life with. Read and hear their story:

Charlie Ruiz Vazquez dreams of helping homeless LGBTQ+ youth

The Páez Espinosa Family

It’s only been a year since 14-year-old Gavin Páez was able to come out to his parents as a transgender boy. Ricardo Páez and Alma Espinosa had never even heard of the term transgender, but with the help of other families who attend the Spanish-language PFLAG meetings, they were able to help and support his son as he chose his name and shared his identity with other members of the family. Gavin’s three siblings were essential in his coming out process, especially his oldest sister Citally. Read and hear their story:

Gavin Páez: love never changed, only how it’s expressed

These families met through PFLAG, an organization that helps the families and allies of LGBTQ+ people and holds monthly Spanish-language meetings  at two Eastside locations: Mi Centro in Boyle Heights and Bienestar in East Los Angeles.

This community storytelling project resulted from a partnership between Boyle Heights Beat, the Latino Equality Alliance and Mi Centro/Los Angeles LGBT Center.