Good for Roger Montoya!
Last week, New Mexican resident Roger Montoya won the District 40 seat for the State House of Representatives. According to Edge Media Network, the 59-year-old Democrat won 56.8 percent of the vote against his Republican opponent Justin Salazar-Torrez (who received 43.2 percent).
This is exciting news not only because of Montaya being openly gay, but it’s exciting because he was met with such homophobic pushback. According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, Republicans attempted to shame Montoya out of the race by bringing up his past in sex work. Montoya later addressed the accusations and confirmed them. He stated that he worked under the stage name Joe Savage and starred in two adult films in the 1980s when he was 22 years old.
“I am not proud of that choice, as I was young and naïve, but those experiences helped me to understand the exploitation young people face. Those experiences do not reflect who I am, and they are insignificant in the scope of my life’s work, yet they helped inspire my dedication to my community and the work I do to make sure that youth have opportunities, support and confidence.”
While Montoya didn’t need to apologize, his statement seems to have helped his case. Montoya received major support from his potential constituents and won the race. It also helps that Montoya, who is HIV-positive, has been a major advocate for HIV education and awareness. He also co-founded Moving Arts Española, a youth center that prospers the creative arts in Latinx young of the community. Because of his efforts for several communities, Montoya was named a CNN Hero in 2019.
And now, Montoya is looking to support his New Mexican community more directly. We wish him the best!