I always spoke softly and I was a maricón and a joto before I even knew what they meant. I was that little brown boy hiding in my room, while I lipsynched to Selena with my mother's hair brush, a toalla on my head, and tacones firmly on my feet.
As a gay man, Vincent’s journey out of the closet has been long and complicated. Growing up in a Mexican-American family, rooted in both Catholic and Pentecostal backgrounds, didn’t leave room for questioning one’s sexual orientation or considering that perhaps homosexuality wasn’t a worldly perversion or the cause of demonic warfare. Home quickly became a confusing space.
Vincent was born and raised for most of his life in Merced, located in California's Central Valley. After graduating from high school he went on to attend Azusa Pacific University, one of the largest evangelical Christian universities in the United States located in Southern California. At APU, however, the subject of homosexuality was not only taboo in discussion, but being openly gay was also condemned university policies. Being gay at APU was neither safe, nor accepted.
As a result of his religious upbringing and Christian college, he submitted himself to reparative therapy through counseling, ex-gay support groups, and even consented to an exorcism. This experience led Vincent to the brink of suicide. But through the shadows he overcame the hardships and came out and fully accepted himself as gay man in July 2006.
As an out gay student at an Evangelical university, Vincent faced many obstacles with fellow students and the administration. In October 2006, Vincent was forced to withdraw from the university because his sexual orientation and identity as "openly gay" conflicted with their policies that prohibited “homosexual acts or behaviors.”
In 2006 Vincent joined up with Soulforce to participate in the "Right to Serve" Campaign in Los Angeles. In 2007, Vincent continued his work with Soulforce as member of the Soulforce Equality Ride; during a 2-month journey across the United States. Vincent along with over 50 other young adults visited Christian colleges and universities that have policies that discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer students, faculty, and staff, to share their stories and create dialogue about faith and sexuality, while challenging their discriminatory policies.
Today Vincent continues his work in activism by sharing his story and the stories of other ex-gay survivors. He actively speaks out on topics relating to religion, theology, race, gender, and sexuality. Past projects have explored the historical and modern use of the Bible in discourses on gender and sexuality, creating theological Latinidad, and building new communities.
In 2008, Vincent began his career as a speaker and performer, addressing a variety of social justice issues in his talks and presentations. As a storyteller, Vincent has acted as a national voice to bring truth to spiritual violence of the ex-gay movement. He has been featured in various US media outlets including The Tyra Banks Show, The Detroit News, HDNet World Report, The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet on Fox, Logo TV, PBS In The Life, and DETAILS Magazine. He has also collaborated on other projects and has guest written for other blogs, recently including The Bilerico Project.
As someone who lived many years as an evangelical Christian, Vincent connects regularly with evangelical and conservative Christians around lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender concerns. He offers a variety of lectures, talks, and workshops to help educate others around issues of religion, theology, gender, and sexuality.
Vincent is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Southern California, focusing his research and writing on queer sexuality in Latin American literature and culture. He also holds a master's degree in theology from Harvard Divinity School and a bachelor's degree in religious studies from the University of California, Riverside.