...embracing my voice.

My proudest moment is embracing my voice.

"Ever since I was a young boy, I always struggled with finding my voice. As a queer Latino living in a predominantly LatinX community, speaking aloud about my identity was not always a walk in the park. I mean any ten-year-old would find it hard to defend themselves against homophobic slurs when they barely knew their own identity. It is even tougher when you are doing it alone. So, I found myself choosing my battles with classmates because frankly, it was my voice or my safety. However, the moment I came out to my family and friends during my sophomore year of high school, I made a vow to myself that the hiding was over. I was no longer going to wait for change to happen. I was going to start using my voice to break the homophobic seal surrounding my community, whether they were ready or not.

And so throughout high school, I made it my mission to change the culture of my community in hopes of bringing greater awareness for LGBTQ+ identities. With the support of the LGBTQ+ Center of Palm Springs, a group of students and I presented to incoming freshmen about LGBTQ+ awareness, bullying prevention, and mental health support. Although the level of education certainly improved within my community, I always felt my voice was limited to those around me. I had the goal of being heard by the world.

My proudest moment came on October 12th, 2019, when this dream became a reality. The reality that I was going to finally take ownership of my voice and use it to inspire. On this day, I was invited by a national LGBTQ+ scholarship organization known as Point Foundation to share my journey as their scholar to hundreds of Point Alumni, sponsors, board members, and supporters in hopes of sparking conversation in regards to helping our LGBTQ+ youth pursue higher education. Once day turned to night, I found myself standing at the podium with 500+ eyes peering at me as I shared my narrative. I was no longer that little boy who was scared to stand up for himself; I was finally embracing my voice." - Anthony

You can follow Anthony’s journey at:

Instagram: @pacheccooo

Watch Anthony's speech here.