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Why the First Openly Gay Latino Mayor Loves Superman

Stories Of Us
Straight out of Long Beach, meet Robert Garcia, a young mayor who doesn't need a cape to be a hometown hero.
Show transcript
00:00
I was told you shouldn't run.
00:01
You're too young.
00:02
There had certainly never been a person of color that had been
00:04
elected citywide to mayor.
00:06
Certainly not somebody that was gay.
00:07
I, you know, took all those things into consideration.
00:10
And, um, and I did it anyway.
00:17
My name is Robert Garcia.
00:18
I'm the mayor of Long Beach.
00:19
I was born in Lima Peru.
00:20
I came to the US with my family when I was five years old.
00:24
My mom cleaned houses when we got here, my aunt cleaned houses
00:27
when we got here, my grandma cleaned houses when we got here
00:30
English is my second language and I learned it by reading
00:33
a lot and I actually read a lot of comic books and I really identified
00:36
it as a kid with Superman because he was also an immigrant from
00:40
another planet, but still an immigrant kind of had to hide
00:43
who he was as someone that is a gay man.
00:49
I've been open about my identity since probably college.
00:52
It's never something that I hid away from.
00:54
I'm lucky that I had a really supportive family and, and friends
00:57
structure around me.
00:59
I'm probably the first mayor that hasn't come from the wealthiest
01:02
parts of town.
01:03
I definitely don't look or act like anybody that's been before
01:07
me.
01:10
Porter.
01:11
How are you doing?
01:11
How are you?
01:12
Nice to see you.
01:12
Hey, good to see you.
01:13
Good to see you.
01:13
How's, uh, how's everything at the center today?
01:15
Busy, busy.
01:16
Getting ready for pride.
01:17
Are you ready?
01:18
Always ready.
01:23
First of all, I love Long Beach pride.
01:25
It's incredibly diverse, all types of people.
01:28
just the full rainbow of what it means to be LGBT Q.
01:32
I think it's a really beautiful pride and I've been to a lot
01:37
of prides.
01:38
I, I actually think it's the best one and I'm a big bike rider
01:42
So we ride bikes in the parade, the whole city comes out and
01:45
enjoys it.
02:00
There's three parts of who I am that were challenging for different
02:04
reasons, being younger and being gay and being Latina and
02:07
being an immigrant on top of being a Latino.
02:09
Those communities were looking at me, not just as the first
02:13
but I can't and don't wanna ever mess it up.
02:17
There are only a handful of openly gay mayors in the United
02:20
States and when you count big cities, there's really only
02:23
two us in Seattle that have LGBT Q people leading and I got my
02:28
fair share of nasty letters and knocking on a door and people
02:30
being like, I'll never vote for you because you're gay little
02:33
notes saying I'm going to hell and I got all of that stuff as
02:38
someone that is a Latino and a gay man.
02:40
I really believe the intersectionality of those two movements
02:44
Latinos, Latinas that are queer.
02:47
If we're really gonna be a successful LGBT Q movement, we have
02:50
to support undocumented people and we have to support immigration
02:53
rights and we have to use our unique position to amplify each
02:58
community.
02:59
Well, as far as like, what's next, I just got reelected by,
03:01
by good margin.
03:02
So I'm very happy about that.
03:03
I just wanna be the best mayor possible for Long Beach.
03:06
It's bigger than Pittsburgh, Saint Louis, New Orleans and
03:09
Miami.
03:10
This is a huge city.
03:11
It's got complex challenges like any urban city, but it's
03:15
growing.
03:15
The future is really bright for Long Beach and I just wanna
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make sure that as we invest and grow that we also don't lose
03:21
what makes Long Beach cool, which is a beautiful diverse population
03:25
a strong LGBT Q community, immigrants, hard working people
03:29
that just make this place have a cool vibe.
03:31
I think so.
03:32
That's the plan.