By: Tracy E. Gilchrist
During a segment about National Coming Out Day on the morning show Despierta America on Thursday, Univision personality Luis Sandoval came out as gay in an emotional speech about how 9-year-old Jamel Myles, who died by suicide not long after coming out as gay, spurred him to speak out. If that weren’t inspiring enough, Sandoval’s mother, who helped him decide to come out publicly, joined him on the show.
“Today is a very important day for me, today I decide to share my story publicly,” Sandoval began.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I, Luis Sandoval, I am gay, I am happy, I am a full person, respected, I think respectable, and I do not live in the closet, my family knows, my friends know, and I have a partner with whom I am happy.”
The 34-year-old television personality who is Mexican and lives in Los Angeles then spoke of being moved to come out when he heard of Myles’s death this summer.
“Imagine a mother’s pain, losing your nine-year-old son. And then I started to see people criticizing the lady, ‘this is your fault, you exposed your son to these things, you deserve it,” Sandoval said.
Then, Sandoval spoke tearfully about his own mother, Leonila Vallejo, and how she supported him in coming out publicly. That’s when cohosts Karla Martinez and Ismael Cala surprised Sandoval by bringing his mother out on set where Vallejo hugged her son and told him she is proud of him.
Sandoval comes out on air.
Sandoval’s mother surprises him on set.
If you are a trans or gender-nonconforming person considering suicide, Trans Lifeline can be reached at (877) 565-8860. LGBTQ youth (ages 24 and younger) can reach the Trevor Project Lifeline at (866) 488-7386. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 can also be reached 24 hours a day by people of all ages and identities.