(Editor’s note: Armando first posted this piece on his Facebook page on April 4.)
I had to stand up and say something, as someone who has a bigger voice than many others in the LGBTQ community.
I have been a member of the Redding community all of my life. I have played a part in many community projects over 20 years, including raising funds for countless organizations right here in Redding.
My lifestyle of having sex with the same sex, or the opposite sex, has never been a factor in being a good community servant, and in fact, is nobody’s business. I like to keep my private life private; therefore, being in the public eye has never been easy.
I had been with my same-sex partner for over 20 years until his untimely death.
Growing up in Redding, people have watched me grow as I tried to reach my goals, as well as dealing with the the ups and downs of losing my partner to cancer.
I am just like every other dreamer; including becoming one of the “20 under 40” to be recognized as one of our community’s up and coming leaders. In 2016, after opening my business, Armando’s Gallery House, I was awarded Businessman of the Year by the Redding Chamber of Commerce.
The Gallery House provides something that very few people — male or female — have had the guts to do. I, once again, put myself out in the public eye, chasing a dream that has taken three years for many to understand.
I fight hard to keep a dream alive. I struggle to keep the doors open to my business, and now, with the head hunters after the GAYS — being one of two openly gay businesses in Redding, and the only publicly gay person in Redding to own a business — I find myself struggling again, not knowing if hate crimes will result from this.
Will my business and/or I be targeted by hate crimes?
I will continue to fight for what I believe, and will continue to struggle to keep my doors open and be the man I have become.
I will continue to be who am!
It is said that “practice makes perfect”– and with that said, I would like to thank every single guest who has walked through my door, and I look forward to meeting the new guests who will walk through my doors in the future.
When I go to sleep and wake up the next morning, I will be the same person I was born to be.
Click here for the aNewsCafe.com interview with Armando about his downtown gallery, wine bar, restaurant and event space.
Armando Mejorado is a longtime Redding resident, an artist and owner of Armando’s Gallery House at 1350 Butte St. in Redding. He’s also an advocate and volunteer for many city projects and community causes.