Pride and True: No more secrets for MacDill Airman

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jenay Randolph
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing public affairs
"My journeys are always like a rollercoaster, I just ride for the thrill," explained Airman 1st Class Arthur Galindo, 6th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron environmental and electrical technician, exuding confidence when describing his life up until this point.

The second eldest of four children, born and raised in Chino, California, Galindo had a secret that he had been keeping from his friends and family since he was three years old. Galindo realized at that age he was attracted to members of the same sex.

"I was like any other little boy; I played with trains, trucks and enjoyed playing sports, so no one expected that I was gay," explained Galindo. "I wasn't necessarily trying to hide it, but I wasn't sure exactly how to say it."

While attending a college preparatory school, Galindo earned an Associate of Science degree along with his high school diploma. He also served as one of the school's student leaders and a star football player.

Even with all the popularity, most of his close friends and family did not know about his sexual orientation. Galindo felt that it was on a need-to-know basis.

"It wasn't until August 10th, my senior year, I was tackled really hard during football practice, which caused me to suffer from a small concussion and while being wheeled through the hospital, I thought I blurted out that I was gay," recalled Galindo with a chuckle. "Because I thought I said it already, shortly after returning home, I sat down with my parents and broke the news to them."

Galindo had thought about telling his friends and family once before when he was 13 years old, however, after eavesdropping on his older sister telling their parents that she was a lesbian and hearing his mother cry, he decided to keep the secret a little longer. Then again during his freshman year of high school, Galindo debated telling his friends and family, but once again decided to hold it in.

Finally, after 16 years, Galindo was now "openly gay" and began to embrace it and try to advocate for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

"In high school, my boyfriend and I were the first gay couple to attend the prom," explained Galindo proudly. "I was also one of the first openly gay star football players at my school."

Once Galindo jumped over that obstacle, it was then time to accomplish his lifelong dream of being an Airman in the U.S. Air Force. He had his mind set on joining for as long as he could remember and that dream came true in November of 2013.

"I joined to pay tribute to my mother who wanted to join the Air Force, but couldn't due to being pregnant with me," expressed Galindo. "I also saw it as my duty to give back to my country."

With the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell in 2011, this southern California native joined the Air Force with goals to travel and become a pilot. He is focused on commissioning, becoming a better Airman and building awareness for the LGBT community.  Since becoming an Airman, he has been accepted by his fellow wingmen and leadership and will continue to be persistent and never give up on his ambitions.

"More than anything I get the second glance when people find out that I am gay," said Galindo jokingly. "It is not something that I announce upon entering a room, but if someone hears me refer to my boyfriend or another male during casual conversation I'm ok with that."

Galindo is not defined by his sexual orientation; he is described by most as persistent, confident, ambitious and maybe even a little arrogant. Galindo is determined to make a difference. 

Currently, he is a member of the LGBT pride month committee and participating in the first LGBT Pride Month celebration at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida.

"The military is diversity and with diversity comes strength," expressed Galindo proudly.