Víctor M. Macías-González is a Mexican American from El Paso, Texas—a conservative, family-oriented town that’s more 85% Mexican. He didn’t come out until he was 23 because El Paso was a bad place to be queer. Gay men led sad lives of isolation, drugs, alcohol, and depression. His family harassed him to date and marry a woman “from a good family,” and his grandfather wanted him to be a diplomat. He ended up becoming a college professor married to a handsome Scandinavian third-grade teacher from rural Minnesota, Scott T. Swedeen.
At UW-La Crosse, Victor teaches Latin American history, trains future school teachers, researches LGBTQ history, and has developed diversity initiatives. He also developed award-winning mentoring programs for high-achieving minority undergraduates in the liberal arts (Eagle Mentoring Program), African American males (Hekima Scholars), and a bilingual outreach program to teach Latino immigrant parents about the college-going process so they can advocate for their children (Parent College).
For two years, Victor served on the governing board of the American Historical Association’s Committee on LGBT History. With support from Yale and UT-Austin, he is working on a book about how U.S. homophile activists influenced middle-class gay culture in Mexico City in the 1940s to 1960s. In the last five years, Victor has explored Midwestern queer history through his classes, and has collaborated with colleague Ariel Beaujot to design a gay history tour in La Crosse. He identified 30 gay bars that operated in La Crosse since 1967, learned about the community they fostered, and discovered how they became sites of resistance.
2021 Pride in Color Leadership Features
The Influencer: Ladi London is a brown-skinned, femme trans Milwaukee native who produces videos and other content to effect change and cultivate community.
The Artist: nibiiwakamigkwe is a two-spirit Indigenous artist, activist, and organizer interested in healing and visibility.
The Table Shaker: Yanté Turner is an openly trans and queer Black change agent working as an Inclusion and Equity Coordinator as well as a doula.
The First: Ankita Bharadwaj is a lawyer, advocate, and trail blazer who knows the journey upward is often isolating, but that it is worth it.
The Founder: Rick Banks is co-founder of MKE Black, Inc. which connects Black Milwaukeeans to Black culture, events, and Black-owned businesses.
The Scholar: James McMaster is a queer Asian-American educator, and activist who lives by example in the classroom and out in community.
The Professor: Víctor M. Macías-González is Professor of History and Race, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at UW-La Crosse.