NM GOP Shames Out Candidate for Gay Adult Past, Dems Defend Him

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Thursday October 15, 2020

New Mexico's Democratic Party, and many voters, are looking beyond recent revelations that an out candidate for the state House of Representatives had roles in gay adult films in the 1980s.

As previously reported at EDGE, Democratic candidate Roger Montoya acknowledged having worked in the adult film industry in an Oct. 5 Facebook post after a conservative site posted claims that he had appeared in porn movies in his youth.

But Montoya opted to move forward with his campaign, and the state's Democrats are moving forward with him.

The Democratic Party of New Mexico released a statement in which they called out the chairman of the state's GOP, Steve Pearce, for suggesting that Montoya's film roles from four decades ago disqualified him from seeking state office.

The DPNM called it "unacceptable and hypocritical" for Pearce to "attempt to shame a gay man for a choice made in the distant past while ignoring Donald Trump's long record of illicit conduct."

State and federal lawmakers joined in supporting Montoya in his bid for the office.

"Roger has built a life of service and has worked tirelessly for decades to make the Española Valley and all of Northern New Mexico a better place for all," said the state's House Speaker, Brian Egolf. "I believe voters will make their decision on whom to support based on what they can offer their community. Roger Montoya is the clear and obvious choice."

U.S. Senator from New Mexico Martin Heinrich weighed in as well, saying, "Roger Montoya has dedicated his life to his community and to creating a better future for the next generation, which is why I encouraged him to run for office."

Added Sen. Heinrich: "If I were a 19-year-old kid struggling with addiction or exploitation, Roger is exactly who I would want as a mentor. He has done more to support young people than anyone I know."

Those sentiments were echoed by voters who took to social media to express their unwavering support.

"Consistently, the message that he shares is that we are our own best hope for our own future," said Dr. Patricia Trujillo in a video that appeared at Montoya's Facebook page.

In taking responsibility for his past actions, Montoya expressed no surprise at the tactics his opponents employed. "When I was asked to run for the State House, I knew Republicans and their allies would bring up whatever they could find to discredit me," he wrote on Facebook.

Montoya said that he was 22 when he appeared in two adult films, living in Los Angeles, as "a struggling college student" who was also "a modern dancer and performer" who was determined to pay his own way.

"I am not proud of that choice, as I was young and naïve, but those experiences helped me to understand the exploitation young people face," Montoya added.

Multiple media outlets noted that Montoya was named a "CNN Hero" in 2019 by the cable news channel for having established a community arts center in the New Mexico town of Española.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.