Name: Jesus Godinez.

Age: 32.

Hometown: Tucson, Arizona.

Current Residence: Phoenix, Arizona.

Relationship Status: Single.

Favorite Athlete: Adam Rippon.

Favorite Team: Arizona Cardinals and University of Arizona Wildcats.

Interests/Hobbies: Fitness, sports and bouldering.

Why Do You Love Sports: Sports allow you to be a part of a community and a family.

How Did You First Get Involved in Sports: A buddy of mine asked me to join the local flag football league. I had no prior experience playing football but I took a chance and joined. From there it just snowballed into where I’m at now with the league.

What’s Your Day Job: My background is in nursing and social work but I’ve been given the opportunity to be a systems improvement specialist – I get to work for a company that allows me to put my knowledge and experience to use by creating new work systems that benefits not only the company but also the patients we serve in the community.

Greatest Personal Achievement: I would have to say the growth I’ve had this past year after a hard breakup. I’m really proud that I was able to see where I needed to make changes and then make those changes to be a better person not only for myself but also for those around me.

Greatest Athletic Achievements: Hands down – making the Blast traveling team for the Phoenix Gay Flag Football League. Those guys went from teammates to brothers and I appreciate and respect every single one of them.

What’s your personal story? This is a tough one for me. I joined flag football because I felt like I didn’t have an identity or offer anything in my relationship with my ex-partner. I wanted to have something for me and once I joined I loved it; that is until I made a horrible decision that ended up ending my relationship. It’s weird now to look back and think that I had joined to have an identity in my relationship yet here I sit, no longer in that relationship. At first it was really hard for me to stay focused on the game and not feel a sense of guilt for continuing to play. For awhile I blamed football for my relationship ending but after some soul searching I learned it was the actions I decided to take that ended my relationship. My ex-partner Daniel was also a big influence on my continuing to play. He encouraged me not to quit on something that I enjoyed and had committed to. It’s pretty amazing a year after our breakup and we’re still best friends and in each other’s lives. I think in the gay community it’s very important that we just don’t cut someone out of your life because that form of the relationship didn’t work. It wouldn’t make sense for us to distance ourselves from someone who loves and supports you; we just have to adjust and redefine the relationship. It’s not easy but if you care for each other it’s worth the work.

If given the chance, what would you tell/teach your younger self and/or is there anything you hope to teach the younger generation that may be looking up to you? I would tell my 20s self that even though you think you know everything, you’re wrong, that you have a lot to learn about not only yourself but also about your community and its people. I think it’s the younger generation that is teaching us by how open they are with whom they are and what they believe in. My only hope is that they know it wasn’t always this easy and to understand what a big platform they have right now to do amazing things. I’m very excited for the younger generation.

What are your future goals? I have some big goals. I would love my own gym that’s focused on athletic workouts and training. I want to be able to give back to the LGBTQ community and I want to help our homeless community. But I’m more excited about the adventure I’m going to have along the way reaching those goals.

What are your thoughts about the LGBTQ community’s inclusion in sports diversity? I think it’s amazing that there’s an outlet for gay athletes in our local communities and that being an openly gay athlete is becoming more and more accepted. At the end of the day the love and passion we have for sports is the same regardless of outward sexual orientation, gender, beliefs or race. We’re all just here to have a good time while playing the game(s) we love.