Pride in the Media is an ongoing series on local LGBTQ media personalities and ally representatives of queer-affirming local media outlets.
No subject is too timely for The Frank Gonzalez Show, which Mundo Latino Televisión hails as the most popular Spanish-language TV variety show in Houston.
“And it’s hosted by a gay man!” crows Gonzalez, who programs the format of “entretenimiento, noticias, cultura, farándula, deportes y los más relevante” with a personal flair.
For example, the show’s most-watched episode since debuting last October spotlighted transgender issues. It included the executive director of Organización Latina de Trans en Texas (OLTT) speaking about the rights and plights of transgender Latina women in Houston.
“We got very positive feedback,” said Gonzalez, a longtime fixture at some of the gayest and greatest events throughout Texas.
However, Gonzalez sparked viewer backlash when he interviewed a gay minister on the program, which is broadcast on Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. on Channel 21.4.
“It was so controversial,” says the dapper host. “There was a lot of really bad feedback, with people telling me I was going to burn in hell. Somebody asked, ‘How could you?’ I guess they saw me wearing a suit, so it didn’t occur to them that I am gay.”
Fortunately, Gonzalez’s boss, Ernesto Maldonado, is supportive.
“I’m a crazy Democrat and he is a very determined Republican, but he is like a father to me—a protector,” says Gonzalez, who was recruited to create and host the show based on his public profile as a pageantry aficionado.
Last year, he directed the stage production of an international beauty event that originated in Houston, and he coached a 15-year-old first-time contestant who won the crown of Miss Teen Houston Latina.
On July 6, Gonzalez will host Belleza Mundo Latino 2019, a televised pageant for men, women, and children, with $1,000 prizes in each category of competition.
“It’s really cool. There hasn’t been a local pageant televised here in a very long time,” he says.
The Frank Gonzalez Show sometimes tackles hard-news issues, from politics to crime. Democrat Christina Morales campaigned on the show before winning a special election in March to replace state senator Carol Alvarado in House District 45, which represents Houston’s East End. The sister of Josue Flores appealed to viewers for information in the unsolved murder of the 11-year-old boy who was stabbed to death by an unknown assailant on May 17, 2016.
Many LGBTQ viewers will recognize Gonzalez from his years as a community health worker, testing people for sexually transmitted diseases in nightclubs, bath houses, homeless shelters, food pantries, drug recovery centers, and halfway houses.
“I was always working in clubs until three or four in the morning,” says Gonzalez, whose employers have included AIDS Foundation Houston, St. Hope Foundation, Avenue 360 Hope and Wellness, and others.
Last summer, he began a day job in the AIDS Foundation’s prevention and programs department. Then in May, he became a pharmaceutical rep for the AIDS Health Care Foundation.
He devotes Tuesday and Thursday evenings to The Frank Gonzalez Show.
“I also spend two hours a night on social media, answering every single message I get,” says Gonzalez. His Instagram account is @frankgzzofficial.
Tickets to live tapings of the show can be obtained from the TV station.
This article appears in the June 2019 edition of OutSmart magazine.