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Ricardo Salas

Ricardo Salas aka “Ricky”

“The day you stop living is the day you stop learning.”

I’m a 27-year-old native Houstonian and I identify as a Gay male. I’ve been a Houston police officer for five years. I started as a patrol officer, became a field training instructor, and for the last year, I’ve been working behind the scenes to assist patrol officers and investigators in their investigations by providing real-time crime and analysis information.

I was raised in the Greenspoint-Aldine area of north Houston. I attended Lone Star College and I’m currently working on obtaining my bachelor’s degree.

Education has played a huge role in my life and I strongly believe the day I stop learning is the day I stop living. I continue to want to learn new things and do better for myself.

My hobbies vary throughout the year, but they include bike riding, going to shooting ranges and exercising. I also spend my spare time with friends, watching movies or traveling. As for volunteering my free time, I’ve coached my nephews during t-ball season. I stepped up for that role after the head coach bailed out before the t-ball season started.

A variety of life experiences led me to embrace who I am today. I grew up in a high-crime neighborhood, my parents are still together after more than 40 years and my parents are immigrants. And I just developed the drive to want better for myself.

I’m currently single, but I am dating.

After learning about the Project PrIDE campaign, I became interested because I feel it is very important to take care of one’s health, and I can do something to help myself and others. I’m HIV negative, and I feel that I need to be on PrEP to protect myself. And as a police officer, it’s important to protect yourself so that you’re able to help and protect others. I’m in the process of getting on PrEP. I believe it’s beneficial because it provides protection against a virus that many once new as a death sentence. I believe it’s important to get HIV-tested because it’s important to know your status in order to live a healthy, long life.

The issues I care about most are health issues and safety. A huge part of living long is ensuring that you are healthy and protected. If you’re unhealthy, I can’t see how one can be happy.

I’ve never come out to my mom or dad. However, all my siblings and friends pretty much know. I have a total of four brothers and two of them are also gay. A huge part of why I haven’t told my parents is because I used to feel like it was a huge disappointment. After the first of my two gay brothers came out, I had a feeling of not wanting to add to the disappointment. Then, my other brother came out and I felt like, “OK, now I really can’t tell my parents.” As time has passed, things have changed significantly in the LGBT community. I feel like it’s more acceptable and now I just don’t know how to tell my parents after such a long time hiding it.

My life goals are to promote ranks within my career, be married, have kids and a home. My goal is to live a long, healthy and happy life.

“Live Healthy, Live Longer” means in order to be happy, you must be healthy, physically, emotionally and mentally. When I hear “I am here. I exist. I matter,” I think about how everyone has a different story from different walks of life, and “I am here. I exist. I matter,” means you must believe in yourself before you want others to believe in you.