'I am very blessed to be who I am,' singer says
by Shaun Knittel -
SGN Staff Writer
When pop music star Ricky Martin came out as Gay in a March 29 web posting, the general consensus across the globe was, 'Well, duh.' Seconds after his online admission, the internet was abuzz with chatter about Ricky. Yes, maybe we all did know. But let's peel the layers off the onion for a second and take a good look. Ricky came out on his own terms, when he wanted to, and - most importantly - without scandal.
Historically, year after year, the LGBT community has seen our closeted politicians, entertainers, and religious leaders forced out of the closet wearing nothing but a dumb-ass look on their face as the paparazzi snap! snap! snap! photos of the fallen Queer being whisked away by the police for tap-dancing in a bathroom stall, flashing their penis in a park toilet, or stumbling out of a Gay bar and drunk driving down the street with a trick. Each and every time, we out and proud Queers are left shaking our head and asking, 'Why?'
Well, Seattle, this wasn't the case with our boy Ricky. The international singer-songwriter, who has sold more than 60 million albums worldwide, came out of closet quite eloquently, citing his twin boys as a reason to let the world know that yes, once and for all, he is a proud Gay man.
'I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man,' Ricky posted on his website, rickymartinmusic.com. 'I am very blessed to be who I am,' he concluded.
In the lead-up to his declaration, the Puerto Rican singer - known as much for his good looks as his record sales - explained, 'Many people told me, 'Ricky it's not important,' 'It's not worth it,' 'All the years you've worked and everything you've built will collapse,' 'Many people in the world are not ready to accept your truth, your reality, your nature.' Because all this advice came from people who I love dearly, I decided to move on with my life not sharing with the world my entire truth.'
Ricky went on to say that allowing himself to be 'seduced by fear and insecurity' became a self-fulfilling prophecy of sabotage. 'Today, I take full responsibility for my decisions and my actions,' he said.
'If someone asked me today, 'Ricky, what are you afraid of?' I would answer, 'The blood that runs through the streets of countries at war & child slavery, terrorism & the cynicism of some people in positions of power, the misinterpretation of faith.' But fear of my truth? Not at all! On the contrary, it fills me with strength and courage,' Ricky explained. 'This is just what I need, especially now that I am a father of two beautiful boys that are so full of light and who, with their outlook, teach me new things every day. To keep living as I did up until today would indirectly diminish the glow that my kids were born with.'
'Enough is enough,' he continued, 'this has to change. This was not supposed to happen five or 10 years ago, it is supposed to happen now. Today is my day, this is my time, and this is my moment.'
'He's now a face for the mothers, aunts and grandmothers of Gay and Transgender Latinos'
Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation President Jarret Barrios said Ricky's decision to come out is a positive one. 'When someone like Ricky Martin comes out, hundreds of millions of people now have a cultural connection with an artist, a celebrity, and perhaps most importantly, a father who happens to be Gay,' Barrios said.
Barrios, an openly Gay Latino and father of two teenage sons, told SGN, 'Ricky coming out as Gay is a game-changer for many Gay and Transgender Latino children - and adults - who, for too long, have not had many out Gay people to look up to. For all the boys and girls struggling to find the language to tell their coming-out story for the first time, it just became that much easier.'
'He's now a face for the mothers, aunts and grandmothers of Gay and Transgender Latinos,' continued Barrios. 'Many of these adults were once teenage girls screaming at Menudo concerts, and have grown up with Ricky. As more and more people get to know Gay and Transgender friends, neighbors, family members, and celebrities, they come to know that our community wants the same things all people do: to be accepted, valued for our contributions, and to take care of our loved ones.'
Barrios told SGN that amidst all of the social change taking place in Mexico and Latin America, Ricky's coming out story serves as a positive rebuttal to old-world thinking and homophobia.
'Two weeks ago, iconic Mexican singer Paquita la del Barrio, who has sold millions of albums worldwide and whose songs are staples in jukeboxes in Mexico, announced that show would 'rather a child starve to death than be raised by a Gay couple' when she was asked her opinion on same-sex couples marrying in Mexico City,' said Barrios to SGN. 'Two weeks ago, there was no word, image or story to contradict Senora la del Barrio in Spanish-language media - just abstract stereotypes about being 'Gay.' Her job isn't so easy anymore.'
Barrio continued, 'Today, our friend Ricky Martin, who we Latinos have known since he was 12 and first joined Menudo, is a face - a father of two sons who happens to be Gay. Today he becomes a face to all Latino people who do not know or understand Gay and Lesbian people.'
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