Pop star Ricky Martin came out yesterday, confirming his sexual orientation for the first time. And the most prevalent reaction across the board has been a sarcastic gasp of, “Ricky Martin’s gay? I’m so shocked!” Sure, nobody was really surprised by this revelation. I had a twinge of, “Wait, this is news?” myself. But what I really feel at the core is a deep sense of sadness that people have to first hide who they are, and then, later, announce it in order to quell years and years of speculation. I hate that we live in a world where you can’t just be. There is so much judgment, so much pressure, and this intrinsic need to slap a label on everything.
But on the other hand, there is also a great sense of hope when a public figure comes out, and I don’t want to diminish that at all. Seeing Ellen DeGeneres, Rosie O’Donnell, Neil Patrick Harris, Sean Hayes, and now Ricky Martin take this step basically says to the rest of us, “This is okay. I’m proud of who I am and you should be, too.” People struggling with their identity, with coming out to their families and colleagues and neighbors can draw strength from other people taking those steps. That’s a bit of beauty that springs from the tragedy of closeting.
Ricky Martin’s was actually the first concert I ever went to, sometime in 1999. (Yes, I was 21 when I went to my first concert. I led a sheltered life, okay?) And I, of course, knew of him from Menudo and his turn on General Hospital as Miguel. He’s one of those artists whose music really inspired me. I had Vuelve, I had his eponymous English debut album, I had Sound Loaded. I knew his lyrics by heart. But never once did I actually trouble myself about his sexual orientation. I remember that I thought he was gorgeous and talented and spiritual, but that I didn’t particularly care if he was gay or straight.
And that’s still the case. The man is gorgeous and talented and spiritual and does a lot of humanitarian work. And I don’t particularly care if he’s gay or straight. But I’m happy that he’s at peace with himself, and hopeful that his coming out will be yet another example that helps bolster LGBT youth — and even people coming to terms with themselves late in life.
But I really wish for the day when there are no closets to come out of, and who you love isn’t cause for fear and censure.
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Mala, I agree. I feel the same way about George Michael as I do about Ricky Martin, NPH, and Sean Hayes. They are phenomenally talente people, who cares who they sleep with. Of course, there are going to be people who are weirded out, and won’t buy his records, but Ricky’s coming out, will hopefully give hope to the GLBT community in Latin America, and to Hispanic teens, now they have a role model that they didn’t have before.
Yeah, I really think that while coming out *shouldn’t* be necessary, it’s going to do a LOT of good for the Latin community.
Mala, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Well said, and I agree 100%! I find it extremely frustrating that so many people find it so hard to understand what I know to be so simple. Everyone has the right to love, and be loved, regardless of their sexual orientation. I look forward to the day when who you love is a non-issue. And, I appreciate and applaud those like Ricky who have chosen to live their lives openly. I hope that with every day that passes, more and more will do the same!
Thanks for reading, Vicky!
Fear is one of the most paralyzing, divisive things in the world, and I hate that so many people are forced to live with it. If only we could all live with love and integrity and trust in each other instead. The idealist in me hopes that one day we’ll reach that goal. The cynic…knows we probably won’t.
M – Check out this blog about Mr. Martin coming out.
I agree with a lot of the things that she states, because when I first heard the news, the very first thought that popped into my mind was “I wonder how the folks/posters from AE are going to react to the news?” because when Sean Hayes came out, some of them raked him over the coals.
There was the issue with the actor from White Collar that came up a couple of months ago, that really made me take a step back from interacting on the site, because it went way beyond my comfort level in what I think a fan should or shouldn’t expect from someone in the public eye. Their whole life really shouldn’t be open for us as fans and viewers. There has to be some level of privacy and respect that should be given towards people in the public eye.
Interesting blog, D. Thanks for the link. I agree with some of what she says, too, but definitely not all. For instance, I didn’t agree with her “translation” of people saying “Big deal — I’ve known for ages” or “Ricky Martin is gay and water is wet.” I don’t think it’s just homophobes and self-loathing homosexuals who react that way. Often times, it’s said with a weariness or a fondness or a genuine sense of, “Why does this have to be a big deal? Can’t we just let people be?”
But I do think that it’s NOT easy to live your life in the public eye, because when it comes to keeping your sexual orientation private, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. I hate that people think Sean Hayes or Ricky didn’t come out “soon enough.” There is no such thing as “soon enough,” there is only the right time for that individual.