Saturday, May 1, 2010

Ricky Martin Opens Up

>“I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am.” These were the words on Ricky Martin’s website, written by the Latin singer/songwriter, in his own way of coming out of the closet to the world as a gay male. While the media and general public have been speculating about Ricky Martin’s sexuality long before he crossed over to the English market, the success of his English debut album Ricky Martin in 1999 spawned even more rumors throughout the world.

The fact is, Ricky Martin simply wasn’t ready to reveal his sexuality to the world then. “This was not supposed to happen 5 or 10 years ago, it is supposed to happen now. Today is my day, this is my time, and this is my moment,” he said in his statement. Because of the hate and ignorance, even for celebrities, coming out can be an ordeal that requires much time and soul searching.

Ricky Martin openly saying he is gay is important because it gives another face to the gay community, one that shows to the general public that gay men and women are not just queer, but actual talented human beings who contribute to the world. Young people who may have felt different because of their sexuality may now be able to identify with someone they have looked up to for years. And those who fear homosexuality will see that is it not so rare, nor is it something to fear.

Many celebrities have come out, so how is Ricky Martin coming out any different from other celebrities coming out? Well, it is not as groundbreaking as when Ellen DeGeneres did so in 1997, but it helps that Ricky Martin is a well-known figure, popular for his successful music career, but also famous for his charitable contributions. Some, like Adam Lambert, choose to come out from the beginning of their careers, but Ricky Martin coming out now, as opposed to during his early years, shows that there is still progress to be make in terms of equal rights and that it isn’t as easy to come out as popular culture would have you believe.

Should more gay celebrities come out? Of course, but only when it’s on their terms, and is not done simply for publicity. As we all remember, those such as Lance Bass and Clay Aiken did come out. Though, mysteriously, they did so years after they were relevant. Ricky Martin is a different story, he may not be selling as well as during his “Livin’ La Vida Loca” days, but his albums are still a success, especially in the Latin music market, and his tours are worldwide sellouts. Coming out to the public is about freeing one’s self and being honest, not about attention.

“Allowing myself 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.” When Ricky Martin says this on his website, it provokes the question: why would someone, in these days, still be afraid of being honest about their sexuality? The answer is simple, the culture is not only largely homophobic, but heterosexist. Rarely has coming out ruined a career, but there is a social stigma that is deeply rooted in our culture that demonizes homosexuality and sexuality in general.

There are more important things in life to fear, as Ricky Martin said on his website. “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," he wrote. This, for everyone, should put the message out there that hate and fear of those how are different is wasted energy and has only contributes negative results to our world. The real issues in life have nothing to do with someone’s sexuality, but with the events occurring around us that are destroying the world around us.

I for one give much support to Ricky Martin for coming out as a gay man, and hope he continues his journey as an entertainer and philanthropist to bring change and positive energy to our world. Suerte Ricky Martin!

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