If you’ve been at all interested or influenced by the Latino media in your life, you have to know about Ricky Martin. Â Not only was one of the original Latino heartthrobs of my generation, but he was really famous after the World Cup song. Â Well, turns out Ricky Martin was gay the whole time, he’s known since he was at least four years old but hid it from his family and friends in order to continue with his career.
I think it’s important to take an aside when discussing Ricky Martin’s emergence from the closet to look at how many Latinos relate to homosexuality. Â The sad thing is, if we were all honest with ourselves, we all have a relative who we suspect to be gay, but the fact remains that inherent in a lot of Latinos’ culture is strong homophobia.
Think about it. Â The words “joto” and “maricÃ³n” are used very flippantly to describe all sorts of “bad” or “inferior” behaviors. Â Imagine that the next time you were using those words, you were saying them in front of your tÃo or tÃa or primo who is gay and who has been afraid to tell anyone for years â€” precisely because of what people like you DO say.
Ricky shares some similar sentiments. Â He’s written a book called, “Me” and has been doing promotional press for it. Â Here areÂ a few excerpts from the book.
He told Access Hollywood:
“‘Today, Iâ€™m not afraid of fear. Â I am in touch with my emotions â€” more than ever. Today, my priority [is] my children…It was really intense for me to start having conversations with God, when according to the man-made laws in my religion â€“ to be homosexual is evil. You know, itâ€™s not right, so you struggle…There [were] many times when I went to bed hating myself â€“ when I went to sleep at night, saying like, â€˜You are not â€“ you are not a good person.’”
Ricky was lucky because his parents were much more accepting than many Latino parents, he recalls:
“‘My mother asked me once,â€˜Baby, are you in love?â€™ And I was like â€˜Yeah mom, I am in loveâ€¦ in fact I am heart-broken. I am in love.â€™ And she asked me â€˜Is it a man?â€™ And I said, â€˜Woah, this is gonna be easier than what I thought.â€™ And I said â€˜Yes mom, itâ€™s a man. Â Â I was extremely surprised and then she said â€˜Come on, give me a hug. You are my son and I love you and I will always be here for you. Â So it was very beautiful and then my father â€” heâ€™s a psychologistâ€¦ And he kind of told meâ€¦ â€˜You donâ€™t have to say a word. I love you and I just want you to be happy.â€™â€
Here’s a vide of him talking to Oprah, there are more videos of the interview at the link.
[Image via lander2006 and videos via NYFreeThinker]