Tuesday, March 30, 2010

La Vida Loca is far less Loca as Ricky Martin comes out in peace: blessings to him

[image of Ricky Martin as a child performer in the boy band Menudo, and as an adult celebrity is from here]
A quartet of posts about Ricky Martin:


A woman I knew and still know had her own connection to Ricky Martin decades ago. She, her female friend, and Ricky Martin were all adolescents at the same time in their home country of Puerto Rico. Her female friend knew Ricky Martin (born Enrique Martin Morales), when they were all on the verge of adolescence. She told the woman I know now, back then, that she knew him to not be heterosexual given at least one special connection to another boy.

So for several years, since meeting her as an adult, I've known RM is not heterosexual (and I know this about other actors too, who are not out yet--I know, I'm being obnoxiously coy). But I wanted to hear him speak about this publicly, as it is his life, after all. I'm glad he's at a place with himself that he feels comfortable letting the public know what many have known for a while. I'm glad he's happy. "Homosexual" is the English word he uses. As long as he's happy, he doesn't have to be "gay". I was out as not at all heterosexual well before I chose to be gay-identified. People assume "gay" is a synonym for "homosexual male". It isn't. It's an identification with a community and an alliance with a liberation struggle against heterosexism, for me at least. Ricky can and will define himself as he wishes, in his own time.

I never wanted the sexist stigma of being "a heterosexual male" and was so glad to know I wasn't one "of them". But the pressure is intense of performers to be publicly heterosexual. And one day, that will not be so. Now, perhaps, that day will come a bit sooner. Thank you, Ricky, for sharing with us your truth, in your own way.

From Ricky Martin's website:

News: in Spanish and then in English

Version Español

En los últimos meses me di a la tarea de escribir mis memorias.

En los últimos meses me di a la tarea de escribir mis memorias. Un proyecto que sabia seria uno verdaderamente importante para mi porque desde que escribí la primera frase me di cuenta que seria la herramienta que ayudaría a liberarme de cosas que venia cargando desde hace mucho tiempo. Cosas que pesaban demasiado. Escribiendo este minucioso inventario de mi vida, me acerque a mis verdades. Y esto es de celebrar!

Si existe un lugar que me llena porque estremece mis emociones, es el escenario, es mi vicio. La música el espectáculo, el aplauso, estar frente a un publico me hace sentir que soy capaz de cualquier cosa. Es un tipo de adrenalina y euforia que no quiero que deje de correr por mis venas jamás. Si ustedes, el publico y la musa me lo permiten, espero seguir en los escenarios muchos años mas. Pero hoy  la serenidad me lleva a un lugar muy especial, uno de reflexión, comprensión y mucha iluminación. Me siento libre! Y lo quiero compartir.

Mucha gente me dijo que no era importante hacerlo, que no valía la pena, que todo lo que trabaje y todo lo que había logrado se colapsaría. Que muchos en este mundo no estarían preparados para aceptar mi verdad, mi naturaleza. Y como  estos consejos venían de personas que amo con locura, decidí seguir adelante con mi "casi verdad". MUY MAL. Dejarme seducir por el miedo fue un verdadero sabotaje a mi vida. Hoy me responsabilizo por completo de todas mis decisiones, y de todas mis acciones.

Y si me preguntaran el dia de hoy ¿Ricky, a que le tienes miedo?  Les contestaría - "a la sangre que corre por las calles de los países en Guerra, a la esclavitud sexual infantil, al terrorismo, al cinismo de algunos hombres en el poder, al secuestro de la fe". Pero miedo a mi naturaleza, a mi verdad? NO MAS! Al contrario, estas me dan valor y firmeza. Justo lo que necesito para mi y para los míos, y mas ahora que soy padre de 2 criaturas que son seres de luz. Tengo que estar a su altura. Seguir viviendo como lo hice hasta hoy, seria opacar indirectamente ese brillo puro con el cual mis hijos han nacido. BASTA YA! LAS COSAS TIENEN QUE CAMBIAR! Estoy claro que esto no se supone que pasara hace 5 ni hace 10 años atrás . Esto se supone que pasara hoy. Hoy es mi dia, este es mi tiempo, mi momento.

Que pasara de ahora en adelante? Quien sabe. Solo me puedo enfocar en lo que estoy viviendo ahora. Estos años en silencio y reflexión me han fortalecido y me recordaron que el amor vive dentro de mi, que la aceptación la encuentro en mi interior, y que la verdad solo trae la calma. Hoy para mi el significado de la felicidad toma otra dimensión

Ha sido un proceso muy intenso, angustiante y doloroso pero también liberador. Les juro que cada palabra que están leyendo aquí nace de amor, purificación, fortaleza, aceptación y desprendimiento. Que escribir estas líneas es el acercamiento a mi paz interna, parte vital de mi evolución. Hoy ACEPTO MI HOMOSEXUALIDAD como un regalo que me da la vida. ¡Me siento bendecido de ser quien soy!-



A few months ago I decided to write my memoirs, a project I knew was going to bring me closer to an amazing turning point in my life. From the moment I wrote the first phrase I was sure the book was the tool that was going to help me free myself from things I was carrying within me for a long time. Things that  were too heavy for me to keep inside. Writing this account of my life, I got very close to my truth. And thisis something worth celebrating.

For many years, there has been only one place where I am in touch with my emotions fearlessly and that's the stage. Being on stage fills my soul in many ways, almost completely. It's my vice.  The music, the lights and the roar of the audience are elements that make me feel capable of anything. This rush of adrenaline is incredibly addictive.  I don't ever want to stop feeling these emotions. But it is serenity that brings me to where I'm at right now. An amazing emotional place of comprehension, reflection and enlightenment. At this moment I'm feeling the same freedom I usually feel only on stage, without a doubt, I need to share.

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.  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.

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. This is just what I need especially now that I am the 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 be to indirectly diminish the glow that my kids where born with. Enough is enough. This has to change. 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.

These years in silence and reflection made me stronger and reminded me that acceptance has to come from within and that this kind of truth gives me the power to conquer emotions I didn't even know existed.

What will happen from now on? It doesn't matter. I can only focus on what's happening to me in this moment. The word "happiness" takes on a new meaning for me as of today. It has been a very intense process. Every word that I write in this letter is born out of love, acceptance, detachment and real contentment. Writing this is a solid step towards my inner peace and vital part of my evolution.

I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am. 

*          *          *

Julian's note: The last lines can also be translated from Spanish into English to mean: "Today I accept my homosexuality as a gift that gives me life. I feel blessed to be the person I am."

With Ricky speaking both languages fluently, I assume he made the word choices with care. However it is phrased, the meaning is virtually identical: he is happy to be himself, a man who accepts himself as he is.

I am happy for him. The more of us who are out, the better, assuming we can be out in safety. And that's not always the case, for many people, unless they are heterosexual. To all of us who are not heterosexual: Espero que celebremos en paz con alegría.


Anonymous said...

Neat, though nothing to be satisfied with. Ricky Martin seems decent as far as wealthy celebrities go, but merely mainstreaming homosexuality for the privileged isn't the queer movement I'm interested in. I want revolution, not incorporation into the existing oppressive power structure.

Julian Real said...

Agreed, queersingularity.

And thanks for stating it.

I think I was motivated to post this news because there have be SO FEW Latina and Latino OUT celebrities. Can you name two other than Ricky Martin?

Whites--Jewish and Gentile, and African Americans--okay, not Jewish African Americans, but many African Americans: we've been out for a while in the public imagination. Rosie, Ellen, and Wanda all have had television shows even AFTER they came out. (And Wanda's one show isn't enough, of course!)

But Latin@a, Asian Americans, Arab Americans, and Indigenous North Americans... not so much. Yes, there's the writers, who are known to those who read womanist and feminist work, but that's not exactly placing someone in the dominant public imagination.

It was incredibly important to me that Elton John and Martina Navratilova came out. (It was incredibly important to me to read Audre Lorde's and James Baldwin's superb work.) I think it is underestimated how important it is for us to see ourselves "out there" in a statused way. This is, I think, a component to developing basic self-esteem, and to not killing ourselves when adolescents because we think we're all alone in the world.

So, Ricky Martin, a successful Latino performer/recording artist/celebrity/person, coming out IS a big deal to me. A Puerto Rican American gay icon. Finally. When will there be a lesbian icon who is Latina, I wonder. When will careers not tank if one comes out?

If I'm missing someone who IS out, by all means, folks, post their names and websites here. I know Gloria Anzaldua and Cherrie Moraga have been out, along with many other women of color, like Chrystos.

But, as for the political agenda... of something beyond assimilation and the cult of wealthy celebrities, YES. And please keep posting here about that!!! Or write something and I'll publish it as a separate post! PLEASE.

It is worth noting that it is said that when Barbara Walters pushed Ricky on this issue, a few years ago, it is said his career suffered: and he didn't come out then, he just was pro-queer. Sad that this is still the case.

Someone I know got into a discussion with me about how important it would have been for Angela Davis to come out decades earlier. And we know that the risks are high, and the possibilities for people of color coming out are very different than for whites with white social status and privileges, and connections.

Julian Real said...

See also, this post, which I found at Racialicious. It is by the Xicano poet Lorenzo Herrera y Lozano, originally published at Hairspray & Fideo and Blabbeando:

Why Ricky Matters (to me.. and maybe a few other boys)