In a development that shocked absolutely no-one, Ricky Martin has finally announced that he is, in fact, a gay man. On his official website, he posted this statement: “I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. … I am very blessed to be who I am.”
Seriously, this is the most unsurprising “coming out of the closet” since Clay Aiken. But just like the Clay Aiken announcement, I still think it’s good that the public acknowledgment has finally occurred.
On the one hand, I respect a person’s right to privacy. Their personal life is, in theory, no-one’s business except their own. (And if they believe in such things, I suppose it’s their god’s/goddess’s/gods’/gods’-and-goddesses’/whatever’s business also.) So why do I get fussy about celebrities waiting so long to come out of the closet?
Frankly, I think that public figures have a responsibility, as role models, to show that lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender people can be successful, beautiful, charming people just like everyone else. I think that when a celebrity refuses to “come out of the closet,” despite most people assuming that there’s no question of his/her sexuality, it sends a subtle message that being gay is something that you should lie about or hide.
Indeed, Ricky Martin himself shared that people he loved had warned him, “everything you’ve built will collapse” if he publicly came out. On his website, he added this: “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.”
As with Clay Aiken’s public announcement, this was apparently (at least in part) prompted by the desire to be a positive role model to the singer’s children. “To keep living as I did up until today would be to indirectly diminish the glow that my kids where born with,” he wrote.
Whatever finally prompted Ricky Martin to come out, I still say good for him, and good for the rest of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.
UPDATE: At the time of this writing, his official website has removed the news entry… Fortunately, Huffington Post captured the singer’s post in its entirety. Click here to read his full statement, while they work out the issues with his official website. It’s very long-winded and more than a little indulgent, but it’s still a big step for the man and a nice sentiment.