Is it safe to come out now? “I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man,” the gorgeous Ricky Martin (shown above in 2007) announced today. “I am very blessed to be who I am.”
I knew that pop star Ricky Martin, who now is 38, was gay when Barbara Walters, interviewing him years ago when he was hot property, asked him if the circulating rumors that he is gay are true, and he refused to answer.
To Ricky’s credit (Ricky, may I call you Ricky?), he didn’t lie and state that he is heterosexual. (And, thank Goddess, he didn’t come out under skanky circumstances, like George Michael did, if memory serves…) But virtually no straight man answers the question of his sexual orientation with a refusal to answer the question.
Reportedly, Barbara Walters recently stated that she regrets having pressed Ricky on his sexual orientation those years ago: “In 2000, I pushed Ricky Martin very hard to admit if he was gay or not, and the way he refused to do it made everyone decide that he was. A lot of people say that destroyed his career, and when I think back on it now, I feel it was an inappropriate question,” she reportedly stated.
No, it wasn’t an inappropriate question. It was a legitimate question. One’s sexual orientation is central to his or her life, having a huge impact on his or her close relations (or lack thereof). Ricky had twin sons born to him by a surrogate mother, another fact (when I heard it) that made it clear to me that he’s gay, as straight men very rarely do that when they want to become fathers. You just can’t say that Ricky’s sexual orientation hasn’t had a huge bearing on the kind of family that he has built for himself; it is an integral part of him.
I don’t blame Walters for Ricky’s career having fizzled out, at least here in the United States. Lots of young men and women burst onto the American music scene, have a successful album or two, and then fizzle. It happens.
In Ricky’s case it may or may not have been due, in small or in large part, to his widely (and correctly) perceived homosexuality. Hell, his career might even have done better if he had just boldly come out of the closet instead of dodged the question; his evasiveness may have hurt him more than did his non-heterosexuality. Who knows?
In any event, it’s always better late than never to come out of the closet, and I am happy that Ricky has come out of the closet.
I always hope that a celebrity would come out sooner rather than later, not when he or she perceives that it is “safe” for his or career to do so — this sort of thinking only perpetuates homophobia, from what I can tell (and come on, it’s not like any of us gay men or straight women who might have fantasized about getting with Ricky actually were going to do so) — but every out and proud celebrity to whom closeted non-heterosexuals can look to for inspiration helps, even if he or she comes out later in his or her career.
Thank you, Ricky, for doing the right thing. (You go, girl!)
Maybe your next album will be a surprising success — because you have embraced who and what you are.