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Ricky Martin: Latin Machismo and Homosexuality

Updated on August 7, 2017
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I have a B.A. in English with a minor in Gender and Sexuality Studies. I've been a Goth since age fourteen, and a Pagan since age fifteen.

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American and Latin cultures idolize masculinity, equally. Ricky Martin was battling both. Like in American culture, Latin culture's term "machismo" extends typical masculine fixation into a necessity of heterosexuality; therefore, homosexuals are associated with femininity.

As an entertainer, Ricky had to appear as a seducer of women. The media had him constantly surrounded by them. While Ricky identifies as a homosexual man, he admits that he fell in love with the women he dated while trying to be heterosexual. He was genuinely both physically and emotionally invested in those relationships; however, this does not make him bisexual; unless he were to label himself as such. His truthful nature is yet another one of his admirable qualities:

"I am not bisexual. I am a gay man."

Ricky Martin, Oprah

The love that people have for Ricky has allowed society to view homosexuality in a positive light. His being Latino helps alleviate discrimination within the community, so that others can feel safe coming out. Unlike a lot of coming out stories, both of Ricky's parents support him. Since Ricky grew up in a conservative environment, this is surprising and liberating. It instills change in the Latin community's outlook on homosexuality:

...'Are you in love, my son?’….'Are you in love with a man?’….'I love you.’”

Ricky Martin, Oprah

Ricky accepted his sexuality before becoming a parent; therefore, as a parent, he wanted to set an example of honesty and openness. He had been marketing himself as heterosexual for his career, but now his focus is being a role model for his children. It is understandable why he kept his true sexual orientation private. It is his business and choice to come out. His determination to do so for the sake of his family is inspiring and loving:

"My kids gave me all the strength to come out...because if I didn't come out for them what was I going to be teaching them? How to lie?"

-Ricky Martin, Oprah

Ricky touches on the complexities of coming out before you're ready simply because everyone assumes that you are.

When people continued to speculate about Ricky's sexual orientation, it made it harder for him to come out. Rather than allowing him to do so in his own time, the media mocked his unconfirmed sexuality. This made Ricky doubt himself more. He relates his own experience to the tragic results of suicide by those forced to voice their sexual orientation too early, and explains that it takes one's own journey of acceptance before one can share it:

You have to go through a very spiritual process in order to accept yourself and then it feels amazing when you do!”

Ricky Martin, Oprah

Ricky Martin on Oprah

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  • social thoughts profile image
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    social thoughts 2 years ago from New Jersey

    Same here. It's always nice to meet other fans of his, too!

  • Sunshine625 profile image

    Linda Bilyeu 2 years ago from Orlando, FL

    I was a fan of Ricky Martin before he came out and I continue to be a fan. What he does in his personal life is his business and no one else's. I wish him nothing but a happy life with his sons.