A Welcome and a Definition

Culture Vulture: "A person with a strong, sometimes obsessive, interest in the arts." Culture Vultures spend a lot of time observing the world. This is where those observations come out.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

La Vida Loca

I want to apologize in advance for getting on the soapbox this week, as I never wanted this to be a political blog. However, the news of Ricky Martin finally coming out this week caused the issue of gay visibility and celebrity to come to the forefront and I just had to throw in my two cents.

For those who missed it, Ricky Martin finally ended over a decade of speculation about his personal life by saying in an interview he was "a very lucky homosexual man." I applaud him for finally coming out, even though the response was something along the lines of "No duh!"

Some of the comments I saw on blogs and newsites were also along the lines of "Why should we care?" or "His personal life is his business." While I understand that line of thinking, I disagree with the sentiment.

To be frank, there's a lot of shame in the gay community. A lot of gay people are afraid to come out, and a lot of people feel gay people should not be allowed to the same rights as straight couples. The only remedy for these issues is education and visibility. If people can see actors, musicians or politicians who are out and happy, it shows that we are normal people and not ashamed of who we are. If a celebrity chooses to remain in the closet in public, it only emphasizes the shame.

I think the most troubling thing is what is known as the "glass closet." Basically, everyone assumes the celeb is gay because he/she hides his social life so fervently. Many times, there may even be confirmation of the gayness out there but the celeb won't admit to it. Everyone knows when a male celebrity says: "I don't talk about my love life" he's not hiding a wife and three kids somewhere.

I understand that coming out can be viewed as a political statement. I also understand that not every celebrity wants to be an activist. I also don't expect Ricky to appear at the Grammys with his boyfriend and start making out on the red carpet. If every gay celeb would simply say: "Yes, I am gay but no I don't talk about my personal life." I think that would make a big difference.

So kudos to Ricky Martin! I've always been a fan, but I have to say I like him even more now.


  1. Seriously... no duh! But you have a great point. Celebrities, politicians, etc coming out can certainly help.

  2. While I hear your POV, and even agree with your reasoning, I don't much care one way or the other whether Ricky Martin is gay or straight or bisexual or whatever. Nor do I much care whether Ellen Degeneres is gay. I always liked Mr Martin's previous answer to such speculation: "I don't know that it makes a whole lot of difference whether a fag in South Beach or a housewife in Newark is fantasizing about me; chances are, that has nothing to do with me, so what difference does it make? I am just happy that I'm popular." He's right, you know, and now a whole bunch of fans' sexual fantasies are forever destroyed. *smirk*