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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

 

The Murky Ethics Of Ricky Martin's Big Gay Announcement

She Bangs

I wrote an early draft of this post this morning as a comment on Electroqueer's Facebook status (a very busy place this morning, it seems) and thought I'd like to get your opinion. Here goes:

Does anyone remember Ricky Martin's Behind The Music on VH1 back in the day, where he talked at length about his blond female friend who was "the love of my life"? (Here's the TV Guide archive link to it, where even today it identifies her as his "girlfriend of 10 years." There's a clip of it here, but it's from Asia and blocked for U.S. users.) Yes, he did also say "she'd never be with" him, but they kissed, flirted, etc. At the end of the day, Martin allowed the idea that he was straight to be unmistakably clear to TV Guide, and to any kid watching. Including vulnerable gay kids around the world in need of a role model.

Look, I think everyone should come out, and am glad he did. But by playing heterosexual for all those years (which is an undeniable truth -- livin' la vida loca was always about the ladies, and let's not even discuss "She Bangs"), he made a cold and calculated decision to protect his career at the expense of helping fellow LGBT people. He didn't just avoid the question, or refuse to comment. He lied. I don't dislike Ricky, but that's just the stone cold truth. It was cowardly then, and it's mercenary now.

Idolator's critique of Martin's timing --the coincidence of Ricky's soon-to-be-published memoir following hot on the heels of this revelation -- is cynical, but it has to be considered. Truthfully, I'd have a lot more respect for Ricky if he just stood up and said, "My career is fading, I've got a book coming out and a family to support, and I wanted to tell everyone now that it won't cost me what it once would have." That I can understand, and that I can respect.

So, bravo. Better late than never. But celebrities coming out is never a clear-cut victory for gay equality. Its politics, and its societal effects, are still a murky mess.
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3 Comments:

Blogger damian said...

And Sean Hayes coming out now? 12 years after he was relevant...for playing a HUGE gay on a groundbreaking gay-themed television show. WHAT? I guess, he was being vague in order to protect a career that he never ended up getting (so did it really do him any good to remain "private") OVA it.

4/10/10, 12:18 AM  
Blogger PoliVamp said...

I... just can't agree with this. As someone who WAS a gay teen at the height of his popularity, I don't think it would have done a world of good. Guys who listened to Ricky Martin were 'fags' anyway, so if he had come out then, it would have just furthered the abuse.

Do I think he's coming out now since his book is coming out? Yes. Do I blame him for leading other to believe otherwise at the height of his fame? No. Things have changed a lot in the last 10 years - NPH is an excellent example of someone gay who is beloved by straight audiences - but I don't think it would have done anything but hurt his career coming out back then. And I don't fault him for wanting to hold on to his fame. Again, as someone who was a teen at the height of his craze, I know MANY of the swarms of teenage girls would have turned on him viciously had he come out.

I can't be bitter about it. I say good job on coming out, and please become an advocate.

4/12/10, 7:53 PM  
Blogger blue said...

I have been obsessing over this announcement for months now, looking at all the blogs for the one blog that would mirror my feelings and yours comes close.
Why do I care about Ricky Martin's sexual preference? I love Ricky Martin's music and videos. I never speculated on his sexual preference and I, unlike everyone else just assumed he was straight. He is an entertainer. . . great singer, dancer and who would of guessed... seems he is a great actor as well, and that is all I cared about.
However, as much as the gay community may feel cheated that Ricky Martin didn't come out as a role model, as a straight woman, I too feel cheated. But why, that's what I don't understand . . . After all, I wasn't the girl he romanced for 10 years. I have viewed, over and over again all his videos and I have to say I bought what he was selling, hook, line and Livin La Vida Loco. I guess we forget that what we are watching; videos and personal appearances, is merely acting and not a reflection of the real person.
Ricky Martin had a way of pulling you in though, he really had you believing you were the only girl in the room. Like you stated, in personal interviews he did go out of his way to reinforce his female machismo. What a gift this guy was given... being the object of desire by both men and women.
So, was it all about the money? He was very young when he started in the business, so he probably was never given the choice in his younger years. However, it doesn't explain the long relationship with various women. I guess that's where the fraud comes in... He will always have a fan base, however if his music changes, it will be a different audience.
I do have my memories, however it is the end of my fantasy. At the end of the day let's face it, would anyone of bought "The Memoirs of Ricky Martin" a year ago.

5/20/10, 12:05 AM  

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