- Singer and rights advocate supports LGBT+ campaigners joining forces with Black Lives Matter.
Gay singer Ricky Martin has opened up about the torment he went through about coming out as gay – and how it’s made him happy.
The ‘King of Latin Pop’ said Elton John inspired him. However, like many LGBT+ people coming out, he struggled to understand his own sexuality.
Things came to a head while Martin was on tour in 1999 for his world-famous Livin’ La Vida Loca hit. Indeed, he told Proud Radio on Apple Music, that he had to take some time off:
‘My music was being heard all over the world, regardless of the language. I could high five God, but I wasn’t living to the fullest. I was sad, I was depressed.’
He added: ‘I would walk on stage to perform because that was the only way I could balance my emotion is to snap out of this heavy sadness that I was moving in.
‘And then actually there came a moment that I said, “We need to stop. We need to stop the tour.”
‘I remember I was in Australia and from Australia, we were going to go to South America. And I said, “I can’t, I can’t do this, I need to go home, I need silence, I need to cry, I need to be angry. I need to forgive myself for allowing myself to reach this level, to get to where I’m at.”
‘And I took some time and I took a sabbatical.’
‘I cried like crazy and have been super happy ever since’
At the time, everyone in his life knew about his sexuality.
However, the 48-year-old singer says he struggled to figure it out for himself from a young age. I particular, he shared how Elton John inspired him:
‘I just remember growing up and looking at Elton and saying like, “I love his music, I like his colors, I love his wigs, I love it. Do I want to be him or do I like him? I’m so confused.”
‘At the end of the day, I remember just warm, loving, comforting… just emotions every time I saw him. Let’s give him a lot of credit for that.’
Despite this influence, Martin has previously said he feared for his career if he came out.
In the end, Martin didn’t publicly reveal he is gay until his 2010 autobiography – Me: Ricky Martin.
He said: ‘I got to the place I was fighting as I was writing my book between saying, “Am I gay? Am I bisexual?”
‘And either is okay, just go within and do not lie to yourself. Then I said, “Rick, you are a very fortunate homosexual man. You are gay.” And I wrote it and I pressed send, and then I cried like crazy. And I’ve been super happy ever since.’
‘Joining forces’ with Black Lives Matter
Since coming out, Martin has advocated for same-sex marriage and delivered a speech at a United Nations conference about homophobia.
However, he has been particularly active in supporting LGBT+ rights in his native Puerto Rico.
He campaigned to oust Puerto Rico’s governor. And he helped block a ‘religious freedom’ bill which would undermine LGBT+ rights. Moreover, he’s also supported improvements in trans rights on the US island.
Now he says the LGBT+ community and Black Lives Matter should ‘join forces’ given their intersectionality.
This summer has already seen LGBT+ Pride events reimagined as grass-roots Black Lives Matter protests.
Martin said: “At this point it’s all about listening, it’s about learning, it’s about being respectful and it’s about understanding that at this point it’s not about us.
‘At this point it’s about giving the platform to those incredible voices that have helped us and have taught us about the injustices that, in this case, the LGBTQ+ community goes through.’