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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 30 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 35
Ricky Martin: I was a bully - Gay pop star opens up about his homophobic childhood
Arts & Entertainment
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Ricky Martin: I was a bully - Gay pop star opens up about his homophobic childhood

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

In a recent interview, international Latin pop star Ricky Martin admits that he bullied Gays when growing up in Puerto Rico so others wouldn't suspect him of being Gay himself.

Martin, now 41, came out as a Gay man back in 2010.

The mentor on the Australian edition of The Voice appears on the cover of the October 2013 issue of GQ Australia, a popular men's magazine. The response to Martin's joining The Voice has been so overwhelming that Australian promoters have reportedly been lining up to get him on stage. In the cover story, he discussed life as a closeted young man in San Juan. The magazine dubbed the singer a 'role model for the entire planet.'

'INTERNALIZED HOMOPHOBIA'
'I was very angry, very rebellious. I used to look at Gay men and think, I'm not like that, I don't want to be like that, that's not me. I was ashamed,' Martin told the magazine, according to Australia's News.com.au. 'When you're told you're wrong by everyone, from society, from your faith - my self-esteem was crushed. I took my anger out on those around me.'

'I look back now and realize I would bully people who I knew were Gay. I internalized homophobia,' he added. 'To realize that was confronting to me. I wanted to get away from that.'

When Martin came out as Gay, he made the announcement in a post on his website, writing, 'I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am.'

REGRET AND REDEMPTION
The following year, in an interview with the Guardian newspaper, he said he always hated when people tried to force him to come out of the closet. During that time, Martin continued to question his sexuality.

'If I had spent a quarter of the time that I spent manipulating my sexuality in front of a piano instead, I would be the most gifted piano player of my lifetime,' he said. 'What people were expecting from me was not who I was, and I forced myself to believe that what they wanted could be my truth, my reality, and I went after it hardcore.'

Martin became a father in 2008 to twin boys, Matteo and Valentino, born to a surrogate mother. He has made public that he is in a committed relationship with stockbroker Carlos González Abella.

Currently, Martin fights for Gay rights, including speaking out against hate crimes with the 'Give A Damn' campaign, a project of Cyndi Lauper's True Colors Fund. He was also presented with GLAAD's Vito Russo Award in 2011 for his work in promoting equality.

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