Why Ricky Martin Coming Out Now Matters

As written by Jarrett Barrios for PopEater.com:

Ricky Martin

"In a special guest post, Jarrett Barrios, the President of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, writes about why Ricky Martin outing himself is important. Below, Barrios discusses Martin's decision and how it's a 'game changer.'"

"A high school friend messaged me on Facebook last night. She'd been so angry back in 1984 when Menudo replaced Ricky Melendez -- who had grown too old -- with that too-young looking Ricky Martin. But she stayed loyal and became a fan of the new Ricky. She even tracked me down in the 1990s to catch up after years -- just to tell me Ricky had been cast in 'General Hospital.' And why not? Ricky had become part of the family and we have to keep up with our family, after all.

"Ricky Martin coming out is, for many people, like having a friend or family member come out. 'Gay' isn't an abstract to them anymore, but the kid you knew when you were 14. The power of Ricky's celebrity status makes fans understand gay people differently, too.

"Two weeks ago, iconic Mexican singer Paquita la del Barrio, who has sold millions of albums worldwide and whose songs are staples in jukeboxes in Mexico, announced that she would rather a child starve to death than be raised by a gay couple in response to marriages of same-sex couples in Mexico City. Two weeks ago, there was no word, image or story to contradict Senora la del Barrio in Spanish-language media -- just abstract stereotypes about being 'gay.'

"Today, our friend Ricky Martin, who we Latinos have known since he was 12, is that face – a gay man who is the father of two sons. He is the face of all those people Senora la del Barrio was attacking. Her job isn't so easy anymore."

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