Tuesday, March 30, 2010


So Ricky Martin is out of the closet -- oh gosh! Should I have warned you about the spoiler? -- and the Internet is abuzz with the usual combination of pride and condemnation.

No surprise that 97% of the condemnation comes from people named "hotguy4792" and "BigDaveinTempe." Because, since their names are so readily available in your local white pages, they have no fear that you'll call them on their bullshit.

(Also, these anonymous idiots are the first ones to fling the term "coward" at someone else who uses their real name. Remember our old friend Spewie? Yeah, bravely anonymous people like that, keeping in touch with the world from their mothers' basements. Oh... and I just made up "hotguy4792" and "BigDaveinTempe." I'm sure the real "hotguy4792" and "BigDaveinTempe" are fine, fine people.)

Oh yeah... Ricky Martin. My take? Glad you asked.

To each, their own time.

I have made no secret of the fact I came out in my very late 20s, and I know a number of other people who came out even later in life. That was when it was right for us to come out. Some of that, I hope, is generational and will change over time. Some of it is tempermental. Sometimes it's driven by individual factors we can't begin to understand.

In my case, no doubt there was an element of cowardice. More importantly, there was a lack of self-awareness and self esteeem. When I got that together -- and only when I got that together -- I was ready to move forward with my life. We're all better off for that time well spent.

It would have been great if Ricky Martin had come out 20 years ago. But he didn't, and he had his own demons to come to grips with. The important thing is... he's done it. He's out.

And now -- like those before him -- he can be a role model.

A few years ago, a very wise writer -- that would be me -- wrote a Lambda Literary Award-winning novel, When the Stars Come Out. In that brilliant award-winning novel, the main character -- Noah Abraham -- is a spoiled and proudly out young man who has never wanted for anything, including money and acceptance. He cannot understand why everyone's life isn't like his -- out and proud -- and though I, as the writer, want you to like Noah, I hope I'm somewhat successful in making him a self-righteous twit in the earlier chapters of the book.

As When the Stars Come Out opens, out-and-proud Noah is frustrated that he can't get a gay Republican congressional staffer to speak to him. He shifts his writing focus to an elderly actor who is gay but publicly closeted, and convinces him to tell his life story. As a result, a younger, more popular actor is encouraged to come out of the closet, and the young star gives the gay Republican the courage to come out long after he's forgotten self-righteous Noah.

It's a ripple effect. The stones keep getting tossed into the pond, and they disrupt things. In a sense, all of our stones -- mine, yours, Elton John's, Ellen DeGeneres's, even Clay Aiken's -- are part of the process.

And I don't care when Ricky Martin' s stones landed in the pond. As long it was the right time for him.

The important thing is he's now helping us make waves.

So let's keep splashing.