Top 10 Gay Spanish Icons To Look Up To

With the emergence of the LGBTQIA+ community and their rising prominence on the world stage, individuals from all walks of life have come forward as part of the group. Celebrities from all countries are part of the community as well.

Whether it’s European Spain, or the Central and South American Hispanic communities, several influential members of the Spanish celebrity group have come out over the years as members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

Here’s the names of 10 influential Spanish icons who have come out as gay over the past few years.

10 Gay Spanish Icons To Look Up To:

There are dozens of members of the Hispanic Celebrity community that have come out as part of the LGBTQIA+ family. Here’s 10 prominent ones:

  • Paco Vidarte (philosopher)
  • Demi Lovato (singer and actress)
  • Stephanie Beatriz (Actress)
  • Ricky Martin (singer and entertainer)
  • Chavela Vargas (Singer)
  • Michelle Rodriguez (Actress)
  • Christian Chavez
  • Wilson Cruz
  • Guillermo Diaz
  • Sara Ramirez

Paco Vidarte:

Spanish philosopher Paco Vidarte was born Francisco Javier Vidarte Fernandez in 1970, and is known as one of the first and foremost Spanish LGBTQIA+ activists and theorists. He was born in Madrid, and attended the Universidad Pontificas Comillas, where he studied Psychoanalysis.

In the 1990s, Paco Vidarte became a leader in the gay community, as well as a noted speaker on ‘Queer Theory’. He became a Doctor of Philosophy, and later a professor at UNED. He published several books on Queer Theory, and on Jacques Derrida, whose life, philosophy, and theory of deconstruction he wrote his doctorate research paper on.

From 2002 to his death in 2008, Paco spent his time teaching philosophy and giving lectures on queer theory and attending international seminars and lectures on the same subject.

Demi Lovato:

Demi Lovato was born in 1992 as Demetria Devone Lovato. She’s since made a name for herself as a singer, songwriter, and actress.

Her break came with her role in Camp Rock, after which she signed with Hollywood Records and recorded her first album. Since then, she’s released several other records, and made appearances in several TV Shows, including The X Factor USA and Glee.

Demi Lovato was engaged to Max Ehrich in 2020, but broke off the engagement around the same time as she came out publicly as being a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. Demi now describes herself as having a fluid sexuality, changing pronouns between they/them and her/she to fit her current self-image. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly she said “I love accepting myself.”, and announced that she’s open to finding love with anyone of any gender.

Stephanie Beatriz:

Stephanie Beatriz was born in 1981 in Argentina and her family moved to America when she was two years old. After college, she moved to New York to begin her acting career, and later moved to Los Angeles.

After several minor roles, she landed the role of Rosa Diaz, a bisexual cop on the show Brooklyn-Nine-Nine, which ran for 8 seasons. She recently played the voice of main character Mirabel Madrigal in Disney’s hit movie Encanto.

Stephanine Beatriz officially came out in 2016, and has been open about her sexuality since. In an essay to GQ she wrote that she uses her public role to speak openly about her sexuality, to encourage those who feel uncertain about revealing their own sexuality, or feel invisible or ignored.

Ricky Martin:

Born in 1971 in Puerto Rico, Ricky Martin is a well-known singer and actor, who has gained the nickname ‘King of Latin Pop’. He’s known for many things, including the iconic song ‘Livin La Vida Loca’, which has been immortalized in different arenas, such as Shrek II.

Ricky Martin has multiple chart-topping hit singles, and has won two Grammys, as well as being nominated for an Emmy. He references David Bowie, Elton John, and Celia Cruz among his influences, and says that part of their appeal was their openly ambiguous or open sexuality. The other part was that he wanted to be ‘an entertainer, not just a singer’.

Ricky Martin came out as gay in 2010 via his website, and his memoir Me: Ricky Martin, in which he stated ‘I am a very fortunate homosexual man’. Ricky later said that he is incredibly happy, and felt that admitting to his sexuality ‘gave him power to conquer emotions he never knew existed’. Since coming out, Ricky Martin has been very forthcoming about his struggles with his identity as gay, including pressure to come out before he was ready.

While currently reported online as single, Ricky Martin has enjoyed multiple successful long-term relationships, is father to four children, and says he’s never been happier in his life.

Chavela Vargas:

Chavela Vargas was born in 1919 in Costa Rica, and became a Mexican ranchera singer in her thirties. She contributed to several forms of Latin American music over the years, and was an influential interpreter. At the 8th Annual Latin Grammy Awards, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Aside from her rich, haunting singing voice, Chavela was known for her determination to flaunt her sexuality, despite disapproval from her family. Throughout her life, she preferred to dress in menswear, and her sexuality was considered an open secret, especially as her songs were sung from the ‘masculine’ perspective.

Chavela was rumored to have had a passionate relationship with Frida Kahlo in the 1960s, though the rumor was never verified. However, in her autobiography in 2002, Chavela officially came out as being gay, and spoke of a relationship she had for a time with her lawyer.

Chavela Vargas passed away in 2012, but her influence in both music and the Hispanic LGBTQIA+ community remains – including her possible influence on one of the best known and most iconic Latin-American bisexual artists in history: Frida Kahlo.

Michelle Rodriguez:

Michelle Rodriguez was born in 1978 in San Antonio Texas and, since 2000, has been one of Hollywood’s top female stars. Starting with a role in Girlfight, which won her the Independent Spirit Award and the Gotham Award for best Debut Performance, she’s had roles in a number of franchises, including Fast & Furious, Resident Evil, and Avatar.

In 2013, Michelle Rodriguez came out as being bisexual, and was quoted by Entertainment Weekly as saying ‘Men are intriguing. So are chicks. I’m too curious not to try when I can’. She’s also said that she hoped that by stepping up and owning who she is, she could encourage others to do the same.

One of her stated goals is to help others in her position to open up and stand by their sexuality, whatever part of the LGBTQIA+ community they belong to.

Christian Chavez:

Born Jose Christian Chavez Garza in 1983, Christian Chavez is a well-known Mexican singer, songwriter, and actor. He began his career with the role of Giovanni Lopez in the telenovela Rebelde.

From there, he joined the spin-off band RBD, which went on to become the most popular and most successful pop band in Mexican history. When the band split up in 2008, Christian Chavez went on to become a successful solo artist.

In 2006, Chavez denied being homosexual, only to come out in 2007, when Chavez was photographed exchanging rings with his then paramour, B.J. Murphy. The two later split up, and since then, Chavez has had some troubled relationships, though he’s not reported to be with anyone at present.

Chavez has always been very open about his struggles with his identity, including a period of depression that resulted in one suicide attempt after a fight with his then-partner.

Chavez was one of the first, if not THE first, high-profile Mexican celebrities to come out as being gay. In addition, his song ‘Libertad’, is not only a hit song, but a rallying cry for Latin America gay youth around the world.

Wilson Cruz:

Wilson Cruz was born Wilson Echevarria in 1973 in Brooklyn. He started his career playing Enrique Vasquez in the TV series My So-Called Life. From there, he’s gone on to play several roles in different shows, including his current role as Dr. Hugh Culver in Star Trek: Discovery.

Wilson Cruz was the first openly gay actor to play an openly gay character on television, and says it was always part of his plan to stand on the stage as a proud member of the LGBTQIA+ community. WIlson Cruz came out to his family at the age of 19, and said that his difficulties and experiences during that time of his life are a large part of what influenced his activism after he became successful.

Wilson Cruz works as an advocate for LGBT youth, and works to shed light on the issues of the community, as well as working on the board of directors for GLAAD,a  media monitoring organization. He was also featured on the cover of Out magazine, and is quoted as ‘weaving his activism into every aspect of his work’.

Guillermo Diaz:

Guillermo Diaz was born in 1975 in New Jersey to Cuban parents. He started acting in 1994, and landed several small roles, including guest roles in Law and Order, Chappelle’s Show and ER. He later landed a larger role in Weeds, and the starring role in Mercy.

His largest role came in 2012, when he landed the role as Huck in Scandal.

Guillermo is gay, and has been out since he began acting, though he says much of his acting skill came from hiding his sexuality while he was in school. Since then, he has been open about his sexuality, and says that ‘if someone doesn’t want to work with me because of my sexuality, I don’t need to work with them’.

In 2013, he was listed in OUT as one of the most influential members of the LGBT community, and in 2017, he was nominated to OUT100, in recognition of his work, and his dedication to representing the LGBTQIA+ community.

Sara Ramirez:

Sara Ramirez was born in 1975 in Sinaloa, then moved to the United States when she was eight years old. A singer and an actress, she/they made her/their first appearance on Broadway, in Paul Simon’s The Caperman. In 2005, Sara won a Tony award for her/their depiction of The Lady In The Lake in the Broadway musical Spamalot.

From Broadway, Ramirez took the role of Callie Torres in Grey’s Anatomy and became one of the longest running LGBTQIA+ characters to appear on-screen, The character appeared for 11 seasons, and became one of the earliest bisexual roles on television.

Ramirez has always been a strong ally of the LGBTQIA+ community, and in 2015,she/they received the Ally for Equality Award from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.

In 2016, Ramirez came out as bisexual at the Impact Summit. In 2020, she/they came out as nonbinary, and adopted the they/their pronouns. In an interview with People Magazine, Ramirez said that prior to coming out she/they were very concerned with coming out, and afraid of the negative backlash from that coming out might bring, and how it might affect her/their career.

Since coming out, Ramirez has been cast in non-binary roles, such as Che Diaz in And Just Like That….

Final Thoughts

These are just a few of the prominent Latino/Latina members of the LGBTQIA+ community, past and present. And while the majority of people on this list are singers and actors or actresses, they are by no means the only celebrity groups that have Hispanic gay icons.

Hispanic LGBTQIA+, like the members from any other cultural group, also have representatives among other career paths, like model Jillian Mercado, comedian Julio Torres, and boxer Orlando Cruz.

Among the names is also Fernando Grande-Marlaska, an LGBT activist, politician and judge, who was quoted as saying ‘It is possible to be gay and work in any chosen field’.

It’s an admirable sentiment, and one that the LGBTQIA+ community, of every nationality, may one day have the chance to see become a reality – a reality helped along by prominent figures such as those listed above.

Gay Worlley

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