What you see, is what you get!
By Jorge Diaz, MSW Clinical Social Worker
There is really no translation in his response when asked if he was gay-he responded with “you don’t ask something you can see.” What did he really mean with that? Does it matter?Earlier this monththe world lost one of the biggest icons in the music industry. Post his death, so many dare to question if Juan Gabriel was an LGBT member or ally? How dare of us ask this? Here was a man that broke endless barriers and stereotypes with his music, body movement and unique and over the top wardrobe and performances. He broke barriers on every stage in the industry,however, he broke various cultural and mainstream barriersand challenged the norm and perception of what defined a masculine man. However, he wanted to be recognized as an artist that gave everything to his fans with his talent and music and not attributes of his personal life. But what he really did was break barriers on sexuality and definedmasculinity and embracedfemininity-often traits so many of us struggle with. The courage and bravery to be able to express his feelings and emotions through every single dance step he took-the power in self-expression. Hisbeautifullyrics provided comfort and healing to so many struggling in their own lives. His wardrobe gave us hope that one day society would judge us by our actions and character and not by what we wear or look like.
We can all reflect on this man’s life and what he did-but the beauty of his legacy was how he changed and challenged the norm with his emotionsand passion though dance, music, fashion and simply being his authentic self. One may say “he never came out as gay.” Did he have to? Sexuality and self-acceptance is part of the journey of “Coming Out.” A journey like ours is not to be place in boxes or with labels and self-acceptance is not defined solely by being open about your sexual identity. Here was a man that taught us that no matter who or what you are-you should be recognize, acknowledge and remembered for what you do. It doesn’t really matter if we are feminine or masculine. It doesn’tmatter if we define the perception of a Latino man-what matters are your actions, character and living life as free as can be. We constantly go through life trying to please and meet other’sexpectations of who we are or who we should be. Why do we struggle with the simplicity of things? Why do we continue to try to change something about us that can’t be changed? As he once said, “in life, we are not valued by our personality, what mattersare our actions; there is only one life and we must live that life……”