Eight years away Orlando «Phenomenon» Cruz He recalled how the decision to make his homosexuality public was in 2012, in a news story that generated all kinds of reactions, but in which the fighter ended up earning respect.
In those days, cross had his fight dated Jorge Pazos for October 19, 2012, at the Civic Center in Kissimmee. And 15 days before that fight, cross issued a statement where he announced his homosexuality and where he also explained the reasons for doing so.
“People, today I want to tell you that I am a proud gay man, a boxer capable of crying for the love of another man,” the Puerto Rican revealed in that statement. «It is me, I am free above all and of any person who does not agree. And I keep earning my money by beating up, it’s what I’ve always done. Let no one forget. I don’t want to hide any of my identities. I want people to see me for the human being that I am.
At that moment, Orlando Cruz he became the first openly gay boxer.
The first famous person to support the testimony of the born in San Juan, was the singer Ricky Martin, compatriot of cross, and who was openly gay in 2010.
«Congratulations, Puerto Rican, for your courage! How happy I am for you! Much force! Much peace for you and yours! Hugs! », Published the consecrated musician in his official account of Twitter.
@TheFenomenoCruz Puerto Rican congratulations for your bravery! How happy I am for you! Much force! Much peace for you and yours! Hugs!
– Ricky Martin (@ricky_martin) October 4, 2012
The memory of Orlando Cruz in an interview
These days, eight years after its announcement, Orlando cross He recalled what the whole decision-making process was like and the repercussions it had. He gave an interesting interview to the Argentine newspaper Page 12, in which he remembered that milestone in his life.
“Before it was not the time to tell the truth,” explained the former world champion in reference to why he did not make his sexual orientation public before. «It was not the stage of Orlando Cruz to say he was gay. I had a past with girlfriends, and it wasn’t for show. There was a time when I liked women, just as now I like men.
Part of that resistance, he assures crossIt was due to everything that surrounds boxing.
“Boxing is a tough sport, a strong and sacrificial sport. A very macho sport. I was not prepared to say it at first. I could do it when I felt ready, “he remarked The Olympic.
That day was very significant for cross. For this reason, he remembers it with great detail and plenty of sensations.
“My best friend is an activist for the gay community in Puerto Rico,” he said. cross. «He, at that time worked in communication and press. I was very oblivious to all that, to that form of communication. That October 4, I called him, and he helped me write what I was going to say. He told me that if I was ready he would give the statement ‘enter’.
And then, the note ran at breakneck speed, and even people who did not know Cruz learned about him. He became an icon and an activist from example.
“He warned me that I had to be prepared because I was going to receive many calls when the statement was read,” he explains. cross. «That he was going to capture the attention of all Puerto Rico. I said yes. I hung up the phone and within 10 minutes I had 300 calls from different parts of the world. At that time I was not ready to give an interview.
Orlando Cruz expresses the reasons that led him at that time to make the decision to reveal his homosexuality.
“I had to become aware of what I did, accept that there was no going back,” he says. cross. «I just wanted to be a free and happy man, a man without concealment, a man without covering, a man who should not appear, a man who was not in a place other than mine. So then I did: I prepared myself well mentally and physically, and I was able to speak up and say that I was gay from the rooftops. And I can tell you that 92 percent were positive. “
Two opponents defeated by the Puerto Rican, when giving the news
Orlando Cruz acknowledges that while he was struggling in fear of revealing his homosexuality, he was actually facing two rivals
«The two rivals that I say are, on the one hand, those of life, and the other that of appearance. There were also the rivals, the fighters who did not want to fight me after the statement, because I said I was gay, “he said. cross. «But just as those were, there were other fighters who respected me more after speaking. Fighters who were going to fight a boxer were not going to fight a boxer who openly said he was gay. They were going to fight an athlete. I have never mixed boxing with my personal life.
In addition, the native of San José emphasized the inspiration generated by the history of Emile griffith, one of the first boxers to be assumed homosexual.
«Emile griffith for many he was the first boxer who openly said he was gay, but it was not like that, “he explains. cross. «Of course at the time I was fighting GriffithIn the 1960s, there was much more homophobia and racism than now. He, being a colored man, also ran other dangers when speaking. It was a lot for that guy. A gay and colored person, in those days, could have been murdered. He didn’t say it openly, but it was speculated on. When I said that I was gay, I did not know the history and suffering of Griffith. I found out after writing the statement. They told me about him, about the boxer who offended him and in a fight he died after fighting with Griffith«.
cross he was referring to the third fight between Emile griffith and the Cuban Benny Paret in 1962. At the weigh-in ceremony, the Cuban yelled “fag” at Griffith. They say they had to stop him so he wouldn’t start the fight right there.
The testimony of Orlando cross helped other athletes make the decision to go public with their homosexuality as well.
«An athlete wrote to me on Twitter I remember. He told me that I inspired him to take that step, to come out of the closet. The famous NBA basketball player, Jason Collins, he was able to say he was openly gay in 2013, a year after I did, “said the former 126-pound monarch.