QUEER VOICES
08/27/2013 10:31 am ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

Ricky Martin: 'I Would Bully People Who I Knew Were Gay'

Ricky Martin might be an openly gay celebrity now, but years ago he bullied others just like him while growing up in Puerto Rico.

The 41-year-old musician and mentor on Australia's "The Voice" appears on the cover of the October 2013 issue of GQ Australia. In the cover story, he discussed life as a closeted young man in San Juan.

"I was very angry, very rebellious. I used to look at gay men and think, I'm not like that, I don't want to be like that, that's not me. I was ashamed," Martin told the magazine, according to Australia's News.com.au. "When you're told you're wrong by everyone, from society, from your faith — my self-esteem was crushed. I took my anger out on those around me."

"I look back now and realize I would bully people who I knew were gay. I internalized homophobia," he added. "To realize that was confronting to me. I wanted to get away from that."

Martin came out as a gay man back in 2010. He made the announcement in a post on his website, writing, "I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am."

The following year, the singer spoke with the Guardian and said that he always hated when people tried to force him to come out of the closet. During that time, Martin continued to question his sexuality.

"If I had spent a quarter of the time that I spent manipulating my sexuality in front of a piano instead, I would be the most gifted piano player of my lifetime," he said. "What people were expecting from me was not who I was, and I forced myself to believe that what they wanted could be my truth, my reality, and I went after it hardcore."

Since then, Martin has fought for gay rights, including speaking out against hate crimes with the Give A Damn campaign. He was also presented with GLAAD's Vito Russo Award for his work in promoting equality.

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